Tag Archives: LIQUOR

New To Me: Arak

New To Me
Gantous & Abou Raad Arak


Arak is liquor distilled from grapes and flavored with Anis Seeds.

It is the traditional alcoholic beverage in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

The Arak I tasted last night is from Lebanon and clocked in at 100 proof.

It tasted like a less viscous, more potent sambuca. 

Like Sambuca, Arak is also compared to Ouzo, Pastis & Absinthe.


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Fresh Berries Make A Drink Better

Every Thursday I check out the local farmers market for fresh fruit and other ingredients.

This week I made a simple syrup with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. And with that syrup, I made this:

For the syrup I followed this recipe from the site Geeks With Drinks.

That recipe linked above is for a blueberry simple syrup, which I used as the base for my syrup — modifying it to include raspberries and blackberries.

•2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries & blackberries)
•2 cups sugar
•2cups water
•2 tablespoons vodka (optional, but it will last longer with it)

•Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
•Once it begins to boil reduce heat and add the berries. I let simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. When I made a ginger simple syrup, I let that simmer for about 45 minutes. The recipe on Geeks With drinks only called for about 15 minutes for the blueberries, but I was more than pleased with my results.
•Finally, pour the water and berries through a strainer or colander lined with cheesecloth. And if you’d like, add a tablespoon or two of vodka to the liquid (it’ll extend the life of the syrup, allowing you to save it for a while). Read more about that here.

I used two cups of everything because that’s how many berries I had leftover after making shrubs. You can easily make this recipe with only one cup of berries, water and sugar, just similarly keeping the ingredients all in equal parts. Also, I used a nice cane sugar in place of regular sugar.

It’s the perfect time of the year to be making simple syrups and if you want some more ideas, Liquor.com just posted an article with some tasty syrup recipes.

With syrups you can do so, so many wonderful things, but here’s the recipe for the simple dessert drink in the picture:

•1 oz vodka
•1 oz whipped vodka
•1 oz mixed berry simple syrup
•Splash heavy mixing cream
•Whipped cream for garnish

This drink is fairly straightforward. I took the two vodkas and the simple syrup and shook them over ice with the heavy cream. I made sure to shake it extremely well, as I wanted to water down the mixture as well as make it as frothy as possible. Then I strained the drink over new ice in a rocks glass and topped it with whipped cream.

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Beer & Shot Pairings

Liquor and beer go together quite well, especially in the right combinations.

That was the thought behind this pairing list which I put together recently for the bar where I work in Jamestown, N.Y.

This is just the one side of it. There’s another four pairings on the back.


Here you’ll see three scotches and a rye whiskey, but on the other side are a couple of nice bourbons paired with some of the quality microbrew that we stock. I did a lot of reading (wherever I could find info) about classic pairings and what other bars throughout the country are doing, then just tried to take that info and apply it to what we stock at my bar. I think it came out alright. Or at least, I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor!

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