Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls

Cool, Fruity, Bubbly Gazoz

Rachel and I have been inspired to become mixologists and make Gazoz for our social gatherings, only we add a bit of liquor to add to the fun!



When we went back to visit Israel in September 1973, everything was different from what I knew of life in Sydney, Australia.

The change from the soft drawn out drawl of Aussie English to the loud excitable singsong of Hebrew.

The existential change from a country with no shared borders to a land filled with young soldiers in khaki uniforms armed with big black Uzi rifles.

A change from wallpapered and carpeted homes with large flowering gardens to apartments with cool tiled floors covered in Persian rugs surrounded by small patches of red dirt yards.

We were amazed by the supermarkets. Supermarkets that greeted your arrival with a cloying sweet melon aroma, then followed up with the intoxicating smell of freshly baked bread. Supermarkets that boasted the slightly jarring sight of unsuspecting fish swimming in a tank, waiting to be chosen for someone’s dinner.

We were amazed by the Shuks, the open air markets with their mounds of Jaffa oranges and bright red pomegranates, the plethora of creamy cheeses and olives and pickles and salted herring and many barrels of brightly colored pungent spices.

My brother Rafi and I quickly adapted to eating Crembo, Bissli, Bamba and sweet pudding cups. We chewed Bazooka like pros. We got used to great aunts serving us sweet tea in little glasses. And in every kitchen that you entered there was a canister with a nozzle, a soda siphon that dispensed a fizzy water.

This fizzy water was often mixed with brightly colored sweet syrups with flavors like grape, orange and ‘petel’ raspberry and was known as Gazoz.

Tel Aviv’s first gazoz kiosk opened in 1911 on Rothschild Boulevard and just grew in popularity from there—it was the perfect drink for Israel’s hot climate.

The current nostalgia for gazoz comes from Benny Briga and Adeena Sussman’s latest book called Gazoz, which takes it’s inspiration from Briga’s wildly successful Cafe Levinksky 41. The shop has walls lined with glass jars of fruits and herbs in various stages of fermentation. The selection of drinks is dictated by the season, with syrups and macerated fruits topped with seltzer and lots of fresh flowers and herbs.

Rachel and I have been inspired to become mixologists and make Gazoz for our social gatherings, only we add a bit of liquor to add to the fun!

With or without alcohol, this fruity drink has all the cool moves.

L’Chaim!

Raspberry Peach Gazoz

1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Ice cubes
10 oz raspberries
10 oz strawberries
2 peaches, sliced
1 large apple, sliced
2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup ouzo, white rum, tequila, or vodka
1 liter seltzer
1 bunch mint
Fresh lavender, any beautiful herbs or flowers from your garden

Prep:

Raspberry syrup: In a glass jar or container, add 1 cup raspberries and ¼ cup sugar,

Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined, breaking down most of the berries.

Refrigerate for 1-2 days.

Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan, heat water over medium low heat, then add sugar.

Stir well, until sugar has completely dissolved, then refrigerate for at least one hour.

Assembly:

In a pitcher, pour the raspberry syrup.

Add peaches, apples, raspberries, and ginger.

Add simple syrup and rum(optional) and stir.

Add ice and seltzer and stir.

Pour drink into glasses and garnish with fresh mint and lavender.

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