Mint tea with arak

In 1988, the American Red Cross awarded the Lebanese Red Cross with a medal commending it for the best rescue effort internationally. Back then the war was still raging and casualties numbered in the thousands. Volunteers from the Lebanese Red Cross displayed heroic courage in their rescue efforts.

A few years later, when the war was officially over, a group of ladies came up with the idea of publishing a cookbook as a fund-raiser for the Lebanese Red Cross always short on funds and long on needs. This arak-spiked mint tea is one of many recipes in that cookbook entitled Mijotons by Micha and Maya Sarraf, Wadad Kanaan and Fadia Wardé.

What is arak?

Arak is considered the national drink of Lebanon; it is similar to ouzo and pastis; it has a strong licorice taste. It is always offered during get-togethers with small plates of salted pistachios and other mezzes.

Here however it is  a warm tea to drink at the end of a meal. The taste of arak is subdued giving out only the faintest hint of licorice.

METHOD:

  1. Boil one liter of water (or 4 cups); drop a bunch of fresh mint in the water (use several tablespoons of dried if you don’t have any fresh mint available). Infuse for 5 minutes. Drop one tablespoon of tea of your choice and let it infuse 4 minutes.
  2. Pour the strained mint tea in each cup, adding a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of arak per cup. Enjoy this beverage warm.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! ALL THE BEST FOR 2011!


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30 Comments

  1. Posted December 31, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Happy 2011 Joumana. It was wonderful to put a voice to your personality and you certainly have ‘the video presence’ that makes one want to watch your demonstration and it also helps that you look so lovely. Baklava made easy for someone like me to consider attempting it.
    Best wishes,Sandhya,

  2. Posted December 31, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Love this story. Have a wonderful New Year!

  3. Posted December 31, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year! Wishing you health, blessings, joy, energy, love, peace, and unstoppable creativeness.

  4. Posted December 31, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    How funny, it seems there are many of us with alcoholic tea on the brain… I have wanted to try arak for quite a while… I’ll put it on the New Year’s to do list! Have a Happy New Year!

  5. Posted December 31, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year!

    An interesting drink.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. Posted December 31, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Very refreshing drink! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Posted January 1, 2011 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year Joumana. Wishing you all the best for 2011.

  8. Posted January 1, 2011 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    merci du partage de cette belle boisson que j’adore..
    i saw yesterday your video about baklava, but i had a problem when trying to post a comment!!
    it was very interesting, thank you for all the efforts you make in order to reveal such traditional recipes of which your blog is full…
    i just wanted to tell you that you are very elegant and pretty joumana..
    moi je suis abonnée à ton fluxx rss sur le google reader, et je reçois toutes tes recettes, même si je ne poste pas de commentaires sur chacun…
    bisous

  9. Posted January 1, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I still remember the first time I tasted Arak. The notion of the addition of mint sounds just perfect.

    Thanks for sharing Joumana….

    Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

  10. Posted January 1, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Hellow!

    I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.

    I have added your site to my site.

    Please link my site to your site.

    Thank you!

    http://necomama-afternoontea.blogspot.com

  11. Posted January 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year !! Looking forward to your new recipes in 2011 :)) Thanks for being so supportive.

  12. Antonella
    Posted January 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Have a wonderful, perfect, GREAT 2011!!!
    I let you know about Mediterranea in few days!
    Ciao!

  13. Posted January 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Mint tea always sounds so cleansing to me, especially after all of the overindulging I’ve been doing. Wonderful timing.

    Happy new year!

  14. Posted January 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year!
    I love mint tea- but mine never comes out as good as my Middle Eatern friends’ versions. :(

    I tried arak once and totally forgot about it, thanks for reminding me and introducing me to this new way of drinking it.

  15. Posted January 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Joumana the very best wishes for a serene new year

  16. SYLVIA
    Posted January 1, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    This is a perfect tea to drink after a heavy meal. The mint is so clean and refreshiong, it has anti-microbial properties, relaxes the stomach muscles helps keep your system clean of bad bacteria.

  17. Posted January 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year! May 2011 be everything you want it to be, and more!

  18. Posted January 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I would love to try this, sounds like an interesting combination :)
    Wishing you and your family a joyous 2011!

  19. Posted January 1, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana

    Another surprising recipe :) I must try this one. Does the arak crystalise and go white? It looks like the tea remains clear.

    I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a happy new year and thank you for your friendship. Hope to see you in Lebanon next year.

  20. Posted January 2, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Je te souhaite une très belle et heureuse année 2011, qu’elle t’apporte bonheur, santé et réussite dans tous tes projets.

    Des bisous!!

  21. Posted January 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I love mint tea, especially when it comes with baklava!!!
    I’ve tried to make my own mint tea, but it never comes out as good as when i have it at an arabic or moroccan restaurant. I think i might not be using enough mint.
    *kisses* HH

  22. Posted January 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    A natural combination – tea and Arak! Thanks for posting the recipe. I’d like to share this with my readers as well, if I may.
    Happy, Healthy New Year!

  23. Joumana
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    @Fouad: The arak does not turn white and the tea has a faint taste of licorice, but it does go well with the mint flavor.
    I would be so pleased to see you in Lebanon, hopefully in 2011!

  24. Posted January 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year :-)

  25. Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Great idea! I never thought of having the mint tea in the arak!
    Happy new year and all the best for 2011!

  26. Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    I recently discovered Arak at a Syrian restaurant and love it, would be awesome in tea. A great effort these ladies did with the cookbook.

  27. Posted January 4, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I actually have some Arak in my wine cellar, I might just have to give this one a whirl! Happy New Year, Joumana! – S

  28. Posted January 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Happy New year Joumana! Let the year 2011 be creative, cheerful, generous, and delicious! The tea sounds very interesting, I’ve only heard and read about arak before, but never tried it!

  29. Posted January 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Once again, now I need to try this arak. I love the idea of having it in my mint tea.

  30. Posted January 11, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    [...] Mint tea with arak Arak is considered the national drink of Lebanon it is similar to ouzo and pastis; it has a strong licorice taste. It is always offered during get-togethers with small plates of salted pistachios and other mezzes. [...]

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