A Stay at Home Original, The Beirut Cocktail: Scotch, Arak, Tea, Sugar, Lemon

When I think of drinks and the Middle East, I think of tea and arak, the anise-flavored liquor that tastes and louches like absinthe. Today, I was sick, so I wanted a hot toddy, but it was too hot out, so I wanted a cold toddy. Well, that got complicated, so I just made some tea and then made a cocktail.

And the Beirut Cocktail was born. You see, my friend from Beirut brought me a couple of bottles of arak back from Lebanon when he came to visit. He wanted to get some for me, so he went to his local liquor store in Beirut and asked for the best arak the guy had. “Well, the best arak comes from my hometown!” the guy told him. So he went in the back of the store and brought out two unmarked bottles. And now I have them.

To make the Beirut Cocktail, you need to make some tea. I used the Zen green tea from Tazo. It’s a mixture of green tea with lemongrass and spearmint. Once you get that made, cool it.

For the Beirut Cocktail, build in a large glass:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Johnny Walker Double Black scotch
  • 3/4 oz arak
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4 1/2 oz Zen green tea
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Pour in a bunch of ice and stir.

It’s like a cold toddy. Citrus and sweet, and it cures that head cold that has been doing a number on you. Or at least it seems to with me.

By the way, if you don’t have any arak, you may be able to substitute Herbsaint or an absinthe. It’s just a little anise flavor in a rather large drink, so the way you get the anise may be up to you.

7 thoughts on “A Stay at Home Original, The Beirut Cocktail: Scotch, Arak, Tea, Sugar, Lemon”

    1. Ah, the Pharaoh’s Phreedom. Our ode to the Arab Spring. I don’t even remember what we put in it. I remember it had a whole mango and some scotch, but that’s about it.

    1. Nice. The double black is a little smokier than the standard Johnny Walker. And any tea will work. Even the ubiquitous Middle Eastern mint tea will work, I’m sure.

      Say “Hi!” to Mr. Baladiyeh!

      1. Mr. Baladiyeh’s eyes lit up when I asked for the Arak Baladiyeh. And he took $3.33 off the Double Black. I went with plain green tea as they didn’t have mint, but I’m not a big fan of mint anyway because they put it in everything here.

        Cool, refreshing, tasty but not overpowering citrus, pleasant sweetness, and the Middle Eastern flair of anise. Don’t sip it, gulp it.

        I made a double batch, and the family is all in bed, so time to go back for seconds.

        1. Sweet! Glad you got to get some more from the guy. It really is much better than the other arak I have.


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