When it comes to countries with delicious cuisine, Turkey comes up top. But it’s not just the food that gets people’s mouths watering, there are many delectable Turkish drinks that are unique to the country.
Whether you’re looking for sweet tea or a strong alcoholic raki, there is no shortage of special beverages in Turkey that will quench your thirst and leave your taste buds wanting more.
But if you’re not sure what drinks to try on your next visit to Turkey, you’ve come to the right place. Below are some of the best drinks in Turkey to try on your next trip.
The Most Famous Turkish Drinks
1. Turkish Tea (Çay)
Turkish tea, or çay, is a staple beverage in Turkish culture. It is typically served in small glass cups in the shape of a tulip, the national flower of Turkey, and is often offered as a sign of hospitality.
It is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is commonly grown in the northeastern region of Turkey known as the East Black Sea Region.
The tea is brewed using a double teapot method, with the bottom pot boiling the water and the top pot holding the loose tea leaves. The tea is then poured into the glass cups and usually served with sugar cubes if you desire a sweeter flavor.
Turkish tea is a great way to experience the warmth and hospitality of Turkish culture. You can find çay served in cafes, restaurants, and even on the streets of Turkey. It is also a popular street food, with vendors selling freshly brewed tea from samovars on the streets.
Turkish tea has a strong, robust flavor and is enjoyed any time of day. In fact, Turkey has the highest per capita consumption of tea in the world, with an annual total of over 6 pounds per person.
Ayran is a refreshing Turkish yogurt drink that is popular throughout the Middle East. It’s made by mixing sour yogurt, water, and salt together, and is often served cold. Ayran has a slightly sour taste (which is not to everyone’s liking) and thin consistency, which makes it a great way to cool down on a hot day.
Ayran also contains electrolytes which help to hydrate you on a hot day, and it’s also a great drink to pair with meat dishes, as it is believed to aid digestion.
Ayran is considered to be a healthy beverage due to its high protein and calcium content. It is also low in sugar and calories, making it a good choice for those who are watching their weight or monitoring their blood sugar levels.
You will find some restaurants will have an Ayran fountain, because it’s so popular.
Related Reading: What Is The National Dish Of Turkey? There Isn’t One…
Rakı is a traditional alcoholic drink that’s common throughout the Balkans. Turkish Raki is often referred to as the “lion’s milk” and is also the Turkish National Drink.
If you’re not familiar with Raki, it’s a twice-distilled alcoholic beverage with an anise flavor, that is typically served with water and ice. When mixed with water, rakı turns cloudy white, which is why it is often called “lion’s milk.”
Rakı is typically enjoyed during meze, which is a type of appetizer course in Turkish cuisine. Rakı is also a popular drink during celebrations and festivals.
4. Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is widely consumed across the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe and is well known for its strong and rich flavor, as well as unique brewing technique.
Turkish coffee is made by grinding roasted coffee beans into a fine powder using a special grinder called a “kahve degirmeni”. The coffee is then brewed in a small brass or copper pot called a cezve, which is placed over a pan filled with sand. The sand is heated over a low flame and is used to control the temperature of the coffee, as well as keep it warm in between consumption.
The coffee is then poured into small cups, along with any foam that has formed during the brewing process. Turkish coffee is typically served with a glass of water to cleanse the palate between sips and is also often paired with a lokum (Turkish Delight) or a sweet treat on the side.
Related Reading: 15 Unique Coffee Shops and Cafes in Istanbul For 2023!
The Best Turkish Soft Drinks
Salep is a creamy, warm drink that is perfect for cold winter days. It is made from orchid tubers and has a thick, almost pudding-like consistency. The drink is typically flavored with cinnamon or nutmeg and is often served with whipped cream on top.
Salep has been a popular drink in Turkey for hundreds of years and can be found in most cafes and restaurants. It is also commonly sold as a street food during the winter months.
Salep has been enjoyed in Turkey for centuries and is an important part of Turkish culture and tradition. However, due to over-harvesting of the orchids used to make salep, it has become increasingly difficult to find and is now a protected species in many parts of the world.
As a result, many modern versions of salep use alternative ingredients, such as cornstarch or rice flour, to achieve a similar texture and flavor.
6. Şalgam Suyu
Şalgam Suyu is a unique drink made from fermented turnips, and can also contain other vegetables such as red carrots, beets or ginger. The name of the drink comes from the Turkish word for turnip, “şalgam”.
It has a salty, sour taste and is typically served cold. Şalgam Suyu is often enjoyed as a refreshing drink during meals or as a way to cleanse the palate between courses.
Şalgam Suyu has been a popular drink in Turkey for many years, particularly in the southern regions of Adana and Hatay. It is believed to have originated in these areas, where the soil and climate conditions are ideal for growing the ingredients used to make the drink.
Today, Şalgam Suyu can be found in most cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Turkey, and it is increasingly popular among foodies who are seeking out new and unique flavors to try.
Boza is another popular fermented drink in Turkey and is made by fermenting various grains, such as wheat, millet, or corn, with yeast and water. It hasa thick, viscous consistency and a slightly sour taste, similar to that of yogurt or sourdough bread, and a creamy texture, making it the perfect drink during winter months.
It often sweetened with sugar or honey and flavored with spices like cinnamon or cloves.
In winter months, you may find Boza sold by street food vendors in Istanbul.
Şıra is a sweet grape juice that is typically served during the grape harvest season (end of September). It is made by boiling the fresh grape juice and adding sugar to taste. Şıra has a slightly sour taste and is often served cold.
In Turkey, şıra is often paired with Turkish cheese or other light snacks. It can be found in most supermarkets and grocery stores during the grape harvest season.
9. Turkish Pomegranate Tea
Turkish Pomegranate Tea is another popular tea consumed in Turkey, and is made by infusing black tea leaves with pomegranate juice or natural pomegranate flavoring. The tea is typically served hot, but it can also be enjoyed as an iced tea.
Turkish Pomegranate Tea has a sweet and tangy taste and is known for its healthy ingredients. Pomegranates have many health benefits, such as being high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
10. Lezzo Apple Tea
Lezzo Apple Tea is a brand of apple-flavored tea from Turkey and is a popular hot beverage. It is made by mixing instant apple-flavored drink powder with hot water, similar to instant coffee. The drink has a sweet and fruity taste that is reminiscent of fresh apples.
Lezzo Apple Tea is a convenient and easy-to-prepare drink that can be enjoyed any time of day, and since it is sold in supermarkets, it’s an easy Turkish souvenir to take home.
11. Nane Limon
Nane Limon is a drink that literally translates to “mint lemon” in English, which reflects its main ingredients.
Nane Limon is made by combining fresh mint leaves with freshly squeezed lemon juice and hot water. Sugar is often added to sweeten the drink to taste. The result is a refreshing and invigorating taste that is perfect for sipping on a hot day or after a meal.
In addition to its delicious taste, Nane Limon is believed to have several health benefits. Mint is known for its soothing properties and can help ease indigestion and other digestive issues. Lemon is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help boost immunity and fight off free radicals in the body.
The Best Turkish Alcoholic Drinks
12. Efes Beer
Efes Beer is a larger brand of beer produced by the Anadolu Efes Brewery, which is the 5th largest brewery in Europe (9th in the world). The brewery was founded in 1969 and has since become one of the largest beer producers in Eastern Europe.
Efes Beer is a European-style lager that is brewed using malted barley, rice, and Hallertau hops. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste and a smooth finish. It’s typically light in color and has a moderate alcohol content, and is the perfect refreshing drink for a hot day in Turkey.
13. Cappadocian Wine
Turkey is not widely famous for being a wine producer, but it does have some excellent quality wines. The Cappadocia region is Turkey’s wine-growing region, since the unique terrain and climate of the region make it an ideal location for growing grapes and producing high-quality wines.
In fact, it is believed that people have been growing wine in the region for more than 5,000 years, all the way back to the Hittite Empire.
Cappadocian wine is made from various grape varieties, including Narince (white grape), Emir (white grape), and Öküzgözü (red grape), which are all native to the region and nearby regions.
Cappadocian Wines are known for their crisp, fruity taste and delicate aromas. They are often described as having a refreshing and easy-to-drink quality, making them a popular choice for pairing with Turkish cuisine or enjoying on their own.
FAQs About Turkish Drinks
Here’s what people usually ask us about drinks in Turkey…
How do you drink raki?
Raki is often served with ice water, though some locals prefer to drink it neat. Despite being served in a small glass, you are supposed to sip raki and not shot it. Before to toast your glass with others for good health before you drink, as this is the custom.
What is the most popular drink in Turkey?
The most popular drink in Turkey is Turkish Tea, or Cay. This is drunk all year round, morning through to night, and is the most popular beverage of choice whenever one gets thirsty in Turkey.
Why is beer expensive in Turkey?
Turkey has a high alcohol tax which means buying beer, especially international brands, to be quite expensive. You will find the Turkish lager, Efes, to be much cheaper as it’s brewed in Izmir and therefore doesn’t have a high import tax.
Trying Turkish drinks can be a unique and enjoyable experience for anyone visiting Turkey for the first time. They are known for their unique flavors and long-standing historical heritage.
Many of these drinks have been consumed for centuries and play an important role in Turkey’s culture.
Overall, trying Turkish drinks can be a fun and rewarding experience for anyone interested in exploring new flavors and cultures.
Whether you are looking for something sweet, refreshing, or exotic, we hope you found a Turkish drink that will satisfy your taste buds from this list.