Feeling the heat? Cool down with these refreshingly Tel Avivian summer drinks

Ice tea

Summer in Tel Aviv can be brutal, but luckily the city’s well geared for cooling you off in style. Juices, iced drinks, breezy cocktails and exotic Middle Eastern concoctions are always available to quench your thirst and put a smile on your face. At least temporarily. Here are DIY Tel Aviv’s current favourites.

Nitro coffee at Cafelix

Nitro coffee
The coffee and the tap it came out of

Local roasters Cafelix are fully geared for summer with ice coffee, cold drip coffee and iced espresso all on offer at their three intimate Tel Aviv branches.  The piece de resistance, though, is undoubtedly their nitro coffee – an iced coffee that comes out of a tap and looks a lot like a glass of Guinness extra cold  (including the creamy head and gradual darkening).

Nitro coffee is cold-brewed first and then infused with nitrogen gas. Each small batch takes around 72 hours to make. The resulting drink is so creamy and smooth, it looks and feels like it contains milk, when in fact, it’s actually strong, black coffee, similar to an Americano.


Persian lemon cocktail at Zakaim

Persian lemon cocktail

The drinks menu at romantic vegan restaurant, Zakaim, is full of well-crafted locally inspired drinks, but this exotic Persian gin cocktail has a whole East meets West sophistication going for it.

With both fresh lemon and dried Persian lemon it’s wonderfully refreshing in every way. Persian lemon is most commonly used for cooking, so this is an unusual addition even for locals.

If lemon is not your thing, you can enjoy rose water and cucumber Persian soda, as well as a range of classic cocktails with a distinct Middle Eastern twist.


Lemonade at Miznon Getzel

Summer fruit lemonade (front) and Jungle Juice

Tel Aviv’s happiest cafe, Miznon Getzel, has a constantly changing menu of unusual homemade cold drinks, with plenty of delicious options in the extended lemonade family. Permanent offerings include a fizzy summer fruit lemonade and “jungle juice” a tropical concoction of pineapple, orange juice and fizz. There’s also real purple lavender lemonade. Another interesting summer drink is the “pink latte”, that is served like coffee but actually tastes more like dessert.

This place keeps coming up with all kinds of unique drinks, so it’s worth checking periodically to see what’s new on the menu. There’s bound to be something strange and tasty you won’t have seen anywhere else in town.

Etrogat Juice at Uzi-Eli’s

Etrogat juice in its natural habitatKnown as “the citron man”, Uzi-Eli opened his first juice stall in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market and now has a line of both traditional juice “potions” and natural skin care products. His Tel Aviv stall at the Allenby entrance to the Carmel Market offers a wide selection of unusual drinks inspired by traditional Jewish herbal medicine. His most famous creation is without doubt the green “Etrogat” – fresh juice made out of citron and khat leaves (known as gat locally). Khat leaves are perfectly legal in Israel and give you a mild buzz, similar to a good cup of coffee. Mixed with citron, this is a beautifully refreshing drink that has the added benefit of clearing your head and improving your mood.


Falooda in Levinsky Market

Random falooda photo by Stu Spivack @ Wikimedia

This traditional  dessert drink originated in Persia. It’s made with crushed ice, vermicelli and rose water and is about as strange and wonderful as it sounds. It’s available sparingly in Tel Aviv, but is well worth the effort to find. The best place to try it in Tel Aviv is Levinsky Market, from Hobian’s at number 38, where it’s available only from around May-October.

Connoisseurs flock here from all over the city to get a cup, while those who are not in the know are likely to miss it completely, as the store actually sells mostly dried fruit, nuts and condiments.

Unfortunately, Hobian’s store has recently suffered a fire (hence the generic falooda pictured here), but they will be back this week (first week in July) and will need your money more than ever. In the meantime, you may be able to get some from the juice stall at number 32. Otherwise, some ice cream places on Allenby offer mediocre versions.

Natural soda pop (gazoz) at Cafe Levinsky

GazozNot all soda pops (“gazoz” in Hebrew) are created equal. This hole-in-the-wall cafe at Levinsky 41 offers a selection of decadent flavoured gazoz made with fresh fruit, fresh herbs and a selection of homemade, 100% natural fruit preserves. Think of it less as soda and more as a full-on drink experience where each drink is an artistic, one of a kind creation you can both eat and drink (you get both a spoon and a straw with your soda).

In fact, the best way to sample this wonder of modern soda-making is to let your server surprise you with their own combination of flavours, which you can walk away with or drink sitting in the adjacent pick-up truck that serves as a seating area.


Rozeta (pretty much anywhere)

This sweet, milky almond cordial hails from Libya and Tunisia but has become a Tel Aviv (and Israel) staple, especially during the summer. It’s sort of translucent white in appearance when mixed with water.

Rozeta is available all over Tel Aviv, from basic versions at stalls in the Carmel Market (where it’s sold alongside lemonade) to slightly fancier versions served in various cafes with fresh mint and still or soda water.

It’s also a popular summer cocktail mixer, paired with arak and served on ice with fresh mint.

Bottles of the syrup (pictured here) are also readily available in both Carmel Market and Levinsky Market, so you can mix your own drinks at home.

Although usually made with plenty of sugar (or worse – artificial sweetener), rozeta comes with all kinds of unsubstantiated health claims. The most amusing one is that the drink is good for increasing sperm count, which is probably more to do with the syrup’s appearance than any actual medicinal properties.


Get the full list of awesome places to cool down in this summer by getting the DIY Tel Aviv city guide.  You can download it from this site or buy the Kindle version or paperback from Amazon.