The Milk Of Lions – A History Of Alcohol In The Middle East
Joseph El Asmar
Alcohol has been around for almost as long as man has. This book tells the story of alcoholic drinks in the Middle East region across the ages and follows the communities that have adopted them as part of their national identities. It explores the various cultural and religious attitudes regarding alcohol, with an emphasis on the production of Lebanon’s national drink, Araq.
Araq – or its sister spirits, pastis, raki, sambucca, mastika, and charteuse to name just a few – traces its origins back to the very earliest distilled alcohol, in the fertile crescent that skirts the eastern end of the Mediterranean. Often known to the Lebanese as the Milk of Lions, it sits at centre table in day to day life.
Broader than simply a study of the region’s favourite digestif, this volume encompasses the general history of alcohol across the Middle East region, from early brewers in Pharaonic Egypt, through to the wine poets of the Abbasid courts and on to its popularity today. Written by an author with long personal experience of fine distilling, this fascinating account encompasses the details of how it is made and conducts an exploration of cultural references in literature and society today.
An essential companion for any one who enjoys the magical milky swirl of iced water hitting aniseed liqueur, this volume celebrates the cherished drink from its earliest discovery through to its undiminished popularity today.