Latke Sour Cocktail / Photo by Ezra Pollard
The late, great Boston brasserie Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks was always open on Christmas Day, and Naomi Levy—who served as bar manager during the restaurant’s heyday—was always happy to work.
Levy, a 2019 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 honoree and cocktail consultant, is Jewish and didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas. She nonetheless delighted in spending the holidays with people who did, even donning red-and-white, fur-trimmed hat behind Eastern Standard’s marble bar. “I would really get into it,” she recalls, even though Christmas “wasn’t something that I truly connected to.”
Spending the holidays in such a festive atmosphere did, however, conjure some bittersweet memories for the bartender—like when her school-age friends would go to the mall without her, to visit Santa. “You can’t help but feel the whole world is having a celebration that you’re not invited to,” Levy says of growing up culturally Jewish around Christmastime.