March 11, 2011
By Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashrus Administrator of the Chicago Rabbinical Council
In advance of the upcoming Yomim Tovim the cRc would like to present the cRc Liquor List as a service to the community. This liquor information should not be used after December 31, 2011, at which time it will be reviewed and re-issued.
All unflavored beers, domestic and imported, with no additives listed on the ingredient label are acceptable, even without a Kosher certification. This applies to both USA and imported beers, including non-alcoholic and dark beers.
Many breweries are coming out with specialty brews that have additives so do not assume that all varieties are acceptable – please check the label.
The following flavored beers are currently certified Kosher (under the Vaad of Greater Detroit – even without a kosher logo on the bottle): Saranac (all products); Brooklyn Brewery (only those products produced in Utica, NY); Pete’s Brewing (all products); Matt Brewing (all products), Spoetzl Brewery under the Shiner label: Blonde, Bock, Bohemian Black Lager, Frost1, Hefeweizen, Holiday Cheer, Kosmos Reserve, Light, 101, and Smokehaus.
The following beers from Samuel Adams, The Boston Beer Company, are Star-K Kosher/Pareve, even without the Star-K on the label: (All Samuel Adams products listed below are Yoshon if sell by date is no later than March 2010): Black Lager, Blackberry, Boston Ale, Boston Lager, Brown Ale, Cherry Wheat, Chocolate Bock (Dairy-Cholov Stam), Coastal Wheat, Cranberry Lambic, Cream Stout, Double Bock, Grain Hardcore, Hefeweizen, Holiday Porter, Honey Porter, Imperial Stout, Imperial White Ale, Light, Midnight, Octoberfest, Old Fezziwig, Pale Ale, Raspberry, Spring Ale, Summer Ale, White Ale, Winter Lager, and Witbier
The following beers are under the supervision of the Kosher Australia Party, even without any kosher marking on the label: Coopers Sparkling Ale, Coopers Best Extra Stout, Coopers Special Old Stout, Coopers Premium Lager, Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale, and all varieties of Homebrew kits.
Miller’s Chill Lime Beer is now certified kosher by the OU. Redbridge gluten-free beer from Anheuser-Busch is kosher and pareve. Mackeson Triple Stout Beer is not recommended due to the additives and its dairy ingredients.
Only the unflavored varieties of these bourbons are recommended: A.H. Hirsch, Bakers, Basil Hayden, Bernheim, Black Maple Hill, Bookers, Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, Michters, Noah’s Mill, Old Crow, Old Granddad, Old Pogue, Parkers, Prichards, Rowans Creek, Vintage Bourbon, Wild Turkey (Not Wild Turkey liqueur), Willet, and Woodford Reserve. For the link to non-recommended bourbons please see: http://www.crcweb.org/Whisky%20Alert%20with%20Q&A%20(Sep%202010).pdf
Brandy & Cognac
All brandy and cognac require certification since both are made from wine. Some Kosher Brandies: Boukha Fig (OU), Carmel (OU), Herzog (OU), Spirit of Solomon (Hisachdus-CRC), and Tishbi (OU)
Gin with no flavors added is acceptable. (Sloe Gin is a liqueur and requires certification).
Bombay Brand Sapphire Gin and Tanqueray Rangpur distilled Gin are presently not recommended.
Gordon’s Flavored Gin (all flavors) produced in the USA, is Kosher certified by the cRc.
Liqueur generally has lower alcohol content and is, by definition, flavored drinks. Sometimes a liqueur is referred to as an aperitif or cordial. All liqueurs require certification.
The following are some liqueur brands that bear certification on the label and may be used.
Check the labels of each bottle and each flavor for the indicated certification. Some flavors from the sources listed below may be Dairy and will have a D next to the kosher symbol.
Amaretto Disaronno (OU), Bartenura (OU), Carmel (OU), Cointreau (No certification on bottle needed). DeKuper (with OU or as listed on OU website), Drambuie (No certification on bottle required), Frangelico (OU), Godiva (OU) – all should be considered as Dairy unless noted otherwise on each label, Honkes (MK – Montreal), Kedem (OU), Leroux (OU). Monfort (OU), Peter Cherry Heering (OU), Sabra (OU), Southern Comfort only with Badatz Basel and Badatz Beit Yosef on each bottle, and Starbucks (OU) even without designation on the bottle. Starbucks White Chocolate is Dairy
Some popular brands that are not recommended: Bailey’s Irish Cream, B&B Liqueur, Benedictine, Gold Schlager, Grand Marnier, Kirschwasser, Llord’s (without hashgacha), Ouzo, Sambuca, Southern Comfort, Tia Maria, Wild Turkey Liqueur, and Yukon Jack
All mead requires certification since most, if not all, contain various kosher sensitive ingredients such as wine or flavors.
Rum generally requires certification. The following are acceptable under the stated conditions: Bacardi (Unflavored Dark & Light Only), Cruzan (Unflavored Dark & Light Only), Don Q (with OU on Label), Iceberg (with OU on Label), and Jumbi (with OU on Label)
No certification required.
Only recommended when bearing a reliable Kosher symbol. Sensei brand sake is kosher when bearing an OU on the label.
The following is a list of scotch that we have determined to be free of any questionable wines or casks. Indication that questionable aging in wine casks may be used can be determined by language on the bottle such as sherry, sauterne or port, dual casks, French casks, European casks, port finish, maderia finish, dual finish, triple finish, double matured and/or triple matured. Other brands will be added in the future as we are able to determine that they comply with the cRc standards. Only the following specific vintages/categories listed are recommended at this time: Auchentoshan (Original, 16 Year), Balvenie (15 Year Single Barrel, Dramguish (Any age), Glenlivet (12 year, 15 year French Oak, Nadura 16 year, Nadura 191), Glenmorangie (Original, Astar), Glenrothes (Alba), McClelland’s (Lowland, Speyside, Speyside 12, Highland and Islay are not certified kosher), Royal Legacy of 1745 (Any age), The Speyside (Any age), and Tomintoul (10 year, 16 year, 33 year, Peaty Tang)
Various brands of blended scotch may also be aged in wine casks or barrels. The cRc policy is that unless the presence of questionable casks are printed on the label, they are permitted to use. If one wishes to be more stringent, then only those brands of scotch listed above should be considered free of any wine cask issues.
Soju (Korean liquor)
Soju is only recommended when bearing a reliable kosher symbol.
Tequila is made from the agave cactus in Mexico. According to Mexican law any tequila may be labeled 100% agave even though it contains no more than 51% actual agave alcohol.
There are three types of tequila on the market:
1) Regular-White (also known as Silver) tequila is recommended even without a hechsher. This clear tequila contains either 100% agave or a mixture of agave and sugar cane.
2) Gold-Brown tequila is not recommended without a reliable hashgacha. This darker tequila is aged for 3 months and may have color and flavoring added.
3) Reposado (“rested”) (also known as Special) tequila is not recommended without a reliable hashgacha. It is aged for 6 months and in addition to concerns of color and flavoring, glycerin may be added for density.
Some acceptable Tequila brands: Agave 99 (with OU), Campo Azul, Don Bernardo G (with OU), El Diamante Del Cielo (with OU), Herrudura, Salusa, Sol Dios Anejo (with OU), Sol Dios Platinum / Blanco (with OU), Stallion (with OU), and Tonala (with OU)
Vermouth requires certification since it is made from wine. Kedem is the only brand available with a kosher symbol.
All Domestic (USA only) non-flavored vodka is acceptable. Imported vodka requires certification or confirmation of their approved kashrus status. Important: This applies only to grain or potato vodka. Some vodkas are made with grapes or whey and would need a reliable hashgacha.
42 Below brand vodka has been reported to be made in dairy vessels and therefore should not be used directly with meat.
Van Gogh Vodka is approved if it states kosher under the supervision of the Holland Rabbinate or the Chief Rabbinate on the label. This kosher certification is for the following flavors – mint, pineapple, melon, blueberry, double espresso, espresso, pomegranate, orange, mango, coffee 19/90 XXO, banana, caramel and blue.
The following unflavored imported vodkas are acceptable imports even without certification on the label: Absolut, Belvedere, Chopin, Finlandia, Grey Goose, Iceberg (now has OU), Kettle One, Provda (now has OU), Stolichnaya – (see below for flavored), Three Olives (from England), Van Gough (unflavored), Vox, and Yevreyskaya.
Ursus Flavored Vodka is not certified kosher
The following Absolut Flavored Vodkas are now acceptable even without the OU on the label: Apeach, Berri Acai, Boston, Brooklyn, Citron, ELYX, Kurant, Los Angeles, Mandrin, Mango, Orient Apple, Pears, Peppar, Raspberri, Ruby Red, S.F., Tropics, Vanilla, and Wild Tea.
Putinka Vodka both Pepper flavor and Limited Edition are kosher even without certification on the label.
Gordon Vodkas: the following varieties are cRc certified even without certification on the label: Citrus Flavored, Orange, and Wild Berry.
Stolichnaya Vodkas: the following varieties are acceptable, with OU on the label: Cinnamon Flavored, Coffee Flavored, Gold Premium Imported Russian, Imported Russian, Lemon Flavored, Orange Flavored, Peach Flavored, Raspberry Flavored, Strawberry Flavored, and Vanilla Flavored.
The following Smirnoff vodkas are acceptable even without the KSA on the label: Blue Label, Red Label, and Silver Label and the following Smirnoff products are acceptable, with KSA on the label: Black Cherry, Blueberry, Citrus, Cranberry, Espresso (Dairy), Green Apple, Lime, Mango, Melon, Orange, Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Root Beer (Dairy), Strawberry, Vanilla, and White Grape. Strawberry Acai is not kosher!
Smirnoff Ice: Non-flavored Smirnoff Ice including the Smirnoff Ice and Smirnoff Ice Triple Black contain grape and are not certified Kosher. However, the following varieties are acceptable even without the KSA on the label: Green Apple, Mango, Passionfruit, Pomegranate Fusion, Raspberry Burst, Watermelon, and Wild Grape
Smirnoff Raw Tea: The following varieties are acceptable even without the KSA on the label: Green, Lemon and Raspberry
Whiskey (including Canadian, Irish, Ryes)
The cRc policy is that any whiskey, including Irish Whiskey, that is aged in a wine cask, such sherry, sauterne or port, dual casks, French casks, European casks, port finish, maderia finish, dual finish, triple finish, double matured and/or triple matured should be avoided.
Blended Whiskeys are acceptable only with certification, unless appearing on the following list: Canadian – Canadian Club (regular only – not Classic, Premium or Special Reserve), Canadian Mist, Crown Royal Original and black Only – the cRc does not recommend the sherry cask version, Gibsons (MK on label), Jamesons Irish Whiskey, Kellan Irish Whiskey, Midleton Irish Whiskey, Paddy Irish Whiskey, Power Irish Whiskey, Seagram’s (VO and 7 Canadian Blend only, not American Blend), Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey (regular only- not those aged in sherry casks), and Wiser’s
All wines served at a cRc event, regardless of the location, host or caterer must bear acceptable certification and must be mevushal. Many Israeli and French wines are not mevushal, so care must be exercised.
Carmel Wines from Israel must bear the OU on the label as some wines produced during the shmita year will not have the OU on the label.
Alfasi wine, from Chile, is under the OK certification but not all are mevushal. Each label should be checked.
Bar Stock Items
Any bar equipment (strainers, shot measures, blenders, stir rods, shakers, etc.) used with non-kosher products should be properly kashered prior to use for a kosher affair.
Bitters – require a relaible Hashgacha; Olives – green olives require certification, Domestic Black Olives packed in water, with no added flavors or colors are acceptable without certification on the label; Pearl Onions – are pickled and require certification; Lemon and Lime – fresh lemon and limes used for slices, wedges and twists must be prepared using a kosher knife and on a kosher cutting board; All Tabasco brand hot pepper sauce is acceptable as long as it bears a “K”; Maraschino Cherries – only with acceptable certification.
All Drink Mixes requires certification.
Some brands available that are acceptable: Coco Lopez (only when bearing OU), Daily’s – (only when bearing OU), Holland House (only when bearing OU), Jamaica John (only when bearing OU), Jero (only when bearing OK), Mr & Mrs T’s (only when bearing OU) and Rose’s – grenadine and lime (only when bearing OU).
Goya brand Coconut Milk and Goya brand Cream of Coconut –although in the past, we have accepted product from Dominican Republic, future purchases should only be made of products bearing a reliable Hashgacha.
Most juices require certification. Ready-to-drink juices are made in factories that sometimes produce a wide range of products, mostly with hot production. There may be issues of dairy and non-kosher utensils even if the ingredients state that only a seemingly kosher fruit juice was used.
The following is a short list of some juices that are accepted by the cRc. If you do not see a particular brand or category listed, you should then assume that it would require a reliable hashgacha: Apple Juice – Frozen (all without grape juice or additives are acceptable), Apple Juice – Shelf-Stable & Refrigerated (only with a reliable hechsher), Bottled Shelf-Stable Juices (only with a reliable hechsher), Campbell Tomato Juice (only with the OU or the Half Moon K), Dole (only with a reliable hechsher), Florida Natural (orange Juice acceptable), Frozen Juices (all without grape juice or additives are acceptable), Lemonade – Shelf Stable & Refrigerated (Only with a reliable hechsher), Lemonade – Frozen (only with a reliable hechsher), Lemon Juice (all require a reliable hashgacha (see frozen), Lime Juice (all require a reliable hashgacha (See Frozen), Minute Maid (Orange Juice Acceptable), Orange Juice-Shelf Stable & Frozen (only with a reliable hechsher (see other listings for additional information), Orange Juice-Frozen (all without grape juice or additives are acceptable), Pineapple Juice (canned are acceptable except if canned in China), Pomegranate Juice (only with a reliable hechsher), Prune Juice (only with a reliable hechsher), Refrigerated Juices (only with a reliable hechsher), Tomato Juice (all require a reliable hashgacha), Tropicana (only with a reliable hechsher), and V8 Juices (only with the OU or the Half Moon K).
Approved above products are not kosher for Passover unless noted as such on the individual label.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all energy drinks and alcoholic beverages such as certain lemonades are certified kosher.
Consumers should be careful to purchase all liquor from a store that either sold their chometz or is owned by a non-Jew. The cRc has verified that the only store in Ben Gurion Airport that has properly sold his chometz as well as not selling any chometz over Pesach 5770 is the James Richardson Store at Gate D7.
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