The first thing you’ll probably notice about this list is that it doesn’t include anything particularly fancy or exotic. While exotic flavors are fun once in awhile or for parties, there are just certain flavors that every hookah owner must have for day-to-day smokes. So without further ado, from the home office in the town just outside the town, just outside Oakland, California, here are Frank’s Top Ten Shisha Flavors Every Hookah Owner Must Have:
10. Lemon: By itself, lemon is only so-so, unless you really enjoy having a puckered mouth. Mix it with a sweet flavor like cherry or fruits for a complex edge or mint for a flavor that will clear your sinuses.
9. Mixed Fruit/Fruits: A standard flavor produced by most manufacturers, mixed fruit/fruits usually tastes like red Kool-Aid. Al Waha Fruit’s Flavour is my personal favorite, it’s a great reminder of summer days by the pool reading comics, an icy glass of Kool-Aid by my side. It’s also a great mixer that goes well with other fruit flavors such as peach, mango, melon, and even strawberry.
8. Melon: Another standard, melon is great for the fans of cantaloupe. It’s great on a hot summer when you’re imagining yourself living in a Bedouin tent at a tree-lined oasis in the desert. Sweet, cool, and refreshing by itself, most melon flavors mix well with tangy fruits such as mango or peach. Try mixing equal parts melon, peach, and mango for a fruity treat I call "fruit salad".
7. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a little harsh by itself but it can bring back nice memories of fall and winter holidays such as pie baking in the oven, your mom’s special cocoa, or warm apples with your breakfast. It also makes an excellent mixer. Try it with mint for a late afternoon pick-me-up. (admin note: Cinnamon is only available from Romman, Starbuzz, Al Fakher, Tangiers, and Nakhla)
6. Cardamom: Cardamom tastes and smells as exotic as it sounds. It fills the room with a heady aroma that recalls adventures searching for treasure in exciting locales along the Silk Road or fighting pirates off the coast of India. Do yourself a favor, next time it’s a gloomy day with nothing to do, pack some cardamom flavored shisha in your bowl, throw some Ravi Shankar or the Arabian Spices album in your CD player and let your mind take you away to a far-off place. (admin note: Cardamom is only available from Nakhla and Al Fakher)
5. Honey: By itself honey is sweet, inoffensive, and a little bland just like Winnie-the-Pooh. Use it as a mixer to take the edge off of bitter fruit flavors such as mango or peach. Try it with mint for a taste like old fashioned cough drops. (admin note: Honey is only available from Al Waha, Fumari, and Al Fakher)
4. Cherry: By itself a nice cherry is reminiscent of early summer evenings sharing hot fudge sundaes with your special someone. As a mixer it goes great with cola, mixed fruit, lemon, and even mint for an excellent after dinner smoke. Try it with vanilla and cola for a cool treat on a warm afternoon.
3. Cola: By themselves most cola flavors are so-so, rather like drinking a flat coke but add a mixer such as cherry, lemon, or vanilla and you’re transported to yesteryear, to the days of soda fountains and flavored colas. Try mixing cola in the water in your base for an extra sweet cola flavor on those days when you’re craving a soda but would rather not have the empty calories.
2. Vanilla : Vanilla, like honey, is sweet an in offensive by itself.Mix it with orange for an orange cream or cola to create vanilla coke. Try it with nearly any fruit flavor to recreate the experience of eating ice cream or sherbet on a summer day.
1.Mint: A good mint, especially something like Al Fakher Mint, is great by itself. It’s like smoking a Tic Tac or toothpaste. It’s cool, refreshing, and gives you minty fresh breath on those days when brushing your teeth just seems like work. Also it’s a great mixer. It gives any flavor a cool and refreshing aftertaste. It’s great with fruit flavors or for brightening up flavors that are too heavy and sweet on their own. Some of my personal favorites are lemon mint, cola mint, and fruit mint.
Until next time...
May all your shishas taste like the label promises and may all your smoke be puffy and white.