7 Traditional Drinks of Turkey

How do you imagine your ideal vacation? Swimming, tanning, seeing interesting places… having a nice drink in your hand… Well, let me tell you about the traditional drinks of Turkey.

1️⃣ Tea

When you think of Turkey, think of tea. And get ready to drink it a lot, like really a lot! Turkish people taking the process of cooking tea as a very serious thing. It shouldn’t be too light or too dark! And it has to be super hot so the tea-guy must deliver it in the speed of lightning. Or it has to be served on the fire or minimum in a thermos.


Tea-guy (çayci – read “chaidji”) is the most important person in each office. If you will have to wait in the municipality or any other governmental company office you will see çayci running with his tray up and down, up and down 🙂 And you’d better spot the WC because to refuse the tea is not an option. 🙂 Tea is the best traditional drinks of Turkey.

2️⃣ Coffee

Feel the importance of coffee! In the Turkish language the breakfast called “kahvaltı” – literary means “meal before coffee”. So coffee is the star of the morning and food is just something to prepare your stomach for it. And after drinking it you have to make fortune-telling. So coffee is not just a drink, not at all. No waiter will dare to touch your coffee cup if it turned upside down on the plate. It means that the miracle is happening and your future is being written inside.

Turkish Coffee

3️⃣ Ayran

Ayran is a salty mixture of yogurt with water. It’s a kind of a “brother” of Indian lassi. In Turkey it is a favorite drink next to food, it’s been ordered even more often than cola or beer. It took time for me to love it, but now I am totally addicted.


Be sure to try spring ayran. It looks fun and it is very delicious. It rehydrates you perfectly and normalizes the water-salt balance in the body and irreplaceable in hot summer times. In addition, ayran prevents the reproduction of poor intestinal microflora, increases the secretory activity of the stomach. Many people use ayran to get rid of a hangover. There are many vitamins, amino acids, and minerals in ayran. Ayran is low in calories and contains a lot of proteins. This is an excellent snack.
So next time on the beach you know what to order. 😉

4️⃣ Rakı

Raki is nothing but 70% spirit vodka obtained by distillation of grape raw material with the addition of an extract of anise seeds. Raki is colorless, crystal clear drink. But if you put in it some water, it turns white. Therefore raki in the Middle Ages was called lion’s milk. Raki is the best alcohol traditional drinks of Turkey
Where to drink raki the best?


1. Fish restaurant; In Turkey, it is like this: fish restaurant = drinking raki.

2. Meyhane; This is a restaurant which serves an enormous amount of meze (small hot or cold starters) and raki.

How to drink raki right? Pour raki into a narrow, tall glass (special raki-glass) – 1/4 for a single serving and 1/2 for a double, then add water and put 1-2 ice-cubes.

5️⃣ Şalgam (Shalgam)

OK, this is the freakiest drink I’ve ever tried! Actually it looks very tempting. Especially when you see that many Turkish people happily drinking this wine-colored liquid… Don’t fall for that trap! It is nothing like pomegranate juice (as I imagined)! it is salty and more like a marinade for tomatoes. And it is a fermented juice of black carrot! The first sip was like a punch in my face 🙂


As you know alcohol dehydrates the body, Shalgam compensates water balance perfectly. So quite often shalgam and raki being served together.

6️⃣ Sahlep

This one is an ideal winter drink. It is high in calories and hot, it can quickly warm up your body.
The main ingredient is salep flour. It is made of dried roots of wild Anatolian mountain orchids – Serapias. 
With a pinch of cinnamon on top, flavored with rose water or orange zest sahlep will cuddle you in a cocoon of cozy smell. Hot and sweet. Perfect. 
When you will spend winter in Turkey try once to replace your latte or hot chocolate with sahlep and you will see.

7️⃣ Boza

Here we go again! Don’t fall for its look. 🙂 It is not even close to sweet sahlep, even though it looks very alike.  Even a pinch of cinnamon is there. 🙂


It is made of slightly fermented wheat, corn or millet. Sahlep came to the Ottomans kitchen from the Arabs, and boza is a heritage of the nomadic Turkic people. I don’t like boza as much as love sahlep. It is a sweet and sour drink, something between kefir and beer. The consistency of it is like a liquid sour cream. It’s often eaten with a spoon with sprinkle cinnamon and leblebi (roasted chickpeas beans) on top. However, boza is a very useful drink, it contains basic vitamins – A, B, B1, B2, B3, C, E. Also phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. This drink improves digestion and can be called a ready-made sports nutrition.

I didn’t include wine on this list, because the wine industry is quite young in Turkey. Yet Turkey has some very good sorts of wine indeed. You can find great fruit wine in Shiringe village (close to Izmir). Also tart wines from the vineyards of the volcanic soil of Cappadocia. Several aromatic Aegean wines are among the ten best wines in the world and their excellent taste is gold medals awarded.

Besides, the wine in Turkey is so good that it deserves a separate blog post. Promise to write about it soon. Please subscribe to not miss it.

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