Arak is a traditional Lebanese alcoholic drink that is usually consumed with mezze plates.
It is distilled from grapevines and fermented in barrels for three weeks.
Anise is added during the second of three distillation processes. The ratio of anise to alcohol can vary, which leads to different qualities.
Arak is usually made from Obeidi or Merwah grapes, the indigenous grape varieties of Lebanon.
Arak is particularly high in alcohol, so water and ice are almost always added to dilute it. It takes on a milky white color when water is added.
Arak is comparable to the Greek ouzo or the Turkish raki, which are also grape-based drinks with the liquorice-like taste of anise. Lebanese say arak is milder and more velvety.
In Lebanon and Syria, Arak is an indivisible part of identity.
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