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Sip Sukkah Hill Spirits This Sukkot

Sip Sukkah Hill Spirits This Sukkot

What's the story behind Sukkah Hill Spirits?

It all started in a Jewish woman's kitchen, a place where many good things happen. After Sukkot, a Jewish holiday taking place in early fall, Marni Witkin, a home-baker who liked to experiment, had some extra etrogim. Etrogim (plural for etrog) are a traditional citrus fruit that's an instrumental aspect of the Jewish holiday Sukkot, but after Sukkot is over, there's not much to do with them.

Ever the creative spirit connoisseur, Marni decided to create a liqueur with her etrogim, and the OG version of Sukkah Hill's etrog liqueur was born. Some people tried it- friends, family, people in the Jewish California community- and they all loved it, resulting in Marni and her husband Howard taking their new ethnic, craft, kitchen-created liqueur and making the decision to spread it to the world. 

sukkah hill spirits

Ceating an entire brand was not only brave and entrepreneurial of the Witkins, but also meaningful. Howard was battling cancer at the time, and as Marni says in the video below, they decided to go forward with their Etrog Liqueur and later their Besamim aromatic liqueur, because they wanted to invest in the future.

It was something for the two of them to do together, as proof of their belief that there would be a future, and a bright and creative one at that, and as a form of togetherness through hardship. Marni proved to have a talent for tasting, and her palate appeared to always be spot on. 

howard and marni witkin founders of cali distillery and sukkah hill

Howard and Marni Witkin with the Sukkah Hill Spirits. Photo Credits: The Pour Fool

A short bit later, the JewishJournal reports, the owner of Glatt Mart tried the Sukkah Hill Etrog Liqueur and told the Witkins: "If you make it, I want it, and I will sell every drop that you can make." And so they did. They soon followed it with Besamim Liqueur, based off of the herbs that are used to symbolize separation between the Jewish Shabbat (aka Shabbos, Sabbath) and the weekday during the Havdala ceremony, and later a whiskey brand called Cali Distillery.

Rooted in tradition, culture, and quality, Marni and Howard Witkin have succeeded in creating a unique liqueur that is described by Jocelyn Dunn as "the definition of artisan liqueur."

Meet Howard and Marni Witkin, Founders of Sukkah Hill and Cali Distillery, in This Interview With Marc Kramer

Howard and Marni Witkin, founders of Cali Distillery from Marc Kramer on Vimeo.

Sukkah Hill Spirits Available To Buy Online At TIPXY

etrog liqueur sukkah hill spirits

Sukkah Hill Etrog Liqueur ($26.99)

Etrog is a citrus liqueur with a subtle sweetness and a delightful fragrance of citrus blossoms. It is made from an ancient heirloom citrus fruit called Etrog, which is cultivated in a limited number of orchards around the world.

The Etrog is a significant fruit in Jewish culture, and is used during the holiday of Sukkot, representing unity, fertility, and abundance. It is also used in Jewish culinary traditions for its unique citrusy taste. Etrog is bottled at 76 proof and can be enjoyed chilled, over ice, or used as a base for vibrant and potent cocktails.

etrog, citrus fruit used on sukkot

Tasting notes

An exotic citrus liqueur with intriguing notes of lemon verbena, lime leaf, melon, and Meyer lemon candy. It has a moderately sweet medium body and a finish that combines pink pepper, honey, herb, and floral lemon blossom flavors with a prickly, warming sensation. This liqueur also has an interesting aquavit-like herb and spice dimension. It will be a fantastic addition to cocktails.

Etrog Liqueur Valentine's Raspberry Cocktail


besamim liqueur

Sukkah Hill Besamim Liqueur ($26.99)

Besamim Liqueur is crafted using only natural ingredients, including pure cane sugar spirits, hand-ground spices, and mountain spring water. It doesn’t use industrial alcohol, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, or any additives. Besamim can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as a base in cocktails. 

Besamim refers to a type of aromatic spices that are traditionally used in Jewish rituals. These spices are typically placed in a container called a besamim box and are used during the Havdalah ceremony, which marks the end of the Jewish Sabbath. The besamim spices are typically smelled and passed around to enjoy their fragrance, symbolizing the transition from the sacredness of the Sabbath to the regular days of the week.

 Video of a Havdalah Ceremony

While Havdalah can look different in different communities, below is a video of the Jewish ceremony in an Orthodox synagogue. The besamim is visible during the video, when it is passed around and smelled. 

Tasting notes

Pale amber in color, Besamim Liqueur offers vibrant aromas and flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, reminiscent of freshly made spicy eggnog. It has a silky, moderately sweet medium body and a gently warming finish with notes of frosted carrot cake and candied spiced nuts. The spice flavor is elegant, natural, and well-balanced, making it enjoyable on its own or as an ingredient in holiday cocktails.

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