Grammar

Mazel Tov or Molotov Cocktail? They’re Very Different Things!

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Over the weekend, I began seeing a screenshot from a news program with an embarrassing misspelling of the term ‘Molotov Cocktail.’

You may have heard a lot about the Molotov cocktail, an incendiary device you occasionally see used during riots.

Unfortunately, you may have heard people call it something else: “The Mazel Tov cocktail.”

Someone said it on CNN:

And according to the closed captioning, someone used the term on ABC News Prime:

I haven’t seen actual video of the ABC report, so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that the speaker may have said it correctly while the closed-captioner typed it wrong.

Still, it’s a little ironic for ABC News, since they ran a story about Trump supporters using the incorrect term, “Mazel Tov cocktail” and how it “delighted” Twitter.

Mazel Tov Cocktail or Molotov Cocktail?

Some people may not realize it, but both actually do exist. But they’re very, very different things.

The one people mean to use as they talk about rioting is the latter.

A Molotov Cocktail is a “a crude bomb made of a bottle filled with a flammable liquid and usually fitted with a wick that is ignited just before the bottle is hurled,” Merriam-Webster says.

You may have seen video of a rioter hurling one into the street only to have a protester toss it back into the rioter’s car! That was a moment of poetic justice.

The Finns coined the name “Molotov cocktail” during the Winter War in 1939. You can read the story of the term’s etymology here, but in short, it was named after Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov, whose Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in late August 1939, prevented Nazi Germany from helping defend Finland from attack by the Soviet Union.

A Mazel Tov Cocktail carries an entirely different meaning. First, you have to know the meaning of the phrase Mazel Tov itself.

Also spelled Mazal Tov, it means “good fortune.”

It’s a Jewish phrase used to express congratulations or to wish someone good luck.

You make a Mazel Tov Cocktail, a drink, with gin. From there, different recipes vary on what to do with it. Here’s one in The Washington Post and a different one on Food Republic.

Regardless of what you put in it, it’s clear you should drink the Mazel Tov Cocktail, not throw it.

Maybe if more people would sit across from each other, share a Mazel Tov Cocktail and actually listen to each other a little more often, we’d have less of a need for the other kind of cocktail.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.