“So is this really not a bar? I really thought it was,” says a perplexed man sporting salt-and-pepper hair and a faded maroon shirt. He was walking around the neighborhood with his wife and young child, who sat patiently in the stroller as he made his inquiry.
It’s not hard to see why the man was confused as he walked by the Republic of Booza, a bright new storefront on a quiet corner in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. While the shop does not sell any booze, it does sell booza, an ice cream style born in the Levant.
What sets booza apart from other ice cream styles -- besides its playful name -- is the fact that it is stretchy. Like, pulling on a rubber band or a mozzarella-stick-fresh-from-the-fryer stretchy. If yoga was a dessert, booza would be it. For the most part, booza is made with standard ice cream ingredients like milk, cream, and various flavorings, though it does not contain any egg. The base does get mixed with salep and mastic, however. “Salep is a flour traditionally made from orchid root, and mastic is a resin that comes from the mastic tree in Greece,” explains Michael Sadler, one of the co-orders of Republic of Booza. These are the two ingredients that give booza its signature stretch. It similar to dondurma, a style of ice cream from Turkey that is equally as stretchy.