EL Massaya means the dusk and in the Bekaa, the sky at dusk is the same dark blue that is found on our traditional Lebanese arak bottles. We select exclusively the finest white juice-filled Obeidi grapes, the product of local indigenous vines, ideal for the making of arak. The better the wine, the better the arak. Our on-site oenologist conducts a fermentation of about 15 days, combining 21st century technology with traditional methods. The Obeidi juice is thus transformed into wine. The first distillation (eight hours) creates the gift of alcohol, the second (eight hours) removes impurities and leaves the “heart” of the alcohol or “coeur de chauffe”, while the third (twenty four hours) gives the arak its purity and distinction. We combine the third distillation with the maceration of the very best green organic aniseed from the village of Hineh on the Syrian slopes of Mount Hermon. We then collect the non-aged arak in traditional clay amphoraes specially commissioned from the potters of the Mount Lebanon village of Beit Chebab. These are just porous enough to absorb some of the liquid and allow it to breathe. During this crucial resting period that lasts many months, a portion of the alcohol, “la part des anges”, evaporates and the clay lends a faint golden clarity to the matured arak that will bear the name of “El Massaya Arak”.
With food, arak cleans the palate, while the aniseed helps digestion. Often served cold (ice should be added last, after the 1/3 to 2/3 arak/water mixture) during outdoor summer lunches, arak is the perfect acompaniment to the Mezze (an array of small tasting dishes).