Egyptian drinks are the specialties that have existed throughout the country’s millennial history. Until today, the historical meaning and purpose behind each recipe have been passed down by generations of ancient and modern Egyptians.
Because Egypt is a country that has dry and hot weather all year round, it’s reasonable that Egyptian drinks are the best options to enjoy in the summer. Besides, if you love distinctive Egyptian foods, you can pair some of the drinks below with many dishes.
From fruit juice to traditional tea, from Egyptian coffee to Egyptian Martini, there are a variety of options to choose from. Even though all the recipes are authentic, they are very easy to make, so there are no reasons to hesitate.
What’s So Cool About Egyptian Drinks?
Like I said, staying hydrated is one of the priorities of Egyptians when they make a drink. However, don’t be afraid that the recipes will be plain and boring. During the thousand-year history of Egypt, there were exchanges of cultures and religions.
Therefore, many recipes in the list below also inherited or inspired other drinks in different cultures and regions. What’s more, there are some kinds of fruits which are native to Egypt that may surprise you because you might haven’t seen or tasted them before!
On the other hand, because Ramadan month plays a very important role in Egyptian life, many drinks are dedicated to religious fasting. Most of those drinks are nutritious and healthy for you and your family!
Pleasant Traditional Egyptian Drinks To Sip At Tea Time
As you may not know, Egyptians also have a long-lasting tradition of enjoying a variety of tea. However, besides tea, other traditional drinks are also perfect for a wonderful tea time in the afternoon. Some of the recipes have existed since the Pharaonic time.
1. Karkade (Hibiscus Tea)
If you are enduring the heat of summer, Karkade is the first and foremost drink that you should try. To describe Karkade, it’s a cup of hibiscus tea or juice, and you can enjoy it as a hot drink or add ice to quench your thirst.
All the ingredients you need are dried hibiscus petals, water, and sugar or honey. The name “Karkade” refers to the hibiscus plant, which is native to the sandy soil and dry weather of Egypt. Most of the hibiscus flowers are harvested on the oases alongside the Nile Valley and Nile Delta.
In ancient times, hibiscus plants were used for medical treatments, and Karkade tea was regarded as a drink of the Pharaohs. Nowadays, you can easily find the drink at celebrations in Egypt like weddings.
Because Karkade is very rich in Vitamin C, the drink can control cholesterol and blood sugar. However, if you are using estrogen-based birth control, don’t drink Karkade regularly.
Where to buy: Dried hibiscus flowers can be found on many online platforms. To enjoy the authentic Karkade tea in Egypt, you should visit some open-air cafes in Egypt. You can also try the drink for free in some souvenir shops.
Learn how to make Karkade with this tutorial.
2. Yansoon (Aniseed Drink)
Aniseed is known for its benefits for human health, so of course, Yansoon is a perfect drink if you catch a cold or have a sore throat. Talking about the origin of the drink, I have to mention that Egypt was the place where people first harvested anise.
Ancient Egyptians knew that anise could treat inflammation and convulsions, so they even wrote those facts on papyrus–ancient Egyptian paper. Yansoon can be understood as the drink’s name or the anise plant.
It’s simple to have a Yansoon drink at home, you can just make the drink like how you normally make a cup of tea. It’s best if you have a tea strainer or a cheesecloth. It’s recommended that you drink Yansoon after eating lunch or dinner.
The reason is that the drink benefits your digestion since it can prevent ailments such as bloating, gas, or constipation. Yansoon can also help with nausea and menstrual cramps.
Where to buy: You can easily buy Egyptian aniseed is also available at middle eastern shops or even online platforms.
3. Halabessa (Chickpeas Soup)
Halabessa, Hummus Sham, Halabisa, or Hummus Al-Sham is the only soup that appears on this drinks list. As you may not know, chickpeas play an important part in Egyptian cuisine because of their protein richness and affordability.
Halabessa, the chickpeas soup, is a trendy drink during wintertime because it can warm up the human body. Also, Halabessa is often served after a long time of fasting since it’s digestible and nutritious.
However, because the drink has some Egyptian spices like cumin or black pepper, it can be too spicy for you.
Where to buy: Most of the ingredients are available at any market. This winter drink is also common in cafes, clubs, and street carts.
Halabessa can be quite complex to cook without this guide.
4. Ahwa (Coffee)
According to popular belief, Ahwa or Egyptian coffee can be regarded as Turkish coffee. If you have never tried this classic Turkey drink before, this is a great opportunity! To perfect the drink, you must have sugar, ground coffee, and “cezve” – a special tool.
Accompanying the “cezve”, you will need sand as an insulator to brew the coffee in an authentically Egyptian way. Interestingly, while “Ahwa” is what Egyptians call the coffee drink, “Ahwa” also refers to cafes!
Historically, the people from Yemen brought coffee to Egypt around the 16th century AD. Originally, Yemeni regarded coffee as a special drink dedicated to long religious rituals.
Where to buy: Buy the coffee online and brew it at home! Of course, you can also go outside and enjoy this drink at any coffee shop.
5. Badawi Shai (Egyptian Bedouin Tea)
Badawi Shai is a black tea that originates from the Bedouin areas of Egypt. Since Bedouin are the tribes that live in the desert region, they have to stay hydrated and keep a low human body temperature. Therefore, the Badawi Shai is a perfect Middle Eastern recipe in that way.
Normally, Egyptians prefer using black tea leaves to tea bags because the tea’s quality is simply much better. Even though the plain Badawi Shai is already good enough, you can enjoy this tea with sugar or spices such as cardamom or cinnamon.
If you have a chance to travel to the Bedouin areas, don’t be surprised that they have a very distinctive method of making this tea. To perfect the Badawi Shai, the Bedouin would fire up and use a small teapot. Fire is an important factor that levels up the tea’s quality.
Where to buy: It’s best if you can order this drink in a traditional Middle Eastern restaurant. What’s more, some spice shops in Cairo and Dahab also have this tea.
6. Sahlab (Milk Pudding)
Sahlab is a very simple recipe to make in the winter. It’s hot and super creamy because of the corn flour that you put into the hot water. You can adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste. However, I think that rose water is enough if you don’t want a too sweet drink.
Regarding the authentic version, Egyptians use powder, also called “Sahlab” instead of cornflour. Sahlab powder is made from Orchid tubers. If you want to add more flavors to the drink, I would recommend cinnamon powder, nutmeg, or cloves.
Sahlab originated in the Roman era and was really popular throughout the Ottoman Empire. While you can enjoy Sahlab as a cool drink, it’s best to have Sahlab as a warm dessert after meals. For toppings, people usually use chopped pistachios and walnuts.
Where to buy: It’s not difficult to find the Sahlab powder from an online platform and make the drink at home. Coming to Egypt, the drink can be found at local cafes.
Just follow this guide, and you will have a cup of hot Sahlab in winter!
7. Helba (Egyptian Yellow Tea)
What’s most notable about Helba is that even though it’s tea, people don’t use leaves but instead, seeds of the Fenugreek plant to make the drink. Fenugreek is a special herb that is similar to cloves. Its yellow seeds are proven to have many health benefits.
While it’s called Helba in Egypt, the drink also has various other names, such as blue clover, hilba, or camel hay in other regions. To prepare the drink, you can brew the seeds just like how you brew leaves in other teas, but soaking the seeds will make the drink more nutritious.
Since ancient times, Egyptians have already known about Helba’s benefits. Nowadays, Arabian doctors still directly use the seeds for wound treatment.
Where to buy: You need to order Fenugreek seeds online before making the drink.
8. Erk Sous (Licorice Drink)
Erk Sous is the famous licorice drink that is also on the Ramadan drinks list. If you don’t know, licorice is a flowering plant that is harvested in the Upper Egypt area. Licorice has an aromatic smell, a delicately sweet flavor, and many health benefits.
Apparently, licorice has over 300 chemical compounds that can prevent infection, treat stomach ulcers, and control body fat. To make this drink, you need to boil all the ingredients in water. In case you want to sweeten Erk Sous, you can use sugar or sugarcane juice.
You may not know that licorice drink has been around for more than 3000 years. There are licorice roots that were found in the tomb of King Tut.
Where to buy: Only during Ramadan will you have a chance to find this drink. Normally, vendors on Egypt’s streets or coffee shops have Erk Sous.
Brilliant Fruit Drinks From Egypt To Amaze Your Family
Talking about Egyptian drinks, it’s a must to introduce a variety of juice and fruit-contained drinks that are extremely popular. You can easily choose from the recipes below to make nutritious fruit drinks for your family and friends!
9. Qamar Al-Din (Apricot Juice)
Qamar Al-Din is probably the most famous juice from Egypt. The drink is very simple to make, and it has a unique tartness that can suit every meal of the day. Traditionally, people will enjoy Qamar Al-Din during the Ramadan month.
Interestingly, two hypotheses explain the name of this juice. “Qamar Al-Din” can be directly translated to “Moon of Religion”, which may refer to the holy Ramadan month. On the other hand, some people believe that the drink takes its name after the inventor.
If you want to boost your energy but are bored of energy drinks, you can undoubtedly try Qamar Al-Din. After boiling the paste and sugar in water, strain the tea using a strainer, and finally, you can add the rosewater.
Where to buy: Normally, people would buy the dried apricot paste from local grocery stores and make the drink at home.
Qamar Al-Din is a signature drink of Egypt that you should make.
10. Sobia (Coconut Milkshake)
Sobia is another common drink that you can find at any table around Ramadan month in Egypt. While the recipes of Sobia can differ quite greatly from country to country, Egyptians usually make the drink with dairy products, rice, and coconut powder.
You may wonder why Sobia is an alcoholic drink when all of its ingredients are not. It’s due to the natural fermentation that occurs in the drink. Thus, there’s only a small percentage of alcohol, so rest assured that children can certainly enjoy this sweet drink.
Where to buy: There are many juice shops, bars, stalls, and street vendors that serve this drink chilled. However, don’t hesitate to make this drink at home if you really like it!
This quick guide is necessary if you want a delicious cup of Sobia!
11. Khoshaf (Egyptian Compote)
Khoshaf is the only compote that appears on this drinks list. Most of the time, Egyptians don’t cook but simply mix all the dry ingredients with syrup or sugar water. It’s said that Khoshaf originated around the era of the Fatimid dynasty.
At that time, Egyptians started consuming dried fruits and nuts. They realized that the high amount of sugar can benefit the post-fasting meal. Since then, Khoshaf got more and more popular and has become one of the dispensable drinks during the Ramadan month.
Where to buy: Normally, people get all the dry ingredients from grocery stores or the market and make the compote at home.
12. Aseer Asab (Sugarcane Juice)
This probably is the only drink whose authentic version you can’t make at home. The reason is that to get the juice from sugarcane, you will need a special machine tailored for that. You can still enjoy this drink at home if you have sugarcane syrup as an alternative ingredient.
Traveling to Egypt, there are sugarcane juice stalls on the streets where the sellers directly operate the machine and make the drink right in front of your eyes. Sometimes, Egyptians also add lemon juice to the drink to make it more appetizing.
Since the weather and soil of Egypt suit the ideal environment where sugarcane can thrive, it’s understandable that sugarcane juice is a food staple there. Egyptians also love the drink because it helps with preventing cancer, dehydration, and kidney diseases.
Where to buy: Juice shops, street vendors, and coffee shops are the easiest places where you can find Aseer Asab. If you don’t want to go outside, just simply try canned sugarcane juice.
13. Tamr Hindi (Tamarind Juice)
Tamr Hindi is also one of the favorites of Egyptians during Ramadan time. All you need is tamarind, water, sweetener, and ice if you want to enjoy it cool. While serving the drink, Egyptians contain Tamr Hindi in a very large vessel.
It’s a common beverage whenever people are thirsty after a long day of fasting. The mix of sour, sweet, tangy, and tart flavors of tamarind can easily please anyone’s taste. The name “Tamr Hindi” is Arabic, and it means “dates of India” which refers to the origin of tamarind.
Interestingly, Tamr Hindi is a flexible drink that can be paired with other drinks and food easily. In Cambodian households, people will enjoy this drink side by side with Hibiscus. During Ramadan, apricot juice is served together with this drink.
Where to buy: It should be easy to get Egyptian tamarind paste from online platforms. Also, coming to Egypt, you will see many vendors serve Tamr Hindi.
Let’s make Tamr Hindi with this detailed tutorial!
14. Kharoub (Carob Juice)
If you don’t know, the carob is a Meditarrian-native plant, and it has fruits that look exactly like normal pods. Even if you haven’t known about Carob before, I believe that Kharoub is a juice that anyone can enjoy, especially if you love chocolate! Besides Egypt, you can also find this beverage in Qatar and other Arabic countries.
Carob’s pods taste sweet and resemble the flavor of chocolate. Normally, the local people don’t eat the fruits directly but add them to desserts or drinks. Since carob has many health benefits, Kharoub may become a healthy version of your chocolate drink.
It can help lower cholesterol in your blood and reduce the risk of cancer. However, it’s not advisable to drink Kharoub when you are pregnant.
Where to buy: You need to buy ingredients and make Kharoub at home. On the other hand, if you want to try the authentic version, coffee shops and hotels have this drink during Ramadan.
Do You Know Any Get-Drunk Drink In Egypt?
As a tourist, what’s more fun than getting drunk in Egypt? While the residents have a long list of traditional and amazing beverages, alcohol is also among their favorite drinks!
15. Bouza/Bousa (Egyptian Beer)
Even if there are many great alcohol brands in Egypt, no tourists should miss the chance to taste Bouza–traditional Egyptian beer. One thing I have to say is that Egyptians love beer, and they have even had it since ancient times!
While most beer, even modern variations, all have fruits and grains as the main ingredients, Egyptians used fruits–barley and “cooked grains” – bread. By making Bouza on your own, it’ll be much easier for you to adjust the flavors and alcoholic level of the beer.
The process of making this drink is very affordable since the drink was invented by the lower classes in ancient times. Since Egypt is one of a few civilizations where beer first appeared, it’s reasonable that beer is related to the country’s myths and even the goddess Sekhmet.
Where to buy: You can make the beer at home following the instructions or purchase Egyptian beer from an online platform. Egyptian beer can be found at Egyptian bars, pubs, and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Let’s learn about the necessary process to brew Egyptian beer – Heqet!
16. Suffering Bastard
If you love learning about legendary cocktails, you may have known the Suffering Bastard. Even though this drink is not traditional like other recipes, it definitely can be regarded as a must-try alcoholic drink whenever you want to taste anything Egypt-related.
The place where this cocktail was invented, the bar of Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, was destroyed in 1952 due to a fire. This drink had a special relation to the battles which occurred in Egypt during the World War II era and the inventor, Joe Scialom, was initially a chemist.
Where to buy: Since all the ingredients of Suffering Bastard are pretty common, you can easily order it at any bar or pub that you want to visit.
Let’s Taste Egyptian Flavors By Making The Drinks!
Do any of the recipes above excite you? With the variety of options on the list ranging from healthy juice to creamy drinks and even alcoholic beverages, it shouldn’t be a burden for you to choose at least one favorite drink to make.
In case you need any help, don’t hesitate to refer to the tutorial video. And when you succeed, don’t be shy to share the drink with your family and friends. I believe they will be curious and excited to have a taste of any Egyptian specialty.
If this article managed to fascinate you, please leave comments below and press the share button so that more people will know about Egyptian drinks!
Linda Dean is a talented food blogger and cookbook author with a passion for creating simple and delicious recipes. With a focus on using wholesome ingredients and showcasing their flavors with minimal fuss, Linda’s recipes have become a favorite among busy home cooks looking for quick and nutritious meals.
With years of experience in the kitchen and a love for experimenting with new ingredients and flavor combinations, Linda has honed her culinary skills and developed a signature style that is both approachable and sophisticated. Whether she’s sharing a classic recipe with a twist or showcasing the latest food trends, Linda’s work is always fresh, innovative, and inspiring.
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