Cocktails have become a fixture on the Israeli nightlife and bar scene. Just ask Haim Gan, owner of Grape Man of Jaffa, which promotes and advances the Israeli wine and liquor culture.
Recently, mixologists and mixed-drink enthusiasts gathered at the Herzliya Marina for Grape Man’s third annual Cocktail Festival.
Gan tells ISRAEL21c about current trends.
“First is the use of ice, which the bartender carves uniquely for each cocktail,” he says. “Ice, and the water from which the ice is formed, are important components of a cocktail today. The chunk of ice in my cocktail will be different from the chunk of ice in another cocktail.”
Another trend is back-to-basics. “Today, the cocktail’s taste and style are more important than its appearance,” says Gan. “The scented glass has given way to a classic glass that supports the cocktail and gives it respect.”
Mixologists in Israel are creating drinks using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, he adds. With “farm to table” in mind, they’re going for the freshest and most delicious produce to put in your drink.
You can order classic mixed drinks like a margarita or a daiquiri, but why not try a thoroughly Israeli concoction?
Here are three quintessentially Israeli cocktails, one using prickly pear (sabra) syrup and two using arak, a kind of Israeli anise.
This one’s from the Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar in Tel Aviv, chosen by Drinks International magazine readers in 2014 as the best bar in Africa and the Middle East.
Muddle a piece of fresh pineapple in a cocktail glass
In the shaker:
60 ml Pisco (Peruvian brandy)
20 ml lemon juice
30 ml prickly pear syrup
Shake and strain into the cocktail glass that has been coated with muddled pineapple.
This recipe is from Gil Barnea, co-owner of the new Tap & Tail cocktail and tapas bar in Machane Yehuda market, Jerusalem. Barnea says it’s the most popular of the bar’s 16 different cocktails.
50 ml arak
25 ml amaretto
25 ml rosetta (almond liquid)
100 ml sour (lemon and sugar)
Chopped anise star and ice
Shake, pour into glass and sprinkle with a little Blue Curacao, anise star and almonds.
JERUSALEM OF GOLD
This Waldorf Astoria signature cocktail is available on the Garden Terrace, a seasonal outdoor tapas bar at the Jerusalem luxury hotel. Executive Chef Itzik Barak says the sweet drink was “created especially to take you on a sensory journey around our beautiful Jerusalem.”
15 ml maple syrup
2.5 ml arak
65 ml Havana 7
The Waldorf serves it on block ice with cinnamon smoke.