Chances are good that you’ve never heard of mahia, the fig brandy of Morocco. In fact, maybe you didn’t think Morocco, being a majority Muslim country, had any sort of alcohol. It does. But since Muslims are forbidden from producing alcohol there, it’s traditionally been the Jewish families who’ve made the mahia. They’ve done it for centuries. Descendants of one of these families is now distilling mahia in Yonkers, New York under the brand name Nahmias et Fils. They are, so far, the only producer of mahia in the US.
I’m not certain whether Marrakesh in Costa Mesa uses Nahmias et Fils’ mahia to make the cocktail the restaurant calls Agadir Dunes, but since it’s the only mahia available in the county, it’s likely they do. For sure it’s the only drink you should order. Every other cocktail on the menu are merely rearrangements of vodka and off-the-shelf fruit liquors. Only the Agadir Dunes features mahia.
For the drink, the 80-proof spirit is paired with sweet vermouth and served over ice. If there was a Western equivalent in flavor, it’d be Maker’s Mark, but with a subtle undercurrent of sticky sweet fig and the warmth of anise at the back end. Sip it in between bites of Marrakesh’s food, but especially the spicier stews, which complements it well. Then, once you’re hooked, go down a few blocks and get your own a bottle of Nahmias et Fils’ mahia at Hi-Time Wine Cellars—the only liquor store in Orange County that carries the only mahia made in America.