by Faye Sakellaridis
Mixologists and brewmasters in Lebanon are reimagining beers and cocktails through the rediscovery of their traditional herbs, reports NPR. These herb-infused drinks are a big hit — one Lebanese food expert attributes the trend to a “hipsterish yearning for tradition.” Anise, a leading bar for herbal drinks, offers enticing concoctions like rosemary whiskey sour, sage margarita, and wild gimlet — the mix of gin and za’atar is a crowd favorite. Beer drinkers, too, are treated with a delicious twist on their beverage of choice:
One reason for their popularity is the affinity for herbs in Lebanese cuisine:
I meet Lebanese food expert Kamal Mouzawak in his restaurant, Tawleh, and make the mistake of mentioning I grew up thinking of parsley as a garnish.
"What!? Parsley a garnish?" he sputters.
Of course, here in Lebanon, parsley isn't merely for garnishing, it's a star in its own right, proudly piled up in tabbouleh salad, which Mouzawak says is his favorite food ever.
"We do use a lot — a lot! — of herbs in our cuisine," he says. He sees their appearance in drinks as a hipsterish yearning for traditional things, updated for hedonists.
"I think the trend has been lately how to rediscover tradition and how to use tradition in a modern and contemporary way. It doesn't have to be like, only grandma, boring dusty stuff," he says.
Read the full article here.