I love it when someone’s innate talents and passions becomes a terrific business. That’s exactly what happened to friends Marni and Howard Witkin from Los Angeles. Marni, a talented cook and Howard an accomplished computer science and math guy (with two successful companies), year after year collected estrogim from friends in the neighborhood and whipped up a batch of their homemade Estrog Liqueur to share with others. It was just something fun to do with their estrogim. People loved it and begged for more, including a local market owner in LA who said, “If you bottle this, I’ll sell every one of them!” So that’s what they did. And thus Sukkah Hill Spirits was created and the first Etrog hand-crafted artisanal liqueur is now available from Vendome Wines and Spirits and soon in stores throughout the United States. BTW, it’s the only Etrog Liqueur available too.
Lucky for me, I got to speak to Marni and Howard about this new venture. And I got to taste it too! Wow! Fresh, flavorful, smooth, a hint of sweet, and definitely alcoholic (38% alcohol). I can’t wait for you to taste it too. Here’s what Sukkah Hill Spirits shared…
GKC: Where do you get your estrogim?
Sukkah Hill Spirits: This started with estrogim from friends in the neighborhood but as we became a real spirits manufacturer, we became expert estrog buyers, purchasing numerous varieties of estrogim, sweet, tangy and juicy.
GKC: How is Etrog Liqueur different from Citron vodka or Limoncello? Can I cook with it?
Sukkah Hill Spirits: The drinks are similar because they are both citrus drinks but also quite different. Our liqueur is made with Etrog not lemon. Just as an orange and a lemon are both citrus but have very different flavors, etrog has its own unique flavor and aroma. The etrog's aroma is so wonderful, it is traditionally considered to be the aroma of Gan Eden itself. Our Etrog Liqueur is a clear, high proof aromatic sweet spirit. Lemoncellos are lower proof and sweeter and thicker/heavier. A citron Vodka is an unsweetened alcohol/vodka with a generally slightly bitter bite. And yes, you can cook with it.
GKC: I added it to a marinade and it tenderized a roast perfectly and gave my lemon mousse a great kick!
GKC: How do you make this incredible liqueur?
Sukkah Hill Spirits: We start with a mix of etrogim. Each variety brings a different quality to the drink. We have a proprietary extraction method (all natural) for getting the flavor from the fruit, followed by sweetening and getting the proof just right, It is tasted repeatedly for quality and bottled and labeled according to each batch. It is completely handmade in small batches of just about 500 bottles per barrel.
GKC: What’s your favorite way to drink it?
Sukkah Hill Spirits: Marni likes to mix it with rosemary, lime, sugar and gin. Others rave about it poured over ice cream or in a hot cup of tea. Howard likes it on the rocks with Templeton Rye.
GKC: My two cents is muddle fresh lime, add etrog liqueur, a splash of vanilla vodka and lemonade. We had it in the succah (I called it lemon lime etrog lemonade for adults J
GKC: So what’s next? Did I mention they recently won awards for top artisanal fruit liqueur?
Sukkah Hill Spirits: BESAMIM liqueur. It’s already being bottled and is ready to be sold. We won top awards for this flavor too! Think havdalah spices in a liqueur.
Now I have got to try that too! Thanks Marni and Howard for sharing this fantastic new spirit with GKC. Check out Sukkah Hill Spirits online or on facebook and try some. Get it Vendome Wines and Spirits or ask your local wine store to carry it. And don’t forget to submit to win a bottle too!