On the mention on Turkey, our main association are turkish coffe, tea, kebap, lokum, baklava… But turkish food and drink culture go way beyond that. Unless you spend some time in Turkey, you cannot really known the dept and importance of their culture.
In this article, we will introduce You some not so well known turkish drinks.
First on our list is considered to be the most oldest turkish bevarege that has been consumed for more than 8000 years ago.
Its name is boza which means millet in Farsi language. Boza is a fermented drink made from grains such as corn, barley, rye, oats, wheat or millet.
It has been a very popular drink throughout history in all regions governed by Turkish communities. It is high in calories and known to give warmth and a feel of nourishment to the human body. Boza is a winter drink and has been consumed widely in parts of the world where the climate is relatively colder. In times of famine throughout history, boza was the most important source of nourishment, due to its rich nature and also the ease of production with the grains readily available almost everywhere.
Boza can be made from any grain, millet however, is the most widely used grain and it yields the most delicious boza.
During production of boza, millet is crushed into semolina size pieces and boiled. Next is the addition of water, sugar and a portion of the previous boza used as a starter yeast. Boza is then left for fermentation for 24 hours at 30 C (86 F). During the fermentation process, digestive features are formed. When fermentation ends, boza is cooled to refrigerator temperature settled at about 4-5 C (40 F) and is ready to be served. Fresh-made boza needs to be consumed within the next five days.
Boza is served with a spoon because of its thick consistency and is a bit of an acquired taste. The drink is always topped with cinnamon or leblebi (roasted chickpeas).
Sahlep is hot, milky drink perfect for cold, winter days. It is made from the flour obtained by grinding the dried tubers of the orchid genus ORCHIS found in Kahramanmaraş province in the south of Turkey, and also the Black Sea provinces especially Kastamonu. Tubers of wild orchids are washed, boiled, dried and finally grinded into flour. This is the essence of this soft and warming, but also medical drink
Its name comes from from Turkish sālep, from Arabic (ḵuṣa-‘ṯ-) ṯa‘lab, which is the name of an orchid (literally meaning ‘fox’s testicles’).
It is usually served in a cup dusting with grinded cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger on top.
The popularity of sahlab in Turkey has led to a decline in the populations of wild orchids. As a result, it is illegal to export true salep.
3. Şıra–fermented grape juice
Sira is one of the popular Turkish non-alcoholic drinks made from a slightly fermented grape juice. Due to its high fructose content, it tastes sweet. The color of this drink is terracotta and it’s usually served with iskender kebab, one of the famous meat foods of Turkey.
The grape juice used in this drink comes from crushing grapes that will eventually be made into wine.It is made by fermenting grape juice, but the fermentation process is stopped before the sugars—most of them, at least—are converted to alcohol. Depending on the degree of fermentation, şıra can be cloyingly sweet if the fermentation is minimal, or it can be a bit sour and less sweet if it ferments for a longer period of time. The ideal sip of şıra leaves a fizzy and refreshing taste on your tongue, just like a summer wine cooler.
Şalgam (SHAAL’- gahm) juice is a popular vegetable-based beverage from Turkey’s southeastern region around the cities of Mersin and Adana.
In Turkish, the word ‘şalgam’ means turnip, but this traditional drink is actually made from purple carrots, bulgur wheat, salt, water and yeast.
Şalgam juice is traditionally served ice cold in large glasses with long slices of pickled carrots, called ‘tane.’ Some like a spoon of hot red pepper relish stirred in just before serving for extra heat. Whether you like it spicy or mild, şalgam is one of the most popular drinks to accompany spicy Adana kebab.
Şalgam is also sometimes served alongside rakı, the famous Turkish anise beverage dubbed ‘lion’s milk.’ It makes a great chaser.
5. Tursu Suyu
Tursu Suyu is a refreshing beverage , made from pickled vegetables such as beets, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic, and brine. It is salty in flavor, with a strong tangy kick at the end, while its color is bright pink.
Tursu Suyu is sold by balik ekmek (fish sandwich) vendors and is often paired with fish sandwiches or other street food.
6. Ayran-the Turkish Yoghurt Drink
Ayran, which is also known as the non-alcoholic national drink of Turkey, is made of yogurt, water and salt. It is consumed with almost every meal, especially with meals that contain some type of bread in them. Ayran is one of the fundamental drinks of Turkish culture dating back to Central Asia. The Gokturks are thought to have first developed ayran thousands of years ago by diluting bitter yoghurt with water to improve its flavor. The popularity of this drink has spread to other parts of the world from Turkey. Today, ayran is omnipresent across Turkey, offered almost everywhere.
Raki is famous alcoholic bevarege in Turkey.
Rakı (rah-KUH) is clear brandy made from grapes and raisins, flavored with pungent anise. Most is quite potent (80- to 100-proof/40% to 50% alcohol) and thus usually diluted with water and sipped with snacks or meals.
It’s similar to Greek ouzo and French pastis. When mixed with ice and/or water for drinking, it turns milky white. Because of its color and hefty alcoholic punch, Turks call it lion’s milk (aslan sütü).
Today, drinking raki has its own traditional rituals. Most important is what it is to be partaken with. White cheese is the main and unchangeable “meze” of raki. Raki is usually drunk with cold dishes like tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and seafood. Fish is also a favorite, especially mullet and mackerel. Due to the aniseed it contains, raki changes color and becomes a milky white when water is added and a glass of pure water to go with it gives a distinct pleasant taste.