A mysterious drink whose true contents are known only to a select few, Legmi claims to leave drinkers with a happy feeling and no day-after hangover.
As soon as the sun is up, people in southern Tunisia head out to get some Legmi, a coveted date palm drink that is too delicate to be sold far from the oasis.
In the morning, almost at every roundabout in the centre of the coastal city of Gabes, bikes, cars and police vehicles are clustered around men seated on plastic chairs.
Suggested Read: Boukha: The “Water of Life” Tunisian-Jewish Fig Liquor
Next to them are jugs brimming with the precious drink, a testament to the Gabes saying:
Even if the Legmi attracts mosquitos, people will stick around.
Many Tunisians in the South of the country enjoy Legmi throughout the day, and especially for breakfast, such as Touhemi, who has walked to the Ain Slam roundabout for the morning rush.
We were born with legmiTouhemi, said.
Young People’s Game
Other than the fresh, Hallal Legmi, a fermented, alcoholic version of the drink is produced, called “dead” Legmi.
Back at one of the Gabes roundabouts, Aymen described the alcoholic drink as “a young people’s game”.
A mysterious drink whose true contents are known only to a select few, Legmi is ambiguously described as containing “herbs, spices and citrus,” claiming to leave drinkers with a happy feeling and no day-after hangover.
Production & Challenges
Along with the harvesting, storing the drink is complex as it turns rapidly into vinegar.
To keep it fresh, bottles of ice are placed in the can that the sap flows into overnight, then the juice is immediately frozen until it’s poured for sale.
This fragile process limits the consumption of legmi.
If you would like to comment on this article or anything else you have seen on Carthage Magazine, leave a comment below or head over to our Facebook page. You may also message us via this page.
And if you liked this article, sign up for the monthly features newsletter. A handpicked selection of stories from Carthage Magazine, delivered to your inbox.