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I know generally speaking, when prioritizing brachos, if you have food and drink, the food goes first; also, shehakols tend to rank low.

But what if you're really, really thirsty (e.g. breaking a fast), and you have a cup of water and a cookie. Which bracha do you make first?

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There's a Chayei Adam that says if you're really thirsty, you can make shehakol and drink a cup of water a few minutes before making hamotzee; the initial water is considered part of the meal because you'll have a better appetite if you're not parched. I wonder if that plays in here? I vaguely recall a Frand tape that for dieters who insist on water before a meal, that kedima is good enough? –  Shalom Aug 23 '10 at 11:41
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2 Answers

The issue isn't so much ranking as it is intent. If you say shehakol while having the intent of eating the cookie, you are yotzei(albeit b'diavad) on the cookie as well(see the second mishna in Keitzad mevarkhin, 6th perek of Berakhot for an in depth analysis).

Going from the minhag in both Yeshivat Beit El and Yeshivat Nahar Shalom when they break their fasts after tikkunim, the drinks are brought out first, everyone takes and blesses, and then the food is brought out. If it is not "before you" you still need to make a berakha. Some poskim rule this way even in the midst of a seuda(such as the Ben Ish Hai, will find location soon).

Ultimately I think what would be best would be to pick up your drink, make your berakha on that, and then pick up your cookie.

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Background- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 211

Mechaber a: If the brachos are different, there is no kadima (211:1)

Mechaber b: If the brachos are different, you go by what is generally you favorite (211:1)

Rambam: If the brachos are different, you go by what you want now (211:2)

Mechaber: The above is only true when dealing with brachos of similar specificity, but when one bracha is more specific, the more specific bracha is first. (211:3)

Halacha lemaase: Mezonos is more specific than shehakol and would come first under all circumstances. See the mefarshim in more detail for haetz vs haadama.

[There is a Biur Halacha which cites the Eliya Rabba in the name of the Shela a general practice of people who make a bracha on schnapps before other brachos with more specificity (e.g. haetz). He suggests to their benefit that they really only want the shnapps at first and their desire for other foods is only after the drink. The BH recommends eating the haetz first, nevertheless, since eating after may render the food tafel to the schnapps]

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