Mint tea with arak

December 31, 2010  •  Category: ,

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.


  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.



35 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. vegetarianirvana says:

    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. Lentil Breakdown says:

    Love this story. Have a wonderful New Year!

  3. northshorewoman says:

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

  4. deana says:

    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. Rosa says:

    Happy New Year!

    An interesting drink.



  6. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) says:

    Very refreshing drink! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ivy says:

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

  8. oum mouncifrayan says:

    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…

  9. Louise says:

    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. Miyuki says:


    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!

  11. Anita says:

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

  12. Antonella says:

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

  13. Joanne says:

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

    Happy new year!

  14. Nadia says:

    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. Gunther says:

    Dear Joumana the very best wishes for a serene new year

  16. SYLVIA says:

    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. Steve @ HPD says:

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

  18. Magic of Spice says:

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

  19. Fouad says:

    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.

    • Joumana says:

      @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!

  20. Julie says:

    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. Heavenly Housewife says:

    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. Robyn Kalajian says:

    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. Rachana says:

    Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year 🙂

  24. Green Shushi says:

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

  25. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    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.

  26. Oui, Chef says:

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

  27. Alina says:

    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!

  28. OysterCulture says:

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

  29. Nuts about food says:

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  30. Daniel says:

    I gotta try this. I got a bottle of Arak Muaddi as a gift a while back that I haven’t opened up yet. You just gave me a reason. Did you know that Arak is the original liquor, you can read more about it here:

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