Jellab drink

August 5, 2009  •  Category:


One  thing I can’t wait to experience when I go back to Beirut: drinking a jellab! Back in the sixties and seventies, we used to order it at the Riviera, one of the  many beaches that studded the coastline right outside of the city. A waiter would approach and present this tall glass of sweet, wine-hued beverage, with a faint taste of grape and smoked caramel.  Encased in  a thick layer of crushed ice and floating on top like jewels, pine nuts and golden raisins. Oh delight! Drinking it in the heat of  summer!  I would try to get a mouthful of ice and some pine nuts (my favorites) in one gulp.  Making jellab involves combining the pulp of raisins with some grape molasses, rose water and sugar  then smoking the mixture. A daunting task. The good news is that the syrup is available at middle-eastern stores in the US and elsewhere and makes for a fine substitute.

Jellab is  served today in traditional Lebanese restaurants and cafes as well as all the beaches that pepper the Lebanese coastline.   In addition, it is sold in Beirut at Souk el-Tayyeb, the organic farmer’s market, homemade by an  artisan who specializes in all kinds of sweet syrups, such as mint, mandarin, rose, lemon, toot (mulberry), etc.

INGREDIENTS: Enough for one serving

2 Tablespoons of jellab syrup

6 oz of water

1 cup of crushed ice

2 Tablespoons each of pine nuts and golden raisins


  • Pour the syrup in a tall glass. Add the water and stir.
  • Add the crushed ice, and sprinkle the pine nuts and raisins on top.


Almonds and pistachios can be substituted for the pine nuts and raisins, as well as added to the mixture.



17 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Mona says:

    Also there was a famous place in the downtown area of Bab Idriss called “berket el Antabli” where served the best and delicious jellab. Unfortunately because of civil war this place is disappeared and now they are opening in many areas of Beirut.
    Also traditionally jellab is served during the holy Ramadan.
    Thanks Jumana for the delicious recipe!

    • Joumana says:

      Thanks for your input! I love to hear from Lebanese folks who have been there and who have more knowledge.

    • Joumana says:

      I did some research and I found that ” Il Intabli” has relocated to Mar Elias Street. I plucked this titbit of info from A complete Insider’s guide to Lebanon, by Cherine Yazbeck and Carole Corm.

  2. anissa says:

    ha, the birkeh. used to go there all the time with my mother when she went shopping in souk el-tawileh. their jellab was the best. also the meghli. in fact, everything there was delicious, and resting against the cool fountain was magical. i think i wrote about it in lebanese cuisine or perhaps street food. i still haven’t had a better jellab.

  3. Arlette says:

    Marhaba Joumana

    Rizkallah alah Iyam Beirut and Souk al Tawileh, and Birket Al Intableh…
    The first store for the Al Intableh was in Mar Elias Street in West Beirut, in my neighborhod.
    I am so anxious to go back home and see the new Beirut, and the downtown life and drink cold Jillab and much more…
    thanks for bringing back beautiful memories.

  4. cubrikaska says:

    maravillosamente, es la informaciГіn muy de valor

  5. nivine says:

    Great blog, i love it:)

    Well since we’re in Ramadan now i was drinking jellab, and because it’s so refreshing and was enjoying it so much, i decided to look it up on the internet to see how it’s presented to foreigners, and i found your blog.

    Well it’s served right before breaking the fast and it’s a typical beverage of Ramadan. In addition to the ingredients you mentioned it’s also made from dates. Probably this is why it’s recommended before breaking the fast. The thing is, psychologically, i don’t feel like drinking it any other time of the year. And when Ramadan comes (even though i don’t fast :s) i can’t stop drinking it the whole month..Anyway thank god like you said they serve it throughout the year too in all traditional Lebanese restaurants.

    Well good day
    And keep up the good work

  6. nivine says:

    Oh and i loved your description:
    “Encased in a thick layer of crushed ice and floating on top like jewels, pine nuts and golden raisins.”

    🙂 very true and beautiful

  7. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    J’étais à la recherche, sur le net, de ce qu’était le sirop de Jellab et je tombe chez toi … Je n’ai plus qu’une hâte … Y goûter ! ;o) Bisous

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