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My Great-grandfather's Go-to Drink


Rhone1998
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I had a conversation with my father recently about what he remembered about his grandfather, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who arrived in New York in the late 1800s...in particular we were talking about what he liked to eat and drink, and my dad started talking about a home-made alcohol he remembered his grandfather making. The ingredients that went into this thing struck me as pretty unusual, and I wonder whether he was trying to re-create a particular type of Eastern-European drink, or whether it was more likely just his own invention. My dad didn't know. Does anyone here have any idea?

According to my dad, the recipe called for whole carob pods, grapefruit seeds, and walnut shells, which would sit in a jar of vodka in the back of a closet for a year. My dad was only a teenager when his grandfather died, and although he tried this once or twice couldn't really describe what it tasted like.

I'm guessing it was just his own recipe, but I'd be really interested if there's something in existence that this resembles...

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I had a conversation with my father recently about what he remembered about his grandfather, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who arrived in New York in the late 1800s...in particular we were talking about what he liked to eat and drink, and my dad started talking about a home-made alcohol he remembered his grandfather making. The ingredients that went into this thing struck me as pretty unusual, and I wonder whether he was trying to re-create a particular type of Eastern-European drink, or whether it was more likely just his own invention. My dad didn't know. Does anyone here have any idea?

According to my dad, the recipe called for whole carob pods, grapefruit seeds, and walnut shells, which would sit in a jar of vodka in the back of a closet for a year. My dad was only a teenager when his grandfather died, and although he tried this once or twice couldn't really describe what it tasted like.

I'm guessing it was just his own recipe, but I'd be really interested if there's something in existence that this resembles...

There wouldn't be much flavor from walnut shells, but many cultures use them as a brown dye, so I'm guessing they are there for color. Grapefruit seeds are bitter, and carob is sweet. It sounds like a digestif.
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There wouldn't be much flavor from walnut shells, but many cultures use them as a brown dye, so I'm guessing they are there for color. Grapefruit seeds are bitter, and carob is sweet. It sounds like a digestif.

We're putting up some batches this week, so I'll let you know in a year!

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We're putting up some batches this week, so I'll let you know in a year!

I cannot imagine that it would take a year for the flavors to be extracted. You may want to try it on occasion and see if there is any discernible change.

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So here's a question...since we don't know the "right" proportions, do you think we'd lose anything by macerating the three ingredients separately, and then blending to taste at the end of the process? In other words, is there any benefits to the multiple ingredients all being kept in the same bottle throughout the process?

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