The new world brought us Coca Cola; a hydrating concoction of phosphoric acid, sugar, and coloring. I must admit it is a quite refreshing beverage; in an ulcer inducing kind of way.
In Lebanon, well in the Middle East to be more precise, the ultimate thirst quencher is Jallab.
Jallab is two parts. The chilled liquid part is made from a syrup concocted (yes I love the verb concoct and all of its concoctions) from dates, grapes, and rose water. Part two is best described by the waiter at the Phoenicia Hotel that approached me last week and offered me in a heavily accented English, "Would you like nuts in your Jallab, Sir?" I am not ashamed to say that I gladly accepted his proposition for a Jallab is incomplete without a handful of fresh fine nuts. Actually the nut mix will reveal the quality of the Jallab in most cases. If all that's floating in your drink are pistachios and unidentifiable living organisms, then you are a cheap bastard who doesn't want to spend more than a thou on his drink. Pine nuts are a must, so are almonds. Cashew nuts are a bonus, but some raisins should be there for an extra oomph.
There you have Lebanon's most popular drink (after Coke, Pepsi, Coca Cola Light, Diet 7 up, Mirinda, and Starbucks' Grande Mocha Frappo Latte of course).