The White Distillery, a Mississauga company based in the city’s Rathwood neighbourhood, has something exotic to offer to those who’d like to venture out of the beer-and-wine North American convention:  Arak, the traditional alcoholic beverage of the Eastern Mediterranean.

And they will go out of their way to bring this first-ever-in-North-America hand-distilled Arak to you.  Literally.  They will actually come to your event, and entertain your guests with some awesome cocktail-making using their Dayaa Arak or their other alcoholic beverage brands.

The White Distillery produces a line of Eastern Mediterranean spirits at their facility in Mississauga. Their Dayaa Arak is made in the Syrian or Lebanese style:  50 per cent alcohol anise-flavoured grape spirit, with a hint of liquorice and basil.  Strong and bracing, it is best cut with water.

And that’s where some of the entertainment value of their arak tasting comes in:  when water is added, the transparent beverage turns cloudy white.  The so called “ouzo effect” is likely to prompt “oohs” and “ahhs” from your guests!

But even with water, arak may be a challenge to unaccustomed palates, so cocktails are a great option.  The White Distillery tasting hosts can create a few interesting concoctions at your event, such as one blended with a fruit known as a sugar apple, custard apple, or sweetsop in English—with honey syrup, orange blossom water, lemon juice and mint.

This Mississauga’s company’s flagship product is Dayaa Arak, but they have also developed other brands.  Like Phoenix Vodka, distilled in copper pot from corn, or Pastis du Hameau, handcrafted by distilling grape spirit with 25 botanicals and Canadian maple syrup.  For an event with ten or 20 guests, tastings can be booked via email at

Italy has its grappa, Jamaica has its rum, and Japan has its shochu.  Arak has been enjoyed for many centuries all over the Eastern Mediterranean.  But while White Distillery’s spirits are crafted by following a collection of handwritten authentic recipes from that region, they are made using local fruits, grains, botanicals, and spices.  How emblematic of the underlying spirit of City of Mississauga!