Traditional Herbs Meet Cocktails and Beer in Lebanon
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.