Turkish drinks make up this country’s rich traditions and history. With Boza, pistachio coffee, and other beverages, you will understand why thousands and millions of Turkish people love them just after the first sip.
These traditional and innovative drinks, along with the mouth-watering Turkish dishes, have helped enhance Turkish culture and preserve traditions. So what are the amazing drinks that I’m talking about? Keep on reading to find out!
The Turkish people have a wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages that are tasty for both the young and old. Some even have health benefits. Below are some of the most popular and enjoyable non-alcoholic drinks from Turkey.
Rize Çayı, or Turkish black tea, is a powerful and bitter drink. This type of black tea is from Rize province, a region with the best conditions to grow tea leaves in Turkey.
Surprisingly, Turkey tea is a newly found product. In 1945, when the government passed a law about growing tea leaves in the eastern Black Sea region, Turkish farmers started growing and harvesting more tea leaves.
Rize tea is a strong tea with a beautiful deep red hue. The deeper the color is, the stronger the flavor gets. This shade of red even has its name, which is Tavsan Kani. This directly translates to “rabbit blood” in English.
In Turkey, cafes often serve this tea with beet sugar. In addition, the tea comes in a tulip shaped-glass called Ince Belli Bardak, which prevents the tea from cooling.
Where to buy: You can find Rezi Çayı in teahouses or packets at supermarkets.
2. Kuşburnu Çayı (Rose Hip Tea)
Turkey is home to almost 25% of rose species, and the people here have been using the flowers for oil and rose water. The fruit of these flowers, rose hips, is something the Turkish have turned into a tasty tea drink.
Besides the beautiful color, this herbal tea is also very beneficial for the Turkish people’s health. It helps build a healthy immune system by supplying the body with vitamin C. Moreover, rose hip tea is a great way for Turkish people to prevent aging.
The tea is very soothing and easy to drink. When taking a sip, you will notice a floral taste note around your palate. It also features a combination of sweet and sour tastes, making it a refreshing and inviting beverage.
Where to buy: Turkish rose hip tea is available at teahouses and supermarkets.
Elma Çayı is a delightful hot drink ideal for chilly nights or a chilled drink for a summer’s day. Not only in Turkey, but it is also a popular drink in Egypt and Greece.
Although categorized as tea, Elma Çayı uses dried apples instead of tea leaves. The Turkish make Elma Çayı by steeping dried apple slices in the water with some cinnamon sticks. They would also serve it in Ince Belli Bardak, the tulip-shaped glass.
Besides dried apples, there are other methods to make Elma Çayı, using apple-flavored granules or powder. Turkey also produces instant apple tea that you can purchase and quickly make at home.
In this country, offering this drink to a guest is a sign of hospitality. No matter where you’re going, a hotel, a restaurant, or shops and bazaars, they will offer you a glass of Elma Çayı.
Where to buy: People often buy fresh Elma Çayı as a complimentary drink at hotels, restaurants, and shops. You can buy the dried apple tea mix and powder at tea houses and shops.
Fix yourself a cup of hot Turkish apple tea with this tutorial.
Even though this beverage may be less bold than what tea should taste like, you should overlook it. The simplicity of Nane Limon makes it so amazing. The mint leaves create a cooling sensation uncommon for other tea flavors.
What’s also special about Nane Limon? This drink is a refreshing warm drink that will help tackle any cold or flu that you are having. Moreover, the minty flavor lingering on your tongue will liven up your palate in the best way.
Where to buy: This Turkish lemon and mint tea is a menu item in which most tea houses specialize. You can also look for tea bags in supermarkets around Turkey.
Turkish coffee is unfiltered coffee made in a traditional Cezve pot. It only takes some ingredients to make a hot and delicious cup of Turkish: coffee, cardamom, and sugar.
The procedure for making this drink is quite simple. Local people only have to put these two ingredients into the Cezve and cook over hot sand until boiling. This boiling process happens several times before the vendor can serve the coffee.
Unlike other luxurious coffee and coffee beans, Turkish coffee offers a chalky and earthy flavor. The strong aroma and the charred taste of the coffee will surely awaken the excitement inside you.
Turkish coffee is an essential part of the country’s culture. People serve coffee everywhere, from ordinary cafes to major events like weddings and ceremonies.
Where to buy: Turkish coffee is a famous drink, so you’ll likely see many vendors on the streets selling this drink.
Şalgam Suyu, also known as turnip water, is a fermented drink. You will often see this drink in Turkish cities like Adana, Izmir, etc. Local people usually serve this at the dining tables at lunch or dinner.
Even though Şalgam directly means “turnip”, Şalgam Suyu is actually a drink from a salty brine. This brine contains purple carrot pickles, and the turnips will be the seasoning agent. There are also ground bulgur (a kind of whole-grain) cereal and rock salt added to this mix.
The taste of Şalgam Suyu varies depending on the person making it. But a good glass of Şalgam Suyu should be both sweet and tangy, with a clear taste of turnip.
Where to buy: There are stalls and vendors with their carts on the streets where you can buy this drink.
Not using the conventional coffee beans, Kurdish coffee comes from roasted terebinth fruits, a fruit similar to pistachio. Thus, Kurdish coffee also goes by Pistachio coffee. Initially a drink of the Kurdish people, the drink hit European countries, including France.
However, when the proclamation of Turkey started, a series of discrimination toward the Kurdish people regarding cultures and customs took place. The Turkish people then took over Kurdish coffee and renamed it Turkish coffee.
Nevertheless, people cannot deny that this drink is an enjoyable caffeine-free substitute for regular coffee. The taste is rich with a smooth mouth feel. Kurdish coffee is why so many people are eager to travel to Turkey.
Where to buy: Look for areas where many Kurdish people live, and you will find good Kurdish coffee. The drink is also popular in southeastern Anatolia.
8. Şıra (Fermented Juice)
Şıra is a seasonal drink that the Turkish make from apple juice or fermented grapes. This is a specially loved drink in spring and summer due to its freshness.
Because of the preparation method and the fruits, Şıra always tastes delightful with a balanced combination of sweet and sour tastes. Şıra usually goes with Iskender Kebabs (sliced döner kebab meat with tomato sauce on bread).
In the Marmara region, there is a flavored variation of Şıra known as Hardaliye. This variation is slightly different as it’s aromatized in mustard seeds and cherry leaves. People often serve this drink as an appetizer on special occasions.
Where to buy: You can find this drink at street vendors and cafes in Turkey.
9. Turşu Suyu (Pickled Juice)
This drink consists of juice from pickled vegetables like carrots, beets, cucumbers, onions, and cabbage. All these vegetables will go into a salty brine for some time. Usually, this drink goes very well with seafood dishes like fish sandwiches, etc.
Turşu Suyu is a salty and strong drink from vegetables and brine. The taste doesn’t fit the majority of people. But many locals still enjoy drinking Turşu Suyu for its flavor and health benefits.
Turşu Suyu is probably the most popular in Istanbul, around Eminonu beach. In this area, vendors sell Turşu Suyu to locals and tourists.
Where to buy: You can buy Turşu Suyu from street vendors, especially in Istanbul, Turkey. You can also look for this drink at Balik Ekmek, known as fish sandwich vendors, in Turkey.
Sharbat or Sherbet is a combination of fresh fruits like pomegranates, grapes, and tamarind that dates back to the 11th century in Iran.
Originally, Sherbet first appeared in Turkey in the Ottoman Empire. It has then become a long-established custom to drink Sherbet in Turkey, especially during special events like Ramadan and weddings.
People usually make Sharbat in lemon flavor at weddings to celebrate the occasion. In addition, Sharbat is also popular in Muslim countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Balkans.
Where to buy: Turkish people usually make this drink on special occasions only, so it might be a bit of a challenge to look for it in Turkey.
Looking for Sharbat in Turkey is challenging, so why not make it at home with this tutorial?
Pomegranate juice is one of the most popular Turkey street snacks. There are numerous stalls and carts selling this delicious juice everywhere on the streets of Turkey.
This yummy juicing delicacy is people’s favorite because it’s easy to make. It requires only two ingredients: pomegranate and sugar. All it takes is to squeeze the fruit juice into the glass with some sugar and water.
Some vendors add orange juice for extra flavor. And, of course, a refreshing drink like pomegranate juice tastes best with a lot of ice.
Where to buy: You can easily find stalls and vendors that sell this juice, they will often display shelves of pomegranates where they’re selling the juice.
Limonata or Turkish lemonade is your ordinary lemonade with a little twist.
The Turkish version is much sweeter than regular lemonade. This is due to the lemon peels and the lemon extract in the lemonade, along with sugar and water. Limonata is a delicious drink to cool off your body in the Turkish summer.
To elevate it a little more, try the Turkish way and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top. I’m sure you will grow to love it.
Where to buy: Turkish people sell this drink everywhere, so you can look for a cup of Limonata at street vendors or tea houses.
Pomegranate tea is undoubtedly a Turkish people’s favorite drink. This is partly because some of the tastiest pomegranates come from Anatolia. It’s a fruit rich in antioxidants and properties that help promote cardiac health.
Of course, the health benefits alone aren’t enough to convince the Turkish people. The taste of a freshly brewed cup of Nar Çayı also stays on their palates. This is an ideal drink for the chilly autumn and winter days.
Where to buy: You can buy packaged pomegranate tea in supermarkets. If you’re looking for fresh pomegranate tea, you can go to tea houses in Turkey, where they serve exceptionally great cups of this drink.
This fermented drink called Boza is a smoothie-like beverage that comes from different grains like wheat, barley or millet, sugar, yeast, and water. In cafes and restaurants, Boza usually comes with a spoon since it has a thick texture.
This drink usually comes with chickpeas or cinnamon dating back 9000 years ago. The traditional Boza contains millet, semolina, sugar, and water. It is one of the oldest drinks in Turkey, with its first appearance in Anatolia via Mesopotamia and the Caucasus.
Because the grains could easily degrade, people only made Boza during cold months in Turkey back then. However, Turkish people now make this drink all year round, thanks to the invention of refrigerators, where they can store the grains.
Where to buy: You can buy Boza from the street vendors in Turkey.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to thin yogurt or Ayran, another Turkish yogurt product. It’s a drink people make with Kefir grains, a type of yeast that comes in small white balls. Many people believe that the drink originated in the Caucasus Mountains.
Its main ingredient is usually cattle milk with Kefir grains. The Kefir amount should be around only 2% in terms of ratio to the milk. Then, people pour this mixture into a jar and let it sit for around half a day. Place the jar in a warm place for better fermentation.
This drink is healthy as it is packed with probiotics and can improve bone density. So make sure to look for Kefir in Turkey.
Where to buy: There are homemade versions of Kefir sold by street vendors and packaged versions in supermarkets.
Salep is a hot milk that comes from Salep flour. This flour comes from a Turkish orchid plant and is highly nutritious.
Salep flour was very famous in drinks back in the Ottoman Empire. Back to Salep, baristas will start by pouring some milk into a cup and mixing it with some Salep powder. The final step before serving is to heat the milk until it reaches boiling point.
They often drink hot but not hot enough to burn your tongue. At the first sip, you will taste a sweet and musky flavor from the cinnamon on top combined with the milk. You can enjoy the drink on its own or pair it with Turkish pastries and desserts.
Where to buy: You can easily buy a cup of Sahlep at most cafes in Turkey.
Prepare yourself a warm cup of Sahlep for when the weather turns cold.
Puerpera sherbet is a drink with an interesting background in Turkey’s culture. Families back in the Ottoman Empire also sent pitchers of this Sherbet to their friends and loved ones when they welcomed a newborn into their family.
If there was a red ribbon around the pitcher, the family was welcoming a baby boy. And if it was a baby girl, people would use red Tulbent, a muslin cloth. These pitchers of Sherbet will, later on, come in silver jacketed glasses to visitors who visited during the postnatal time.
Besides that, the drink is also beneficial for women who recently gave birth as it helps with breast milk quality. Having said that, you can enjoy it the way a local would.
Where to buy: It’s not common to see this drink on the streets. However, some families would make this at home so you can politely ask for a cup when wandering through a local neighborhood.
Ayran is a famous alcohol-free drink during summertime. This unique yogurt drink usually goes with dishes like Kebabs or pies.
This drink came from the Turkic tribes in Central Asia. The very first description of the drink was “a cold drink made from milk”. After the expansion of the Turkic people in this region, Ayran started to have other names like Doogh, Dhallë, and Daw.
Ayran has a unique salty taste and creamy texture with yogurt, salt, and water. Since the drink is not too thick and dense, it’s the perfect beverage to pair with savory dishes, especially seafood.
Where to buy: You can find Ayran in bottles at supermarkets or on the streets.
19. Yayık Ayranı (Turkish Buttermilk)
Turkish buttermilk, also known as Yayık Ayranı, is a traditional drink made with fermented buttermilk, water, and salt. Despite the somewhat similar name, don’t mistake Yayık Ayranı with Ayran.
Unlike Ayran, Turkish people first made Yayık Ayranı in barrel churns and skin bags. People usually use milk from goats, sheep, or cows to make this drink. When cooking Yayık Ayran, Turkish people can also gather acid curd cheese called Çökelek.
Authentic Turkish buttermilk is slightly tangy, creamy, and somewhat thinner than regular yogurt. You will notice a buttery aroma when smelling it, making it an interesting beverage.
Where to buy: Yayık Ayranı is not available on the mass market, but you can always look for some at the local markets.
Although there aren’t too many types of alcoholic drinks in Turkey, there are still a lot to explore. Each alcoholic beverage below is a lovely drink with a boozy factor that will surely put you in a good mood when hanging out with your friends at night in Turkey.
The screwdriver was a creation of American soldiers mixing the iconic Russian drink vodka with orange juice. The cocktail first made its way to the cities of Ankara and Istanbul in 1943 and has since become a popular drink in Turkey.
The drink only consists of vodka and orange juice. By the look of it, you will think it’s a simple drink, but that thought will change once you take a sip. The sweet and sour flavor of orange juice will tone down the vodka’s bitterness, blending the two drinks harmoniously.
There are also different variations of Screwdriver cocktails throughout Turkey. Such variations include one-third vodka and two-thirds gin in the recipe or adding gin and cognac to the cocktail. Considering its fame, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try, right?
21. Efes Pilsen (Turkish Beer)
It would be a sin not to mention Efes Pilsen when discussing Turkish beer brands. This is one of the most famous names that anyone could think of when it comes to this malty alcoholic beverage.
Efsen Beer is a product by Efes Beverage Group, the world’s 11th largest brewer. This beer has a light flavor with a lingering taste of lager. I’m sure Efes Pilsen will be a perfect fit for anyone who just starts drinking.
Aside from the classic Efes Pilsen, there are other varieties in Turkey for you to choose including Efes Dark, Efes Extra, and Efes Light. Each of these varieties has its unique flavor to please even the strictest people.
Where to buy: Efes Pilsen is available in supermarkets nationwide, and some bars and pubs sell this beer from the draft.
This delectable drink, inspired by Turkish Delight candies, is a feast in a glass. A typical Turkish Delight glass employs many familiar cocktail ingredients: vodka or gin, syrup, limes, and a few other ingredients.
This cocktail will give you a light kick from the gin and the sweet taste of Turkish Delight bits and the Creme de Cacao. The drink is like a smooth touch in your mouth with a floral taste note coming from the rose water.
Where to buy: You can easily order a glass of Turkish Delight at any Turkish bar.
Although it’s not a traditional Turkish drink, the Turkish Delight Martini is also inspired by the iconic Turkish Delight chewy, sugary bites. This is yet another drink that has brought the delicate flavor of the candy to a new level.
Turkish Delight Martini is a drink common among customers at luxurious bars and restaurants in Turkey. Everyone who has tasted this drink before immediately becomes intrigued by this new twist added to the classic Martini cocktail.
The drink perfectly harmonizes the powerful Martini, the fruity and floral aroma from the rose water, and Turkish Delight.
Where to buy: You can look for this Martini drink at upscale bars in Turkey.
24. Yeni Rakı (Turkish Liquor)
Yeni Rakı is a Turkish liquor made by distilling alcohol, grapes, and aniseed. People have to repeat the distilling process once more to produce Yeni Rakı. This liquor is important in the Turkish people’s daily meals and culture.
The first record regarding Rakı’s appearance was in an Ottoman explorer’s journal. He mentioned seeing Rakı distilleries in small towns in the year 1630.
People tend to have Rakı with lots of ice or water. This is because Rakı is a very strong liquor with an alcohol content of around 40 to 50%. So, they use ice and water to dilute the liquor.
In Turkey, people usually call this liquor “lion’s milk” because of how the drink turns opaque once you pour in some water. Rakı is a symbol of love, friendship, and a cultural feature in which the Turkish people take great pride.
Where to buy: You can find this famous liquor in almost every supermarket and restaurant in Turkey.
There are some simple drinks in Turkey that you can easily recreate at home. The very simple yet appealing flavor has hooked people of all ages on these drinks. So why not bring them home by making some for your loved ones.
1. Making Limonata
Limonata is a drink that you can hardly go wrong with. The process takes so little effort, yet the taste is exceptionally delightful. Right below is a simple instruction on how you can make Turkish lemonade at home.
Ingredients: Lemon, sugar, water, mint leaves (optional)
Step 1: Peel and grind the lemon zest into a saucepan with water and sugar.
Step 2: Squeeze the lemon juice into a separate bowl and set it aside, remember to include the lemon itself in the bowl.
Step 3: Bring the lemon zest and sugar mixture to a boil until everything dissolves fully.
Step 4: Turn off the heat and combine the mixture with the lemon juice in the bowl. Add the mint leaves to your taste.
Step 5: Refrigerate the mixture for a few hours. Afterward, run the mixture through a cheesecloth to press out as much extract as possible. Then strain it again with cheesecloth.
Step 6: Add lots of ice, and garnish with some mint leaves and lemon slices. Enjoy!
Make some lemonade the Turkish way with this instruction, and you’ll fall in love.
2. Making Pomegranate Juice
You can bring a piece of Turkey closer to you by making some pomegranate juice. It’s an extremely famous street snack in this country, so making this at home will somewhat give you the feeling of browsing through the local Turkish markets.
Ingredients: Pomegranate, orange juice, ice cubes (to serve)
Step 1: Remove the seeds from the pomegranate fruit, place them into a blender or juicer and add some water.
Step 2: Blend or press well to release the juice. Pour the juice through a sieve to remove the hard blended seeds.
Step 3: Juice some oranges and add them to the pomegranate juice for extra flavor and a slight sourness.
Step 4: Serve with ice.
3. Making Turkish Delight Cocktail
What better way to enjoy your favorite sweet treat than to turn it into a boozy drink? Turkish Delight cocktail resembles the pleasant taste of Turkish Delight candies in the best way possible. And I’m going to show you how to create just that taste with the recipe below.
Ingredients: Lemon/lime, rose petal-infused Hendricks, crème de cacao, vanilla syrup, egg whites, rose fairy floss (to garnish)
Step 1: Put all the ingredients into a shaker and shake well.
Step 2: Strain out the ice and shake again.
Step 3: Strain the drink into a glass.
Step 4: Garnish the drink with some fairy floss and pistachio powder. Enjoy!
As you can see, these drinks I’ve talked about are as pleasant and inviting as they can be. And I’m sure after this article you will feel a sudden urge to go out there and explore these exotic drinks in Turkey.
Was there any drink that you had the chance to try? Let me know your first impressions of these drinks in the comments section. It would also mean a lot if you could share this post with more people so they can join you and me on this spectacular Turkish cuisine journey.
Until next time, enjoy your drinks, and thank you!