Sipping Arak at Lebanese Taverna

Friday night, Amie and I had some time to kill before seeing a movie in Harbor East, so we decided to slip into Lebanese Taverna.

After scanning the drink list, I went with a serving of Arak (pictured). I'd never had the Middle Eastern anise-flavored alcohol before, but as you know, I'm always game to try new things.

The presentation was arresting: A metal tray with a small glass carafe of Arak, a little glass pitcher of water and a metal ice bucket. It looked like a lot just for one drink.

Arak is a clear liquor that turns milky white when you add water. It's typically served on ice and cut with water.

Our helpful server poured some Arak into a small glass for me and dropped in a few ice cubes. Slowly, the Arak began to turn white. Yikes stripes! I felt like an amateur chemist ...

Then I took a swig. Remember those big rolls of black string licorice you saw/ate as a kid? Arak tasted just like a mouthful of that. Two mouthfuls. It was intense -- my mouth could barely handle it. Ditto for my liver. Adding water did little to dampen the flavor. I was still burping up licorice hours later. Gack!

It wasn't easy, but I finished the generous serving. Our waiter said it was 100 percent alcohol, which may or may not be true, but I'm inclined to believe it. I was woozy after one serving. A sizable serving, but one serving nonetheless.

I can't say I'm eager for another round of Arak, but I'm glad I tried it. 

(Photo by me)

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