Certainly a few of more unusually named liqueurs, Besamim and Etrog are crafted by Sukkah Hill Spirits out of Los Angeles. Having personally celebrated some of the Jewish holiday celebrations over the years, I know what a sukkah is. But, the names of the liqueurs were something new to me. Here’s what I found out.
A sukkah is a temporary shelter covered with branches, usually built in the backyard during the festival of Sukkot. An autumnal festival designed to remind the Jewish people of the forty years that their ancestors wandered in the desert and literally had to live in temporary shelters for four decades. Luckily, Sukkot only lasts eight days. Two of the important items used during this festival are Besamim (holiday spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove) and Etrog, an heirloom citron which is often made into jam or liqueur.
It was only natural that this product eventually found its way out of the kitchen and into liquor stores. No need to wait for a holiday to try them, they are tasty year round.
Besamim (74 proof)
Visual: Honey gold.
Nose: Horehound, root beer, and sassafras top notes.
Taste: Intensely herbal in a root beer fashion. The sweetness keeps it from being too bitter and tannic, but this is quite intense. Similar to Allspice or Pimento Dram.
Finish: Long, long lingering notes of allspice and cinnamon leave a slight heat.
Overall: I feel this could be a little less intense and perhaps more interesting as a liqueur. However, that being said this is exceptional when used in small doses in tiki drinks, especially with dark rums. You can even give this a shot as a substitute in a Lion’s Tail cocktail in place of the dram.
GSN Rating: B
Etrog (76 proof)
Visual: Very slight yellow tinge, otherwise clear.
Nose: Dark lemon citrus with a touch of fresh herbaceousness.
Taste: Initially there is a lot of lemon, but this is tempered quite a lot with what I can only describe as a savory herbal flavor. It’s almost like lemon infused gin with some sweetener. Quite refreshing.
Finish: Fairly short with just a touch of the lemon hanging on while the curious herbs do a parting dance on the tongue.
Overall: A more interesting cousin to Limoncello. This is a cocktail in itself which if you chill and pour over one large cube of ice, will satisfy virtually anyone.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Sukkah Hill