TRADITIONAL TURKISH BEVERAGES IN ISTANBUL’S CUISINE
While carbonated beverages and fizzy drinks are usually served before or during the meals in cuisines across the world, Ottoman and Turkish cuisine has been enriched with drinks such as natural beverages, ayran (a yoghurt drink), delicious sharbats made of various fruits and plants that are rich in smell and taste, and Turkish coffee, which is served best after a meal. Indeed, Turkish cuisine is a fusion of various tastes, and has a wide range of all types of beverage choices. You should definitely learn about the authentic beverage culture of Turkish cuisine, and try out the brilliant tastes that you won’t forget.
Turkish tea has a very special taste that is not found in most of the parts of the world. Tea, the essential part of breakfasts, has also became a symbol in Istanbul with the combination of simit (Turkish bagel). It can be drank during any time of the day, with or without a meal. You can get rid of the day’s tiredness with a strong cup of tea. A symbol of our hospitality and friendliness, tea is happily served in a slim glass at almost every place that you visit. Enjoy your tea!
The characteristic of Turkish coffee that makes it special compared to the coffees of the world is its method of brewing and serving. Coffee took its place at the top of the imperial cuisine in 1551. It is a special drink that gives a ceremonial atmosphere with its serving method. Roasted coffee beans are poured down to coffee cups after being brewed in copper coffee pots until they are foamy, and served with a delight and a glass of water. A cup of coffee drank after a heavy meal relieves the stomach and refreshes the mind and body. During your trip to the Grand Bazaar, you should definitely try the Turkish coffee that’s prepared and served according to the tradition.
The essential part of Winter months, salep, is also one of the rare delicacies of Turkish cuisine. In fact, it needs to be on the top of the list of beverages in a menu. Served in wide cups that preserve the temperature with cinnamon sprinkled on the top, salep also brings a lot of health benefits. In Istanbul, salep is one of the best beverages to drink while navigating over the cold waters of the Bosporus on the City Line Ferries.
Rose hip, sage, linden, and many other types of teas are also found among the world of warm beverages.
These drinks have been enjoyed by Turks from the past to the present.
Ayran is a beverage that have spread across the world by Turks. Ayran, a delicious beverage which is prepared using yoghurt, water and optionally salt, goes amazingly well with main courses and snacks. Served after being whipped in churns until its foamy or machines in today’s world, ayran is sold in packages or in open containers. It can be said that it plays a vital role in meals with its probiotic and digestion-relieving characteristics. A cup of ayran will definitely help if you want to cool off during hot summer days.
Even though it is served cold, boza is widely consumed during Fall and Winter months and it is one of the most well-known among our traditional drinks. In the past, boza sellers would roam the streets with copper vessels at night and would shout “Bozaaaa!” to sell their drink to people. Now, there are almost no boza sellers roaming the streets at night, but boza is still being sold to its fans around various places and markets in its brand-new packaging. Even though it seems like it has an unpleasant taste at first, it will be a taste that you will never forget after trying a cup of it. Do not forget to put some cinnamon and roasted chickpeas.
Known as a natural antibiotic, kefir provides probiotics that are healthy for the body. It is widely known for its benefits on immune system and digestion system, and it is also recommended for the elderly and children because of its positive effects on bones.
Kefir, a drink that can be consumed every day if liked, is also an interesting beverage for the tourists. There are fruit flavored kefir drinks for those that don’t like it plain.
The juice obtained from the fermentation of turnip and purple carrot pickles is served cold. With spicy and non-spicy variants, salgam is widely consumed in kebab restaurants and is often offered to foreign tourists. Salgam, with a taste that is both sour and salty at the same time, is one of the most original tastes of our traditional beverages.
Raki comes first among the traditional alcoholic drinks found in Turkish cuisine. Raki, which is primarily consumed with meals, can be served diluted with water, salgam or spring water differently from other alcoholic drinks.
Raki highly influences people who are unfamiliar with it because of its high alcohol content, and it is especially served in marine products restaurants together with several appetizers.
SHARBATS FROM THE OTTOMANS TO THE PRESENT
Ottoman sharbats stand out in Turkish cuisine with their naturalness by rightfully deserving their world-famous tastes and attractive colors. These delicious and nutritious beverages are made from fruits, spices and flower extracts. They are considered as beverages with healing features and used against illnesses and health related troubles.
The sharbat culture is spread over a wide region, thus it has hundreds of flavors. Honey, rose petals, fruits, spices, dried nuts and mixtures of these are widely used in preparation of a sharbat.
Moreover, sharbats are commonly preferred to cool off during hot days and to relieve the digestive system after meals.
Some of these sharbat types can be listed as rose, quince, blackberry, rhubarb, mulberry, currant, sour grape, cornelian cherry, tangerine, pomegranate, corn poppy, jasmine, hibiscus, lily, tamarind, almond, rosehip, and hop syrups.
Rose Sharbat is an Ottoman sharbat that is not boiled while preparing. Rose Sharbat, one of the traditional Ottoman beverages, is a sharbat that is easily prepared and consumed in the past to freshen up and to improve the smell of the body and sweat. Sharbats are also prepared with various fruits and flower extracts besides rose.
It is prepared by rubbing the rose petals with sugar or honey, then adding lemon juice and drinking water to be left in the refrigerator in a firmly closed container. You must try out this delicious beverage.
The secret to quince sharbat is adding the seeds and peel of the quince to the boiled sharbat to give it a nice consistence and color. The sharbat is served after it is cooled and filtered.
Thought to have many health benefits, tamarind is a fruit with a hard shell. It is also known as the Indian date fruit. Tamarind, after peeling its shell, is left in water overnight and then boiled. The sharbat can also be served with cloves and cinnamon.
Corn Poppy Sharbat
Only the petals of the corn poppy are picked, and they are put in a mixture of lemon juice, lemon salt and water to be left in a jar between 3 days and 1 week until it gets a red color, then the sharbat mixture becomes ready to serve.
Hot water, cinnamon bars, and cloves are placed in a cooking pot and boiled for five minutes. Then, cinnamon bars are taken out from the pot and the stove is turned off. The mixture is left to wait for twenty minutes with dried hibiscus flowers, lemon salt and sugar. Then, the prepared sharbat can be served cold.
The seeds of cornelian cherries are taken out and squashed, and then the seeds are left to wait overnight in hot water. The seeds are filtered the next day, and may be sweetened using a sweetener.
Sour Grape Sharbat
Sour grapes, also known as unripe grapes, are thought to have significant health benefits and can also be used to make sharbat besides fermented juice and sour. The important thing to remember while making sour grape sharbat is to add the sour grape juice to a cool pot of water that was previously boiled with sugar or any sweetener of your choice.
Mint and Lemon Sharbat
Known for its pleasant smell and relieving effects on the stomach, mint also is a key ingredient of one of the most refreshing sharbats. The sharbat is prepared by adding mint leaves, lemon juice, drinking water, clove and honey to a bottle and thoroughly mixing them to be served cold.
Cinnamon, an ingredient used in many sharbats, is also consumed as a sharbat for it is a very suitable spice for Turkish cuisine. The sharbat is prepared by boiling cloves, cinnamon bars and honey, and is served after it is filtered.