Feeling hot and sweaty? It’s definitely time for a drink, because this is the season for guzzling whatever’s tall and cool, with a hefty dose of ice thrown in for good measure.
Despite the fact that Israel didn’t catch on to the wonders of ice for many years, we’re catching up now for lost time and have perfected the use of it in many a chilled drink. There’s the use of crushed ice in a limonana, a frothy blend of lemonade and fresh mint, or when mixed in with a hefty dose of espresso and a dollop of milk.
But those are icy drinks of long-standing familiarity. We’re sending you on a cold-drink tour of Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Market and Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. With this guideline, you’ll be able to find the right kind of cold drinks wherever you go.
1) Levinsky Market, the latest outdoor market made popular by local chefs searching out hard-to-find spices and dried fruit and nuts, is also chock-full of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cafes. Most have been here for decades, run by generations of the same families, but some of the newer locations are also worth a stop. The two we’re going to point out are Café Levinsky (41 Levinsky Street), where the group of owners create singularly refreshing drinks of gazoz — soda-water drinks mixed with homemade fruit syrups.
The syrups, housed in glass jars that line the shelves of the narrow kiosk, are made from fruits of recent and current seasons, including apricots and cherries, mulberries and pears, and then mixed into a cocktail with sprigs of fresh herbs as a different kind of swizzle stick. The result? The most refreshing of beverages. Cafe Levinsky, 41 Levinsky, Levinsky Market, Tel Aviv.
2) Once you’ve hydrated, head to Cafe Kaimak, a vegan cafe also on Levinsky, where the offerings of bulgur salad and hummus are best when paired with another form of gazoz, this time a combination of soda water, syrup (leaning more toward the more typical choices of pineapple, ginger and passion fruit), and a healthy slug of arak, served up in a tall, cold glass. You may not be able to pick out spices so well after this dose of midday arak, but you’ll feel great. Cafe Kaimak, 49 Levinsky Street, Levinsky Market, Tel Aviv.
3) That midday tipple calls for a boost of caffeine in order to offset its effects. Walk on over, without wilting, to Cafelix, where the quaint charms of the American Colony (a four-block neighborhood of several wooden clapboard homes and a church, founded by Christian pilgrims from Maine, and also home to the Maskit studio) meet Mit’ham Noga, or the Noga Compound, another teeny-tiny enclave adjoining Jaffa. Prepare to be charmed by the wooden shelves holding regular customers’ coffee cups identified by name. But it’s the coffee that stands out, freshly roasted and ground, made into aromatic cups of espresso or cold brewed as iced coffee. If you’re with the kids, there’s a small playground just across from the coffee shop; you drink, they play. Cafelix, 15 Segula Street, Noga Compound and at 23 Yonatan Hasandlar.
4) Jerusalemites should know they also can drink Cafelix’s shots of espressos and Chemex cold brews at the Cafelix in Mahane Yehuda, where Mahane Yehuda Street (the covered part of the market) meets Ha’afarsek Street. The baked goods are worth a taste, too. Cafelix, 20 Ha’afarsek, Mahane Yehuda Market.
5) And while we’re in Jerusalem, let’s tackle the shuk’s beverage offerings. There are multiple juice offerings at Uzi Eli, freshly squeezed from fruits in season (quince and citron, anyone?) with a focus on the natural benefits of each juice, such as lowering blood pressure, boosting energy, or offering calming elements. The owner also makes personalized combinations, depending on what your body needs, or what he thinks you need. It pays to listen; he knows what he’s talking about.
Pasta Basta, just across the way, always has a huge jar of brewed iced tea on hand, often fruity in flavor and always refreshing on a wiltingly hot summer day. At Fishenchips, next to Uzi Eli and across from Pasta Basta, there are local beers, including Alexander, which is not often available on tap; it’s a perfect accompaniment to some panko-covered tuna and chips, right out of the fryer.
Drinks and salty treats: the perfect combo, no?