In Brazil you have cachaça, in Russia you have vodka, in the Caribbean you have rum, and in Israel, you have Arak.
Arak (uh-rock or ar-ick if you’re trying to have an accent) is a member of the anis drink family, and tastes (as some of you more seasoned drinkers may have guessed) like black licorice (a much less viscous Jägermeister). I never quite got the name of the brand pictured here, but it is the staple, cheap brand that goes informally by the name “that bottle with the deer on it”. A bottle of this stuff will cost you around 30 NIS and at 40% alcohol it can do a good bit of damage for the money.
Arak and grapefruit juice is the typical mix you will find this drink in (not good at all in my opinion), but it can also be taken as a shot or a chaser.
Shots vs. Chasers
Wait. What do you mean by a chaser? I know, right? Allow me to explain. In Israel, two distinct sizes exist for the consumption of straight liquor: a shot and a chaser. A shot represents what you would expect a shot to be, while a chaser is a slightly smaller version of a shot (instead of whatever liquid you choose to drink after you take your shot).
Overall, arak is one of those things you must try, but will ultimately not fall in love with (like salvia). So don’t leave Israel without drinking some of that deer anis.