Ziryab offers on its menu the wonderful Arak Touma made by the winery Château St Thomas in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, and reputedly using the finest aniseed from the al Heeneh area of Mount Hermon.
Arak is a 50% pure-grape alcohol made primarily in the Levant (Near East). It can be found in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Israel and Iran, and each country and producer add their special touch so it can vary quite a lot from one place to another. It is a clear, odourless, unsweetened anise-flavoured drink… with a potency that will have your mouth tingling…! Arak is a blend of French distillation methods matched with Lebanese tradition, and our Arak Touma is so smooth, after distillation four times, that it is completely methanol-free.
The delicate scent of the quality aniseed is a pure delight and a gem to drink if you are an anise-lover. Ziryab recommends drinking Aram Touma alone as an aperitivo, with ice and water (1/3 Arak to 2/3 water). Diluting the water (which is usually put into a traditional Levantine vessel called a “Bariq”) with the Arak causes it’s colour to change to a milky white substance. This interesting phenomenon happens because anethole, the essential oil of anise, is soluble in alcohol but not in water.
If not drinking it alone, you could also have it as an accompaniment one of our tapas-mezze! Many like to accompany it with barbecued meats or garlic flavours. Yalla try it!