In Israel, mixologists are bringing back a nostalgic summer sipper called Gazoz.
Back in the early 20th century, a glass of gazoz was a simple drink made up of soda water mixed with sweet fruit syrup. Recently, however, Tel Aviv’s Benny Briga helped revive and update the almost forgotten beverage, keeping the soda and injecting the drink with fresh flavors from seasonal ingredients.
Gazoz is a flavored fizzy water geared toward quenching summer thirsts. Depending on what’s seasonally available, contemporary gazoz might feature a mix of fruit, herbs, spices, and homemade tinctures. By marrying partially fermented berries, citrus fruits, apples or other fruits with vinegar, you first make the shrub (not the bush). This and other flavorings like ginger, cardamom, chili pepper, or juniper form the base of the drink, displaying an array of organic pigments through the added soda water.
Today’s gazoz are made more attractive by the fresh herbs placed atop the mixture, blossoming from the glass like a bouquet. It barely resembles the old version anymore, yet to the nostalgic, it still provides a satisfying sip of the past.
To try it in the states (since going to Tel Aviv is out of the question for most of us), it’s available at the Studio at Freehand New York. 23 Lexington Ave., New York, New York 10010.