The word “julep” is traced to the Persian word golâb, which means rosewater, and used to define a sweet, medicinal drink before it became a type of cocktail.
The Seyhan is a river in Turkey that flows into the Mediterranean Sea, and which Demario Wallace, beverage director of the Oliva Restaurant Group based in Atlanta, said was used in ancient times to transport ice from the mountains, which, among other things, was then shaved and topped with syrups, fermented fruit, rosewater, etc.
Put that all together and you have the Seyhan Relief, a julep-like beverage at the modern Israeli restaurant Aziza, which means “happiness” in Arabic.
At another modern Israeli restaurant, Branja in Miami, chef Tom Aviv makes a seafood version of shawarma by combining three types of fish to make sure he gets the fat content right.
Ilili is a modern Lebanese restaurant with locations in New York City and Washington, D.C., and at the D.C. location charred octopus is enjoyed with a condiment with Syrian origins, muhammara.
In New York City at Wau, named for a Malaysian ceremonial kite, young coconut stands in for squid in a dish resembling fried calamari, and in Houston, at the Indian restaurant Musaafer, cocktail-filled chocolate bonbons are offered as a treat to take home.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]