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Dutch cookie inspires new liquor in Pa.

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas cookie has entered the Center City bar scene dressed up as alcohol. A Philadelphia-based artisan boutique created a spirit based on the lebkucha, a type of honey cake which has an intellectual pedigree.

It’s called Snap, distilled from molasses with a ginger aftertaste – the ingredients of the leb-kucha. Bartender Ed Jones at Farmacia in Old City gives Snap some crackle by adding pop rocks.

Jones: While it definitely has a ginger finish, I was very impressed with black strap molasses quality.

Snap is made by a company called Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction, named after an early 20-century essay about aesthetics and capitalism. The creators of Snap say that, by being rooted in a Pennsylvania Dutch culinary tradition, it upholds the essay’s premise that hand-made products inherently have more aesthetic value than mass-produced ones.

Food historian William Weavers says the original lebkucha cookie is an intimate part of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking.

Weavers: I’ve interviewed a lot of folks, and everybody remembers Lebkucha at Christmastime. “Oh!, Grandmother’s lebkucha,” that sort of thing. So it has a lot of warm and fuzzy memories in the culture

Weavers says the original lebkucha cookie was based on honey, but honey was expensive so frugal bakers would stretch it with cheaper molasses.

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