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Monday, December 19, 2005

Shnei Zeisem

This original recipe was handwritten in the back of a much-used pfille bearing the name of an Alsatian Jew, Reb Yekef Bondi, whose grandchildren fled from the Nazis to Britain, where they anglicised their name to Bond.1

Recipe for a Shnei Zeisem2

Fill a small plate with icing sugar.3
Moisten the rim of a chilled cocktail glass4 with an orange wedge and turn the glass into the plate. Leave space for your lips.

Fill in the equivalent of two kezeisem of Kirsch (room temperature).

Add two dashes of Martini Rosso.5 Not more.

Add two dashes of Angostura.

Stirring is fine, or if you insist on shaking - go ahead.

No cocktail flags or other unthinkables of this kind.

In the original Shnei zeisem, there were olives added as well, but bevôneseinerabbm, the tradition was lost exactly how many are two kezeisem of olives, and also which sort Chaza"l commanded, Greek, Italian, or the ones with the paprika paste. The followers of the Karliner actually claim they found out, but they really take cherries and process them until they're green.

Some poskem say this is fine even if they're not the right olives, but others name a second reason why we don't do this today, namely because the last person who knew the tradition terribly got the hiccups from one of those olives, went meshugge and wasn't able to pass on the tradition. Unfortunately, this was the same man who knew how to dye tzitzes and had real smiche.

A variation may be found here.


1. In case anyone still didn't get it. (back to text)

2. Shnei zeisem is the name of a piyyut said on Shabbes Chanucke. The name means "two olive( tree)s", and the paytan also alluded to the fact that in Alsace, it often snows at Chanucke. In this latter meaning, it is stressed on the first word. (See also here for a further proof.) (back to text)

3. Americans: That's powdered, or, confectioner's sugar. (back to text)

4. Not a Martini glass. (back to text)

5. You can take Askalon Vermouth Rosso as well, if you don't have kosher Martini at hand, but don't say I didn't warn you. (back to text)

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