Traditional Turkish drinks

Most people who come to Turkey are more than willing to embrace our wonderful traditional cuisine, and that includes beverages. If you’re planning on visiting Turkey this year then you may be interested to know what’s on offer to quench your thirst in the heat of the summer. You’ll recognise drinks such as tea and coffee, but with a Turkish twist they may not be quite what you’re expecting…

  • Black tea – Turkish locals drink it almost as black as coffee, but that might be a little bit strong for some tourists! Ask for a lighter version, and add some sugar lumps to sweeten it. You could ask for milk, but unless you’re in a particularly tourist-frequented area you may raise a few eyebrows.

  • Turkish coffee – This is about as far away from a latte as you can get. Turkish coffee is dark and strong, and is ordered according to how much sugar you want in it: little (az), medium (orta) and a lot (çok ?ekerli). It is drunk in a few short sips, taking care not to drink the grounds at the bottom of the cup.
  • Water – The locals don’t drink straight from the tap, so unless you want to spend your holiday in the bathroom you should follow suit. Bottled mineral water is cheap and readily available so make sure you stay hydrated safely.
  • Ayran – This is a cold, refreshing yoghurt based drink that is made by whipping yoghurt with water and salt. It is sold freshly made in cafes and restaurants and should be drunk as soon as it is made.

  • Boza – This traditional Turkish drink is thought to build strength and virility, and is made from fermented bulgur mixed with water and sugar. It doesn’t sound very appealing, but trust us, it’s delicious!
  • Fruit juices – Bottled fruit juice is sold in most shops but nothing beats the test of freshly pressed orange, cherry, or turnip juice.
  • Raki – Turkey is a Muslim country so alcohol isn’t quite as abundant in some European countries, however the locals do like the occasional drink. Raki is a strong aniseed flavoured spirit, similar to Greek ouzo. Most people drink it with cold water over ice, which gives the liquid a chalky white look.

  • Beer – Efes Pilsen is one of the most popular beers in Turkey, and comes in bottles, cans or on tap. Ask for a small and you’ll receive around 330ml of beer, while a large will get you around half a litre of beer. Some imported beers such as Corona, Beck’s, and Heineken are also available in most restaurants and bars.
  • Wine – The wine industry in Turkey is flourishing and the wine being produced is comparable to the quality you’d find in France! Enjoy a glass of Corvus, Sarafin, or Kayra Vintage with your mezze.


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