Updated: Feb 11
Sorry for the Dad-Joke title, but Arak really can be a Rocking good time. Arak is a drink very popular in the middle east. One hot day in southern California I happened to be discussing the heat and sun with a gentlemen originally from Syria and I mentioned how good a cold beer would be. We started talking about drinking in the heat and he told me a story about a liquor I had never heard of, Arak. He told me how his family used to make it before they came to America, how it was made, the best materials and spices. He knew his stuff. He went on to tell me how amazing it was, especially for the heat and let me know that even though he doesn't make it anymore he still purchased it regularly and insisted that next time we talk I should take some home. So of course I went home and looked it up, I immediately seen it was flavored with anise...my heart sank. Who likes black licorice? I predetermined that I would hate it. When I met him again he had some for me, which I took and thanked him for the gesture, but was far less excited now. He told me there was a very specific way it must be poured and served. Interestingly you must serve it right, if you do there is a little bit of showman ship, if you don't, it will be less drinkable. So you take your glass and pour you Arak and then pour the water in a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio. So if you have an 8 ounce glass pour 4 ounces Arak and then pour 2 ounces water (leaving room for ice). When you do this your drink will turn milk white which is a neat trick coming from two clear liquids. This is caused by the plant oils present in the Arak from the anise seed used to flavor it. When you diluted the alcohol it lost some of it's dissolving power and freed up some of the oils. Once this is done you can add a couple of ice cubes. I was told that if you pour the Arak directly over ice the fast cooling would cause the oils to coagulate and make the consistency unpleasant to drink. I took the Arak home and followed the instructions closely. I really enjoyed the drink turning white as your pour and could see that being a "show" at a party or bar. I happened to be tasting this outside in the heat while working in the garage. I must say, I am NOT a fan of black licorice (who is?), but the taste was very mild and in the heat of the day it was refreshing and amazing. I think it stands that all people should try this Arak, this drink was mild, cool and refreshing and was not at all what I had anticipated. While Arak is difficult to find depending where you are. Hopefully you can locate some and give it a try. While preparing to write this I found two gentlemen that had a good video on pouring and presenting Arak. You should pick some up and check this video out! Thank for tuning in to a quick read!