From Libya to Georgia, several individuals described to me the process of making their own special wine or unfermented grape juice for the Passover holiday. Some said that as children they couldn’t wait to stomp on the fresh grapes that were used to make actual wine, while others remembered helping their mothers or grandmothers combine dried grapes (raisins) with sugar and water to create a syrupy treat. Either way, it was a great activity for kids who looked forward to it year after year, and a new tradition that I started with my two girls this Passover.
Yield: Serves 12 / Makes 12 eight-ounce cups
1 1/2 pounds golden raisins (black raisins may be substituted)
20 cups cold water
3 cups sugar
3 to 4 cinnamon sticks, about 4 inches long each
Measuring cups and spoons
4- or 5-quart pot
2 pitchers, for serving
1. Soak the raisins with the cold water in a large pot for 12 hours or overnight, covered.
2. Bring pot of soaked raisins with the sugar and cinnamon sticks to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce to a medium heat and slow boil until the liquid reduces by about a third, approximately 2 1/2 hours.
4. Remove from heat and cool completely before pouring into two large pitchers. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or preferably 12 hours or overnight. Drink will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.