Sometimes foods and drinks mean more than they actually are. There are unspoken rules, ways and discourses behind them. Indeed, these 5 drinks are part of the culture in Turkey at a much deeper level.
Rakı is the national alcoholic drink of Turkey. With a strong anise flavor, it is initially colorless. After pouring water into the glass, Rakı becomes white.
Rakı, for Turkish people, is not just a drink. It is an experience of culture making. You don’t drink Rakı to get drunk even though it is quite strong. The idea is to enjoy the drink next to mezes, seafood or even a combination of white cheese and melon. Namely, Rakı always goes together with food and warm conversations at the table.
2. Turkish Coffee
There is a saying in Turkey, “The memory of a cup of Turkish coffee lasts 40 years”. The saying already expresses the significance. Drinking coffee is not merely drinking coffee but continuing and appreciating a long-lasting tradition.
Turkish coffee differs in unique brewing techniques along with a special way of preparation. It is boiled in a “cezve”, which is a a small pot, along with some sugar. The more bubbles it has the better it is.
Another cold drink white in color, Ayran is also an essential in Turkish cuisine. It is made by mixing yoghurt, water and salt.
Ayran can be found anywhere in Turkey, and it is also freshly made in some restaurants. Due to its refreshing nature, it is mainly preferred next to meat dishes. Hence, it is typical to drink a cup of Ayran if you are eating kebab.
Salep is a hot, milky beverage mainly consumed in winter. Made of wild orchid powder and sprinkled with cinnamon, it is absolutely sweet and unique. The smell of cinnamon on the streets mean it is finally the Salep season.
Dating back to the Ottoman period, Salep is still quite popular in Turkey. Apart from providing warmth in cold times, it is also believed to help with coughing and bronchitis.
Last but not least, Çay is a cornerstone in Turkish cuisine. After all, statistics say that Turkey ranks first in tea consumption throughout the whole world.
When you say Çay in Turkey, it refers to a particular kind of tea leaves, a particular style of making and a particular type of serving. In Turkey, black tea leaves are cooked in tea pots and then the drink is served in small glasses shaped like tulips.
Çay is extremely common and it is consumed anywhere anytime: at a chic restaurant, at a small cafe, at home, on the street, during breakfast, after lunch, before dinner… In fact, the act of drinking tea matters more than the tea itself.