New drinks to try: Mahia, the Moroccan spirit you never knew existed
World Best Bar
Dec 10, 2018
26 November 2020
But have you ever heard of Mahia?
FoodRepublic says it’s ‘the spirit of Morocco.’ Food&Wine called it the ‘Moroccan-inspired fig spirit you never knew you needed.’ Mahia isn’t new, though. It’s been a well-kept secret for more than 100 years, a recipe that’s been passed through families for generations. For those who are stuck for new drinks to try, it’s the next big thing.
Where can you find Mahia in Morocco? Pretty much nowhere. It was created by the Jewish population, and when they fled, the tradition disappeared into thin air. Years have passed, and this eau de vie is enjoying a new lease of life in an unexpected location…
…Yonkers, New York. In a couple-run distillery called Nahmias et Fils, to be precise. It’s actually the only place in America where Mahia is produced. Co-founder David Nahmias, originally from Morocco, follows a 117-year-old family recipe that he watched his mother use when he was growing up.
What does it taste like?
Mahia is an 80-proof clear brandy made from figs and aniseed. You can definitely taste both flavours, but the aniseed wins the contest. Mixologist Warren Bobrow said that it’s ‘chock-full of roasted figs and exotic anise, bathed in pools of warm sunshine.’ Mahia is a mystery, and it should be on your ‘new drinks to try’ list for this year.
Mix it into a mojito, swap it with a spirit, or whip up one of these cocktails and make those taste buds tingle…
The Marrakesh Fizz
- 1.5 oz Mahia
- 1 oz grilled lemon juice
- 1 oz Grand Marnier
- 3 oz Seltzer
- Orange zest, to taste
- A dash of Angostura bitters
- Fill a glass with crushed ice
- Add the Grand Marnier
- Pour the Mahia over the top
- Add the grilled lemon juice and stir
- Mix in the Seltzer and stir
- Finish with a dusting of orange zest
Fig, Mint & Lime
It’s a Mojito with a twist. It’s simple to make, and the taste is anything but bland.
- Mint leaves
- 0.5 oz syrup
- 1.5 oz Mahia
- 0.5 oz lime juice
- Add 10 mint leaves into a cocktail shaker
- Pour in the syrup
- Press the leaves carefully
- Add the crushed ice, the Mahia, and lime juice
- Shake the mixture and strain into a tall glass
- Add the 2 oz of soda
- Finish with lime and mint to taste
Black, White & Fig
- 1 oz Mahia
- 1 oz lemon juice
- Black pepper & sugar (for glass rim)
- 2 oz apple cider/mulled apple cider
- 3 thin apple slices (for decoration)
- Mix the Mahia, cider and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker
- Add ice and shake well
- Pour the mixture into a glass rimmed with black pepper and sugar
- Add the apple slices for decoration