Whether you’re heading off to your first Passover Seder or you want to mix up the traditional dinner your family always, always has, this is the kosher for Passover cocktail for you. This spirit-forward Charoset Passover Cocktail is here to add some sugar and spice (and everything nice) to your Seder.

Wait, what is Passover?

Passover is an eight-day holiday celebrated by Jewish communities around the world to commemorate the exodus of the enslaved Israelites from Egypt. These ancient Jews were led out of Egypt by Moses after he, with a lot of help from G-d, convinced the Pharaoh to let them go. In modern times, Jews mark the first two nights of Passover by hosting Seders, which are large celebratory dinners filled with friends and family. Seder means “order”, which makes sense when you realize that each part of the tradition follows a very specific order. But don’t worry, food is a big part of the whole event.

What is charoset?

Charoset is one of the integral parts of a Passover Seder and is featured on the Seder plate as a symbolic food. It is a sweet combination of fruits and nuts—in my family tradition, apples and walnuts—that are chopped finely and mixed with spices and wine. Its color and texture are meant to symbolize the mortar that the enslaved Israelites used when building in Egypt. Eating charoset is one of my favorite parts of the Seder; the sweet and nutty flavors bring to mind cozy fall evenings and make even dry, plain matzah taste good.

So then what does kosher for Passover mean and why does it matter?

One of the downsides of Passover—especially if you have a soft spot for bread, pasta, or cake—is that for the entirety of the holiday, observant Jews cannot eat any chametz. Chametz refers to food that includes any of the five grains—wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye—mixed with water and allowed to rise. Goodbye carbs! Additionally, Ashkenazi Jews, those who have Eastern European origins, typically are also not allowed to eat rice, corn, legumes, and certain spices.

If you think about it, that means that a lot of different types of food are off limits. No breads, sushi, cupcakes, cookies, or foods containing corn syrup (which sadly denotes many delectable eats) are permitted. Plus, since many of the more popular types of alcohol are grain-based—beer, vodka, and whiskey to name a few—it eliminates a good deal of drink options you might have been considering for your Seder dinner. However, there are plenty of other, less well-known options for drinks that are fruit or nut-based and considered within the bounds of kosher for Passover, such as the Bloody Miriam, a Jewish twist on the classic brunch cocktail. If you’re particularly observant and require your foods during Passover to have a specific label, it might be a bit harder to find acceptable versions of these liquors.

What makes this cocktail kosher for Passover?

The Charoset Passover Cocktail uses pommeau and nocino as its main liqueurs. Pommeau is an alcoholic aperitif traditionally made in northwestern France by mixing apple juice, obtained just after pressing before fermentation begins, and Calvados, an apple or pear brandy from Normandy. Nocino is a liqueur from Northern Italy made with unripe green walnuts, giving it an incredible, nutty taste. Nocino is often made using a clear spirit (think vodka), so if you care about keeping your cocktail kosher, make sure to check that it isn't grain-based. Alternatively, you can make your own nocino with a kosher for Passover potato-based vodka, thereby ensuring that it remains kosher. 

This Passover cocktail recipe throws in some cardamom clove simple syrup to add a hint of sweetness and help the apple and walnut flavors shine. I recommend garnishing with a strip of apple peel in the glass, but an orange peel would be equally tasty, while adding an extra aromatic element. This cocktail should be served in a rocks glass with one large ice cube for the most visually-striking results. 

For those who have never had charoset but want to know what they're getting themselves into before they make this cocktail, just picture alcoholic apple pie in a glass. 

Charoset Cocktail

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:0
  • Total Time:5 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Easy


  • 2 oz Pommeau
  • 1/4 oz Nocino
  • 1/4 oz cardamom clove simple syrup
  • Strip apple peel
  • Ice cubes
Maggie Gallagher
  • Step 1

    Combine Pommeau, nocino, and cardamom clove simple syrup in a glass with ice.

    Maggie Gallagher
  • Step 2

    Stir together.

    Maggie Gallagher
  • Step 3

    Pour into a rocks glass with ice.

    Maggie Gallagher
  • Step 4

    Garnish with an apple peel and serve immediately.

    Maggie Gallagher

Spring or fall, this cocktail makes an excellent addition to any evening. It is the perfect drink whether you are curling up with a book on a cold evening or enjoying a meal around a joyful Passover table. Its spirit-forward taste is balanced by the sweet and nutty flavor profile, making it an especially refreshing accompaniment to any dessert or cheese course.