“Hipster” drinks these days seem to be more about unlikely craft beer flavors or 40 oz bottles of rosé than new types of liquor. But last summer, young people in Tel Aviv went crazy for something called Tubi 60, a cloudy, yellow beverage that reportedly tastes like limoncello mixed with ginger – though one reviewer wrote that it tasted like paint stripper mixed with a hint of lemongrass, so tread lightly. At 38% ABV, this beverage is not messing around.
Though it rose to popularity last year, Tubi 60 was actually invented in 2012 by two brothers who wanted a drink that tasted good, was extra smooth, and would give consumers a happy buzz. The bottle quite discreetly states that it’s made from high-quality alcohol, lemon juice, and spices, and some speculate one of said “spices” is African khat, a plant that acts as a natural stimulant, counteracting the usual depressant of alcohol with alertness and energy. The other spices include more standard ingredients like ginger, mint, anise, turmeric, and cumin. An English translation of the label also reads that this liquor is “specially designed for a refreshing, uplifting, and pleasurable experience.” So, like, the opposite of tequila?
CEO and co-founder Hilal Tubi told Munchies that while they’re flattered people have had such a great response to the liquor’s effects, there is “no khat or anything like it in the ingredients. Tubi has been certified and approved by the Israeli Ministry of Health since day one, this all the ingredients in Tubi are compliant with the Israeli, European, and US standards.” Hilal and his brother, Yanai, originally marketed their product via Facebook and Twitter, resulting in an in-demand product that Israeli hipsters grew to love.
Thanks to its “superior taste,” Tubi 60 makes an excellent shot, but it’s also great poured over ice or mixed with sparkling water. Kuli Alma, a nightclub in Tel Aviv, turns the liquor into specialty cocktails and syrupy slushies. Hilal says that he and his brother spent a lot of time consulting with master distillers and fine-tuning the taste before coming up with the final formula, and he recommends mixing it with mango or pineapple juice in the summer, or stirring it into hot tea with cinnamon and honey in the winter.
The brand recently announced plans to expand distribution to the United States, beginning with Texas and New York. Dare we say this will be the drink of summer 2017?