Aviv Shakori first mixes a yellow cocktail. She then makes another one in an amazing green hue, followed by a red one. It’s been two years since I had a real drink, since for me drinking is a refuge from bad decisions. But in her skilled hands, the alcohol conveys nothing but happiness. As Shakori mixes drinks, she looks happy and relaxed. It’s when she sits down on the couch to rest that she tenses up. For her, mixing drinks is a positive escape, the way cooking is for me.
Shakori is the owner of Vivian, a popup bar in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market, where her cocktails are the centerpiece. Unlike a typical restaurant, here drinks take precedence over food: The customer comes to drink and the food completes the experience.
Shakori gathers ingredients from the adjacent market (on days when it’s open) and uses them to prepare aromatic syrups that perfume her drinks. Restaurants, cafes and bars may still be closed to customers, but that isn’t stopping Israelis from drinking. In fact, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a steep rise in alcohol consumption, mainly of wine, but not only: Home deliveries of cocktails have also been on the rise, with such initiatives founding an enthusiastic audience.
Shakori suggests mixing cocktails at home that will make you smile, whose color will light up your living room and bring a bit of cheer between the lockdown and yet another election. For her, drinks are the way to our hearts. So mix, shake and enjoy!
Aperol with ripe strawberries and geranium
You know that package of strawberries you bought but didn’t finish and now you either have to make jam with the rest or toss them? Well, I’m not that into jam and I don’t like throwing things out.
- The restaurants in Israel that flourished during the pandemic
- COVID shut down their world. So Etgar Keret and Inbal Pinto created a new one
- Experts say COVID vaccine will not bring Israel back to normal anytime soon. So, what's next?
4 ripe strawberries
½ liter Aperol
2 lemon geranium leaves
Dry cava or Prosecco
Sparkling water (optional)
Place the Aperol in a jar with the mashed strawberries and lemon geranium leaves, close and let sit overnight. Strain into a pitcher.
Fill a wine glass with ice. Fill 1/3 of the glass with Aperol and 2/3 with cava or Prosecco. You can add a little sparkling water if you like. Mix gently and garnish with strawberries and fresh geranium leaves (I also add clementine peel).
Gin with lots of green
A refreshing version of the familiar gin and cucumber combo with a touch of lemon and other seasonings. Advisable to make a large pitcher for any time of day in any weather.
1 bottle of gin
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 kilo sugar
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp dried lemongrass
3 celery stalks
3 basil leaves
Juice of ½ lemon
Put the lemongrass inside the bottle of gin and let sit for at least a day.
Prepare a simple syrup of 1:1 water and sugar (you can also make a more complex syrup): Boil the water in a pot, add the sugar, stir until it dissolves. Add the ground coriander seeds and dried lemongrass, bring to a boil again and then set aside to cool.
In a blender, prepare green juice – using 2-3 celery stalks and 2-3 basil leaves for every cucumber – and strain through a fine sieve.
Mix the following in a pitcher with a little ice:
1 part gin
1 part green juice
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ spiced syrup
Pour into glasses with ice, garnish with celery leaves and basil leaves and go wild!
Moscow Mule-inspired cocktail
A combination I’ve found that works wonderfully together is ginger and hyssop (za’atar or oregano). You can also try it in tea – you won’t regret it.
1 liter water
1 kilo sugar
50 ml vodka
20 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 ml ginger syrup
Hyssop (za’atar or oregano)
For the ginger syrup: Pulse the ginger in a blender and add to a pot of boiling water. Mix well and add the sugar (use a 1:1 ratio). Cool and then strain. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. In a shaker (recommended but not necessary), crush a handful of fresh ginger cubes and some za’atar leaves. Add 50 ml vodka, 20 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 5 ml ginger syrup and ice and shake well. Strain into a glass of ice (I like to leave a little of the residue so I don’t use a very fine strainer here).
Mix in a little tonic water. Garnish with za’atar and fresh ginger.