Arak - Drink Secrets



In every region of the world, there is a common alcoholic beverage that is more popular than others. In the United States alone, you might get a few different answers depending on the state. In the Caribbean, rum is a major export, while in Russia and other parts of Europe vodka is the libation of choice. However, in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, distilled aniseed alcohols, like Arak, are the most popular. This particular style of anise liquor is also produced and consumed in Eastern Mediterranean and North African countries as well as Iran, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt. The term is actually an offshoot of the Arabic term for “sweat.” 

In Armenia and Azerbaijan, the word “aragh” loosely translates to vodka and has been associated with Arak, but this liquor actually has more in common with the other anise-based distilled alcohols of Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece. You may know these as raki, zivania, ouzo, or Sambuca. As you may have guessed, this liquor is typically mixed with other things, as the distinctly bitter licorice flavor can be overpowering. The drink is most commonly mixed with plain water, but it is also common to add it to teas and juices as well.

There is an interesting tradition surrounding Arak, which has to do with the way anethole, the essential oil of the plant, mixes with water. It is soluble in alcohol but not water, so when you mix water with the liquor, it turns translucent from the reaction. The tradition requires that you always add water before adding ice because it will otherwise generate an aesthetically unpleasant skin on the surface of the drink. This is due to the extreme cold of the ice solidifying the fat that is stored within the arak. When diluted with water first, the fat emulsifies and this effect is averted.

Drinks with: Arak

Copenhagen Special drink image
Copenhagen Special

Category: Cocktails


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