Our Kosher Cousins

No. 209 Kosher for Passover Vodka

A new chapter in Kosher for Passover Spirits

To our knowledge, No. 209 is the only distillery in the world to produce a gin and a vodka that are both certified Kosher-for- Passover. In order for observant Jews to have cocktails they could enjoy over Passover, founder Leslie Rudd asked No. 209 Ginerator, Arne Hillesland, and associate winemaker Jonathan Hadju from Kosher Covenant Wines to develop a vodka that was the same superior quality as our gins and strictly adhered to Kosher-for- Passover standards. 

Kosher for Passover Gin

We knew that it was not a simple feat since Kosher standards preclude using any grain based spirit, and additionally, several key botanicals are not Passover approved. But we love a challenge...so Arne fired up the still and his creativity during “the gin trials” to discover innovative Passover approved herbs and spices, and under the supervision of the Orthodox Union, created a new gin recipe that has a remarkable modern taste profile using a sugar cane base spirit. It debuted for Passover 2010 and was very well received. In fact, we have several restaurants who stock it year round because their customers drink it, not for religious reasons, but because they love the taste. 

Juniper, which by law is required to be the dominant flavor in any gin, is only one of dozens of different spices, roots, herbs and berries that can be used to flavor gin. Each combination creates a unique flavor. In addition to juniper (Tuscany), the recipe for No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Gin includes somewhere between eight and eleven different botanicals that all adhere strictly to Kosher dietary law. The complexity of this Passover in- spired gin is primarily the result of bergamot orange (Calabria), California bay leaf (Napa Valley), lemon peel (Spain), cassia bark (Indonesia), angelica root (United Kingdom) and coriander seeds (Romania). California Bay leaf and a variety of other botanicals were used in lieu of cardomom to recreate the flavor profile of the standard No. 209 Gin, while still adhering to Kosher dietary law. 

Kosher for Passover Vodka

Kosher dietary law prohibits the consumption of leavened grains, and spirits fermented from grains, during Passover. Thus, master distiller Arne Hillesland crafts No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Vodka using a sugarcane base spirit. The four times, column-distilled base spirit is filtered through activated charcoal specifically formulated for the production of the purest vodka, and combined with snowmelt from Sierra Nevada Mountains to create a vodka with a surprising sweetness across the palate and a dry, clean finish. In order to receive the loftier “Kosher-for-Passover” designation, Distillery No. 209 enlists its rabbinical friends at the Orthodox Union to supervise and certify the vodka’s production at the Pier 50 facility in San Francisco. 

No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Vodka represents No. 209’s foray into the vodka category, and its second Kosher-for-Passover product following the successful 2010 launch of its No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Gin – the world’s only certified Kosher-for-Passover gin.

Hand-fashioned in small batches under the supervision of rabbis from the Orthodox Union, No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Vodka is made from one hundred percent sugarcane and pure snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to produce a quality artisanal spirit that adheres to strict Kosher dietary laws.