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Encyclopedia > Arak (distilled beverage)
"Arak Rayan", from Syria.

Arak or araq (Arabic: عرق IPA [ʕaraq], is a clear, colourless, unsweetened aniseed-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink, produced in the eastern Mediterranean countries (and territories) of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq. The word comes from Arabic araq عرق, which also means "sweat". Arak is not to be confused with the similarly named liquor, arrack. Bottle of Arak Rayan taken by Dean Earley This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Bottle of Arak Rayan taken by Dean Earley This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Pimpinella species, but the name anise is frequently applied to Fennel. ... Various distilled beverages in a Spanish bar A distilled beverage is a liquid preparation meant for consumption containing ethyl alcohol (ethanol) purified by distillation from a fermented substance such as fruit, vegetables, or grain. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... The Holy Land or Palestine Showing not only the Old Kingdoms of Judea and Israel but also the 12 Tribes Distinctly, and Confirming Even the Diversity of the Locations of their Ancient Positions and Doing So as the Holy Scriptures Indicate, a geographic map from the studio of Tobiae Conradi... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... SWEAT is an OLN/TSN show hosted by Julie Zwillich that aired in 2003-2004. ... Arrack refers to strong spirits distilled mainly in South and South East Asia from fermented fruits, grains, sugarcane, or the sap of coconuts or other palm trees. ...

Contents

Consumption

Arak with water and ice.

Arak is usually not drunk straight, but is mixed in approximately 1/3 arak to 2/3 water, and ice is then added. This dilution causes the clear liquor to turn an opaque milky-white colour. Arak is also commonly mixed with teas and juices. Drinkers may also take arak with a chaser on the side. Arak is usually served with mezza, which could include dozens of small dishes, which many arak drinkers prefer as accompaniment rather than main courses. When the main course of the meal is served, it may hardly be touched, in favour of these smaller dishes. It is also well appreciated with barbecues, along with garlic sauce. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (709x924, 118 KB) Summary Glass of Arak, Traditional Author: Mica Source: shot by mica Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (709x924, 118 KB) Summary Glass of Arak, Traditional Author: Mica Source: shot by mica Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A chaser can be: A person who chases another person A position played in the fictional Harry Potter sport Quidditch Toyota Chaser, a car The Chaser, an Australian comedy group Chaser (band), an indie/emo band from the United Kingdom Chaser (video game) Captain Chaser, the name of Smoker used... Meze goes well with ouzo/raki   It should be possible to replace this fair use image with a freely licensed one. ...


Tradition requires that water is added before ice, because if ice is added directly it results in the formation of an aesthetically unpleasing skin on the surface of the drink. For the same reason, an arak glass should never be refilled directly after being emptied; a clean glass must be used each time. In restaurants, when a bottle of arak is ordered the waiter will usually bring a number of glasses along with it for this reason.


Preparation

It all begins with the vineyards, and the grapevine quality. The vine should be well mature, usually of a golden colour. The vineyards are not sprinkled, they are left to the care of the Mediterranean climate, natural rain and sun. The grapes are cultivated in late September and October. The grapes are squeezed and put in barrels together with the juice (in Arabic El Mestarr), and left to ferment for three weeks. Occasionally the whole mix is stirred to release the CO2.


Now the first distillation, the goal is to get the alcohol out of the mixture that has fermented for three weeks. The distillation is done using the alembic or el karkeh also al karkeh, made of copper. It's basically three parts. The lower being a container used to boil what's inside (on fire). The middle part collects the vapors coming out of the boiling ingredients. The third part is used to cool the vapor that will be transformed to liquid and collected on its way out, usually in a container of glass. So the mixture of all the fermented and squeezed grapes is put into the lower part and it is boiled at a temperature around 80°C (boiling temperature of alcohol), but below 100°C (boiling temperature of water). The idea is to collect the alcohol in the container without any water. An alembic is an alchemical still consisting of two retorts connected by a tube. ... General Name, Symbol, Number copper, Cu, 29 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d Appearance metallic pinkish red Standard atomic weight 63. ...

Aniseed on wooden table.

Now the second distillation, here is made the actual final product. The alcohol collected in first distillation is to be distilled again but this time mixed with aniseed. The whole alembic is washed to remove all the remains of the precedent distillation. The alcohol and the aniseed are mixed together in the lower part of the karkeh (called in Arabic ddessett). The ratio of alcohol to aniseed may vary, it's one of the major factors of the quality of the final product. Another distillation takes place, usually on the lowest possible temperature. The procedure is very slow. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1573x1261, 656 KB) Summary Aniseed on table author: mica source: photo shot by mica URL: N/A Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1573x1261, 656 KB) Summary Aniseed on table author: mica source: photo shot by mica URL: N/A Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... An alembic is an alchemical still consisting of two retorts connected by a tube. ...


Traditionally a drinking party takes place at the same time. People would gather to help the producer and have a drinking party. This is one of the most prestigious and traditional parties of the Lebanese mountains. It usually takes place in November.


Note: Once the first distillation is done, it's not mandatory to have the second one immediately after.


Variations

One of the basic varieties, considered by many to be the prototypical arak, is distilled from grapes and anise. Numerous varieties of arak are popular in all the countries edging the Mediterranean, and in parts of the Far East. In the Levant, it is distilled from fermented grape juice or, at times, sugar, and is considered by the inhabitants to be greatly superior to similar hard liquors in other countries. The same spirit is called Ouzo in Greece, Mastika in Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria and Rakı (another form of the word arak) in Turkey; they are made from a variety of products like grain, molasses, plums, figs and potatoes. Other similar drinks are the arak of Iraq, made from fermented date juice, and the zibib of Egypt, a peasant-made drink. An Iranian variant, called Aragh-e Sagi (Persian: عرق سگی, literally dog's sweat), is produced without anise, and has a higher alcohol content than other varieties. Further west, along the northern shores of the Mediterranean, the Italian anesone, French pastis and Spanish ojén, served as aperitifs or refreshers, are all sweeter versions of arak. Also, in the Far East, a comparable drink known as arrack, distilled from palm sap or rice, is very popular; in Korea it is known as Soju. It has been suggested that Veraison be merged into this article or section. ... Pimpinella species, but the name anise is frequently applied to Fennel. ... The Levant The Levant (IPA: /lÉ™vænt/) is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ... Concord grapes being cooked down into grape juice for use in making jelly. ... Magnification of grains of sugar, showing their monoclinic hemihedral crystalline structure. ... A small souvenir bottle of ouzo Ouzo (ούζο) is a Greek anise-flavored liqueur that is widely consumed in Greece. ... Greeces Chio Masticha Ouzo and Masticha Liqueur Mastika (Greek: μαστχα; Bulgarian: ) is originally a liquor made from the resin of the Mastic tree, also known as mastic. ... For an explanation of terms related to Macedonia, see Macedonia (terminology). ... Rakı becomes cloudy white, when mixed with water. ... The word grain has several meanings, most being descriptive of a small piece or particle. ... Molasses or treacle is a thick syrup by-product from the processing of the sugarcane or sugar beet into sugar. ... Plum is also a nickname for British humorist P. G. Wodehouse. ... Species About 800, including: Ficus altissima Ficus americana Ficus aurea Ficus benghalensis- Indian Banyan Ficus benjamina- Weeping Fig Ficus broadwayi Ficus carica- Common Fig Ficus citrifolia Ficus coronata Ficus drupacea Ficus elastica Ficus godeffroyi Ficus grenadensis Ficus hartii Ficus lyrata Ficus macbrideii Ficus macrophylla- Moreton Bay Fig Ficus microcarpa- Chinese... Binomial name Solanum tuberosum L. The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a perennial plant of the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family, grown for its starchy tuber. ... Persian (Local names: فارسی Fârsi or پارسی Pârsi)* is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan as well as by minorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... Functional group of an alcohol molecule. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... A glass of diluted pastis French pastis Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40-45% alcohol by volume, although there exist alcohol-free varieties. ... Ojén (pop approx 2000) is a town which sits in the mountains behind Marbella in Andalucia, Southern Spain. ... Arrack refers to strong spirits distilled mainly in South and South East Asia from fermented fruits, grains, sugarcane, or the sap of coconuts or other palm trees. ... Korea (Korean: 한국 in South Korea or ì¡°ì„  in North Korea, see below) is a geographic area, civilization, and former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. ... Soju is an alcoholic beverage with origins in Korea. ...


While arak is extremely popular in Syria, the most prized brands are Lebanese, amongst them Ksara and, most famous of all, Massaya. Many Lebanese drinkers, however, themselves distil their own liquor. The quality of home-made arak (arak baladi) is considered far superior to commercial brands. Some restaurants occasionally serve home-made Arak at a very high price.

Arak from Lebanon.

Many Lebanese towns are well known for their high quality home made Arak, among them Zahle in the Bekaa valley. The best quality can be found in Toula, a village in the Northern Lebanese Mountains. Toula is very well known across the north for its famous home made arak;you can find it in any restaurant in zgharta or ehden two important towns around that area. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 451 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2144 × 2848 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 451 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2144 × 2848 pixel, file size: 1. ... Zahlé (Arabic: زحلة; also transliterated Zahlah or Zahleh) is the capital of Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. ... The Beqaa Beqaa is a governorate in Lebanon with a population of 750,000 inhabitants. ... Zgharta, or Zghorta (زغرتا Arabic) is a large town in North Lebanon, with an estimated population of around 70,000. ... Ehden (اٍهدن in Arabic) is a mountainous town situated in the heart of the northern mountains of Lebanon and on the southwestern slopes of Makmal mountain and Kornet el Sawda, the highest peak of Lebanon. ...


The ABV differs from one version to another, with the most alcoholic reaching 80% or even more. The best quality arak is usually between 53% and 60%; when mixed with water it is diluted to 20-30%. Alcohol by volume (ABV) is an indication of how much alcohol (expressed as a percentage) is included in an alcoholic beverage. ...


History

It is believed that arak was developed by the Jews, Christians and other non-Islamic minorities of the Middle East, particularly in the Levant. Jabir ibn Hayyan, a Muslim alchemist of the early Islamic era, invented the alembic, which facilitated the distillation of alcoholic spirits, the name used in Lebanon is al karkeh or little more formally al kattara. However, Muslims did not use his invention to produce alcoholic beverages since, in Islam, the consumption of alcohol is forbidden. Hence, his discovery was employed to distill perfume from flowers and to produce kohl, a women's eye cosmetic in which a black powder is liquefied, then converted to vapour and allowed to re-solidify. Christianity percentage by country, purple is highest, orange is lowest Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... Jabir ibn Hayyan and Geber were also pen names of an anonymous 14th century Spanish alchemist: see Pseudo-Geber. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... An alembic is an alchemical still consisting of two retorts connected by a tube. ... Laboratory distillation set-up using, without a fractionating column 1: Heat source 2: Still pot 3: Still head 4: Thermometer/Boiling point temperature 5: Condenser 6: Cooling water in 7: Cooling water out 8: Distillate/receiving flask 9: Vacuum/gas inlet 10: Still receiver 11: Heat control 12: Stirrer speed... Kohl may stand for A synonym for a liar and a cheat Kohl (cosmetics), a traditional Middle Eastern cosmetic Kohls, a company that operates department stores located in the United States Kohl is also the name of Bernhard Kohl, a professional cyclist Chantel Kohl Hannelore Kohl, wife of Helmut...


The Arabs carried the art of distilling kohl to Spain from where it spread to the remainder of Europe. In these Christian lands, it took on a much different use: the production of alcoholic drinks. With the utilisation of this method of producing hard spirits, the Arabic name "al-kohl", which became alcohol, was adopted due to the similar method the Arabs used in manufacturing this cosmetic. The words in English relating to the art of distillation, besides alcohol, such as "alchemy", "alchemist", and "alembic" attest to an Arab origin. World map showing the location of Europe. ... Functional group of an alcohol molecule. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...


Traditionally, arak was generally of local or village manufacture, but in the last few decades it has increasingly been produced in large manufacturing plants. It has remained the preference of those who enjoy alcoholic drinks in the Middle East, in competition with the many drinks imported from the West.


See also

Arrack refers to strong spirits distilled mainly in South and South East Asia from fermented fruits, grains, sugarcane, or the sap of coconuts or other palm trees. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Kumis (called airag by the Mongolians), is a traditional drink of the people of Central Asia. ... Flavored liquors are distilled alcoholic beverages with added flavorings. ...

Sources and external links

  • Preparing Arak, in Toula (Lebanon)
  • Wine and Dine e-magazine

 
 

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