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So what was that drink that took out Dr. LoveSexy the night before the wedding in Jordan, and gave him a big hangover the next day?

Arak is a well-known, anise-flavored spirit distilled from grapes that is consumed all over the Middle East. It is usually accompanied with food, just as it was with the fine open-air mezze dinner on the shores of the Dead Sea. The drink does a great job of clearing the palate, even better than wine.


A lot more on how it is made can be found here in this Wiki piece. This Economist article from 2003 goes on about the history of the drink, the Arab invention of distillation, and other drinks related to Levantine arak like pastis, ouzo, sambuca, raki, mastika, and absinthe, and others. Note the arak in the Middle East, should not be confused with the drink of similar name arrack (and sometimes even the same spelling) in South East Asia that is NOT related at all, has no anise in it, and is coconut, sugarcane, or grain derived.

The process by which this clear spirit turns cloudy white when it is mixed with water is called louching. Basically, the anise oil which is colorless in the alcohol, emulsifies when the water is added, and presto, the drink transforms to its milky color as this short video shows.


Arak is usually served in a shorter glass with some ice already  in it, and mixed with water thereafter, in a 1:2 ratio.


Maybe it wasn’t just the arak that knocked things out of the box for Dr. LoveSexy, but perhaps the combination of beer, sucking on the hookah / shisha pipe, and any other alcohol that, collectively in combination, may have been the culprit for his hangover the next day and putting him in need of some serious greasy food as a cure. In any event, right or wrong, as a scapegoat perhaps, I claimed that "Haddad haddid him in."

The brand being consumed by all that night was Haddad, a local Jordanian brand made by Eagle Distilleries Co. that was established in 1953, and one of the first companies in the country (number three actually) licensed to manufacture alcohol.


When you’re some single guy hitting weddings all over the world, it pays to be open, flexible and chillaxed about the food and drink going down around you. It’s all part of the fun and experience of different cultures and traditions.

In any event, no matter where you are, or what you are drinking, it’s all about the "Cheers!" or fe sahetek / fi sahitak in Arabic [say Figh sa hee' tik], or literally "to your health." This handy table lists the greeting in 60 languages.