Gazoz: The Art of Mak­ing Mag­i­cal, Sea­son­al Sparkling Drinks

  • Review
By – June 2, 2021

From the very first page, Gazoz: The Art of Mak­ing Mag­i­cal, Sea­son­al Sparkling Drinks trans­ports you to author Ben­ny Briga’s 260 square foot, fruity soda-sling­ing kiosk lined with jars of syrups and fer­ments in south­ern Tel Aviv’s live­ly Levin­sky Mar­ket. His self-described postage stamp-sized shop nour­ish­es tourists and locals alike, who flock to Cafe Levin­sky 45 to enjoy a hand­craft­ed, one-of-a-kind soda using Briga’s unique syrups, fer­ments, and fresh herbs.

Just like his shop, this book cel­e­brates Briga’s pas­sion and life­long love of plants, nature, and fer­ments. One part love let­ter to nature, one part sci­ence lab, and one part recipe trea­sure trove, the book high­lights all you need to know to make these fizzy drinks at home. Gazoz is a cor­nu­copia of recipes and approach­es along­side stun­ning pho­tog­ra­phy that brings Briga’s sto­ry­telling and drinks to life.

Gazoz begins with Briga shar­ing his inspi­ra­tion for open­ing his soda shop after clos­ing his restau­rant in Tel Aviv, return­ing to his life­long con­nec­tion to nature. Many of us, includ­ing myself, live in cities,” he explains. But rather than be cut off from nature, if we mere­ly open our eyes to breathe, smell, touch, absorb, and observe, there is beau­ty to be found in plain sight: flow­ers, herbs, and fruit can all be picked and added to a glass of gazoz.” This con­nec­tion dates back to his child­hood, with mem­o­ries of camp­ing trips, pick­ing lemons from trees, and his­Turk­ish Israeli mother’s home­made rose jam.

Briga goes on to share the foun­da­tions of sweet fer­men­ta­tion, includ­ing the process for mak­ing syrups, kom­bucha, and more. He also lays out the pro­ce­dure for assem­bling a glass of gazoz that’s as beau­ti­ful as the ones he serves at his shop. He imparts his wis­dom from years of fer­men­ta­tion, get­ting to know plants, and mix­ing fla­vors to help the read­er under­stand the fun­da­men­tals. Briga’s tone and approach is warm and encour­ag­ing, enabling the read­er to see the pos­si­bil­i­ties with­in the process, instead of stick­ing to a rigid formula.

The major­i­ty of the book is ded­i­cat­ed to gazoz recipes — dozens of them, lay­ered with the syrups and fer­ments out­lined ear­li­er in the book along with fresh fruits and herbs. The recipes are divid­ed into sec­tions on cit­rus, flo­ral, veg­etable, and even milk­shake gazoz recipes like Hal­va Gazoz, among oth­ers, each with a pho­to that makes you want to reach onto the page and take a sip.

Gazoz bal­ances the joy of home­made fer­men­ta­tion, the love of plants, and beau­ty wrapped up in sodas that will make you feel equal­ly as much of an artist as a chemist and a botanist. As Briga points out, There are no incor­rect’ gazoz, only new recipes wait­ing to be created.”

Gazoz is co-authored with Adeena Suss­man, author of Saba­ba.

Sara Wein­reb is an herbal­ist, free­lance writer, and busi­ness strate­gist based in Den­ver, Col­orado. She is the founder of IMBY, a vir­tu­al com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter for peo­ple who care about co-cre­at­ing a more just and equi­table future. Her writ­ing has been pub­lished by healthy­ish, Forbes, USA Today, chowhound, and mind­body­green, amongst oth­ers. When she’s not writ­ing and shop­ping in the bulk sec­tion of health food stores, you can often find Sara mak­ing herbal elixirs, singing karaoke, and attempt­ing to keep alive her grow­ing col­lec­tion of plants.

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