The drinks of Turkey
Drinks play an extremely important role in Turkish culture. Turks have a huge connection and even love for theirs drinks. Here we present you a list of the four most important drinks in Turkey and their connection with the country’s culture.
Çay / Tea
By far, the most important drink in Turkey. Seems like, tea is the center of Turkish lifestyle and culture: anywhere at any time, tea will be offered to you. Drinking tea is an essential part of the daily work routine, once it’s the main source of caffeine in the country.
It’s also very common to stop in a café, seat and order just tea. Or for friends to meet in café’s and talk over several (like more than 5) glasses of this strong, black tea and play black gammon while enjoying this drink.
One thing is for sure, you won’t leave Turkey without trying tea.
This traditional coffee combines both special preparation techniques and tradition. The freshly roasted beans are ground to a fine powder; then the ground coffee, cold water and sugar are added to a coffee pot and brewed slowly on a stove to produce the desired foam.
The beverage is served in small cups, accompanied by a glass of water, and is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to converse, share news and read books. You drink it in few spics because the coffee grounds are a part of the drink. Traditionally, the grounds left in the cup are used to tell a person’s fortune.
Ayran is a traditional drink that usually complements grilled meats or spicy meals. It’s basically a blend of yogurt, water and salt. You can find it freshly made in some restaurants or in packaged in supermarkets.
Rakı is the official national drink of Turkey. This strong, anise-flavored spirit is usually drunk by adding cold water and ice cubes (in that order), which gives rakı its pale white look. It’s said that rakı is a fish drink, to be consumed while eating meze (appetizers) and in fish restaurants.
A trip to Turkey is not complete without tasting salep, a warm and cozy drink made from orchids and topped with cinnimon. Pure salep is illegal to export due to depleted orchid supply, and so is only consumable within Turkish borders.
Another local drink to sample is boza, made from fermented bulgur with water and sugar. It supposedly builds up strength and virility, but I still need to find the first scientific report to back this up.
Local wine choices are plentiful thanks to the flourishing Turkish wine industry. And a handful of wineries produce excellent wine, comparable with those created in France. Our current top choices for both red and white wines are Corvus, Kayra Vintage, and Sarafin.
Efes Pilsen is the undisputed number one beer in Turkey. And rightfully so. This perky inoffensive pilsener comes in bottles, cans and on tap. When ordering, the waiter or bar tender will ask you what size you prefer. The most common options are small (33cl) or big (50cl). If you prefer a wheat beer, try out Gusta. It’s brewed by the same company that produces Efes. Imported beers choices are mostly limited to Tuborg, Corona, Beck’s and Heineken.