Although cocktail ingredients are available worldwide, there is one region that doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of Middle East. The Middle East, a region that is more known for its delicious savory and tea-based dishes and spiced foods, also has great ingredients for making amazing drinks. This region has amazing ingredients like dates and aromatic spices that make it a wonderful place to create cocktails.

This region is currently being showcased at a cocktail bar in America. Chez Zou, a New York City-based cocktail lounge, is now leading this exploration. They have created some really creative cocktails. Joey Smith, who was previously a beverage director at The NoMad and EMP Summer House and Booker and Dax, is now Chez Zou, a chic Eastern Mediterranean restaurant. Smith is a champion of Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly from Turkey, Israel and Lebanon. Chez Zou’s drinks are rich in unique ingredients like saffron-infused Gin, cardamon and yogurt. This region is a great place to find potential cocktails ingredients.

Enjoy the Unique Ingredients in Middle Eastern Style Drinks

Chez Zou.

What are the Middle Eastern flavors? Smith says that the Middle Eastern flavors are diverse, with a range of tastes, from sweet to fruity to spicy. The Eastern Mediterranean cuisine is also rich in dried spices and other ingredients. Smith uses all of these ingredients in his cocktail creations, with an emphasis on local fruits such as figs and pomegranates. These cocktails have a playful combination of classic and modern elements.

Chez Zou’s cocktail menu is unique because of the distinctiveness of the native and indigenous ingredients. Grape leaves and even Levantine-cheese-stuffed olives show up in drinks, giving the cocktail a distinct savoriness. Smith suggests Dairy as an important ingredient in Middle Eastern-themed cocktails. Smith takes the classic ayran yogurt drink, which is salty and refreshing, to an entirely new level.

Smith said, “I was inspired by the way that this drink (ayran), was made and combined it with another popular yogurt-based food called tzatziki.” For me, the flavor of tzatziki is usually cucumbers, yogurt, and dill. They usually contain a lot garlic which we decided to omit for consumption. We combined the two and created a white rum with cucumber flavors that complimented our drink.

What to do when you want to balance your cocktail flavors

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Teddy Wolff.

There are many ingredients that can be used to make cocktails. How do you balance them? Smith is a professional cocktail maker with over 10 years of experience. He has lots of knowledge about balancing flavor. Smith’s top tip? Knowing how flavors compliment each other is his best advice. Smith believes that most cocktails can be divided into four primary flavors. This is how cocktail-making can be compared to cooking.

This is possible by understanding your ingredients. This is what balances the flavors of cocktails. It is important to experience these tastes, particularly new ingredients. Particularly important for yogurt, which is a unique ingredient.

Smith said that yogurt has always been a unique source of acidity, resulting from natural bacteria inoculation. It will add some acidity to a cocktail by substituting yogurt. As I have always said, adding it to sour would make the citrus acidic less.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There are always mistakes when using new ingredients. If you are successful, however, it will all be worth it. This recipe is sure to please everyone at your next social event. What’s better than making delicious cocktails?

Sazarak Recipe

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This cocktail is a whiskey-and-cognac mix, with sweet date syrup. The rich, molasses-like taste of this desert fruit gives the cocktail an authentic Middle Eastern flavor.

Prep time: 1 Minute

Total time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1


  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 6 dashes Peychaud’s
  • 1/2 ounce date syrup
  • 1 ounce VS Cognac
  • 1 ounce Strait Rye Whiskey


  1. Mix in the ingredients using a mixer.
  2. In a glass of chilled rocks, strain into the straw and rinse with Arak.
  3. Add a twist of lemon to garnish

Bekka Highball Recipe

img alt=”A highball tall glass of Chez Zou Bekaa Highball.” class=”wp-image-1200277 size-large” onerror=”dti_load_error(this)” src=”×800.jpg”/>

Teddy Wolff

The refreshingly sparkling drink is especially enjoyable when topped with frozen white grapes. Chez Zou carbonates the entire cocktail by blending the drinks and bottled them.

Prep time: one minute

Total time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1


  • 3/4 ounce Calvados
  • 1 ounce Lillet Blanc
  • 2 ounces of white grape juice
  • Champagne 1 Ounce
  • 1 1/2 oz tonic water (Fever Tree).


  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. Use frozen grapes as an alternative to ice in a highball glass.



Middle Eastern cocktails are rich in ingredients like dates, aromatic spices, and grape leaves. The drinks are made with traditional ingredients like yogurt, wine, and gin.


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