It can’t be done, they said. It will never be fun, they said. A spinning top is about as cool as, well, a spinning top, they said. But guess what, people? With just a little brainstorming, help from a stranger on the subway, and some inspirational wine, my friends and I figured out a way to make playing dreidel actually fun for adults. And thus, the official dreidel drinking game rules were born.
To turn dreidel into a drinking game, you only need two ingredients: a dreidel and booze. Ideally a Dr. Dreidel. And ideally booze you don’t mind taking a lot of sips of (you’ll see). Also I’d recommend some chocolate gelt, just for snackin’. OK, and throw in an ugly Hanukkah sweater or two. But after that, you’re set.
Drinking Dreidel (also known as “Drink & Drei” or “Fatal Dreidel” if you’re playing with tequila) has four basic rules, one for each side of the dreidel. Take turns spinning the dreidel, and act accordingly:
• If נ (nun) is facing up, you do nothing. Sounds boring, but believe me, when the game gets rolling, you’ll be grateful for those precious nuns (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write on a Jewish website).
• If ש (shin) is facing up, you take a drink. In regular dreidel, shin means put one in (referring to adding a game piece to the pot). In this case, you’re putting one in… to your mouth.
• If ה (hey) is facing up, you choose somebody else to take a drink, specifically by saying, “Hey ___, take a drink.”
• If ג (gimel) is facing up, everybody takes a drink! But first you all must shout, “GIMEL!!!” and clink glasses. Don’t skip over that step — it’s important for overall morale.
There you have it, folks. Easy peasy. Of course, I implore you to drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive, don’t drink and text your ex, and drink plenty of water. Try it out at your Hanukkah party, or just among an intimate gathering of friends. Any amount of people can play, so there’s really no excuse not to. Happy Hanukkah!