20 Turkish Drinks To Try In Turkey

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Turkish drinks are rooted in the country’s rich traditions and a history stretching back thousands of years. Drinking some of Turkey’s traditional beverages, such as Kefir or Boza, will remind you of the time when humans were nomadic beings roaming the earth.

These beverages preserve Turkey’s history by using the same ingredients and methods brought to the land thousands of years ago. Trying these Turkish drinks is like sampling a taste of history on your tongue.

Turkish Drinks

Turkish Alcoholic Drinks

1- Raki

Turkish drinks raki two glasses of raki with dishes of food
One of the most popular Turkish drinks is raki, which is usually consumed with a meal.

Raki is a classic Turkish alcoholic drink made to be enjoyed with friends and family at sunset.

Always served with water and occasionally with ice, Raki is made from white grape pomace, known as suma, and anise seeds.

Nicknamed ‘Lion’s Milk’ due to the drink’s milky hue after mixing it with water, Raki contains between 40 to 50% alcohol.

Similar in taste and appearance to Greece’s Ouzo and Italy’s Sambuca, Raki ties in with Turkey’s food and wine culture, where good food, drinks and good company play a big part.

2- Öküzgözü

Turkish drinks red wine Woman eating Dolma, with red wine top view
Turkish red wine from the Anatolian region goes down well with a traditional feast.

Öküzgözü is a ruby-coloured red wine made from dark-skinned red Öküzgözü grapes native to Turkey’s Anatolian region.

The region’s continental climate creates the perfect environment for cultivating and producing world-class wines.

With fruity undertones of raspberry, cherry and faint hints of mint, Öküzgözü is often compared with classic Pinot Noir.

Turkish Öküzgözü wine from the Anatolia region is a top-class wine well worth trying.

3- Narince

Turkish drinks white wine
Another popular Turkish drink is the Narince white white, which is excellent for washing down a tasty meal.

Narince is the most abundant white wine variety in Turkey.

It is mostly produced in Turkey’s Tokat province in the Anatolia region, where most of the country’s Narince vineyards are situated.

Narince wines have an aromatic profile that ranges from hints of orange, lime and grapefruit to floral and herbal undertones that include basil.

This unique flavour profile makes Narince wines stand out among Turkish white wines and is a great wine to pair with all sorts of meals.

4- Emir

Another of Anatolia’s great wine varieties, Emir is a light-skinned white wine grape that gained popularity during Roman times when the wine was popular on the dinner tables of the Roman aristocracy.

Emir wines are delicate and still, which means the wine does not blend well with oak and is produced for early consumption.

The grape is an excellent choice for creating sumptuous sparkling wines due to its high acidity and the region’s mineral-rich soil.

5- Efes Pilsen

Made by the world’s 11th largest brewery, Efes Pilsen is one of Turkey’s most popular alcoholic beverages.

This crisp, light-tasting beer got its start in 1969 when Kamil Yazıcı and İzzet Özilhan opened the first privately-owned brewery in the country.

Today this Turkish beer is sold in over 80 countries and is beloved for its fruity aroma and flavour.

Efes Pilsen’s addition of rice during brewing makes this beer stand out and beer lovers will want to order a cold beer to enjoy during the steamy Turkish summer.

Turkish Cocktails

turkish cocktails turkish delight
For a delicious Turkish cocktail, order a Turkish delight.

6- Turkish Delight Martini

While not a traditional Turkish drink, the Turkish Delight Martini was inspired by the country’s popular sweet treat, matching the delicateness and flavour of Turkish Delight perfectly.

Available in upscale bars and restaurants in Turkey, the Turkish Delight Martini puts a modern twist on the classic Martini cocktail.

Made with lemon juice, egg white, grenadine, rose water, sugar, gin and icing sugar as a garnish, sipping on a Turkish Delight Martini after sunset is a romantic thing to do on a nighttime outing in Turkey.

7- Turkish Screwdriver

Created during World War II when American soldiers in Turkey mixed natural spirits such as vodka with orange juice, the Turkish Screwdriver has been a popular cocktail in bars throughout Ankara and Istanbul ever since the cocktail first appeared in the cities in 1943.

There are several variations of the Turkish Screwdriver throughout Turkey, with some recipes calling for a mixture of gin and vodka while others include bitters, cognac as well as orange juice and vodka.

8- Hot Bunny

While this Turkish cocktail has different names, the main ingredient remains unchanged.

Made from Raki, the Hot Bunny cocktail blends this Turkish liquor with pomegranate liqueur to create a refreshing cocktail to drink any time of the day.

The blend of raki, anise and fruity pomegranate combine to create a uniquely flavoured Turkish cocktail.

If you’re in the mood for one of these and don’t see it on the cocktail menu, tell the bartender you want a Rakı and pomegranate cocktail, and they’ll know exactly what you mean.

9- Turkish Delight

This delicious cocktail inspired by the Turkish sweet treats is a dessert in a glass.

Not too dissimilar from a Turkish Delight Martini, a simple Turkish Delight cocktail uses many of the same ingredients but is a less flashy version of the other Turkish Delight drink.

A normal Turkish Delight cocktail is perfect for those who might find the different flavours or the stronger alcohol content of the Martini version a bit overwhelming.

A Turkish Delight cocktail usually contains gin, rose syrup and pieces of actual Turkish Delight candy, and a dash of chocolate liqueur, with some versions even adding some cranberry juice.

Turkish Hot Beverages and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

10- Turkish Lemonade

Turkish lemonade, or limonata, is standard lemonade we all know and love, with a little extra Turkish flair to spice up this old-fashioned drink.

Made by peeling lemons and mixing the lemon extract with sugar and water, Turkish lemonade is much sweeter than the regular version.

Simple yet refreshing, Turkish lemonade is the ideal drink to cool down during those hot Turkish summers.

If you want to try making some authentic Turkish lemonade at home, you can do so by peeling a lemon.

Blend or squash the peeled lemon, then add hot water and sugar before mixing the concoction. A sprinkle of cinnamon adds a nice touch.

11- Turkish Coffee

Turkish drinks Coffee cup of coffee with a bowl of colourful Turkish delight
Turkish coffee is a perfect Turkish beverage to sip with Turkish Delight.

Turkish coffee is unfiltered coffee made in a traditional pot known as a cezve using only two ingredients, coffee and hot water.

The pot is heated until both ingredients reach boiling point when the cezve is taken off the heat, and the coffee is served straight from the pot.

It has a charred, earthy flavour and a strong aroma that lures you into craving a sip.

Trying to fathom Turkish culture without Turkish coffee is unimaginable, with the caffeinated beverage the centrepiece during weddings, coffeehouse conversations and even fortune-telling, when shamans use the leftover coffee beans to read fortunes.

A highlight for coffee connoisseurs visiting Turkey is to try traditional Turkish coffee straight out of a cezve pot.

12- Ayran

Turkish drink kefir Ayran in argil jug with wooden spoon on rustic plate.
Ayran is another traditional Turkish drink to try while in Turkey.

Ayran is a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage consumed in copious amounts when the mercury hits the thermometer.

This yoghurt-like drink is native to Turkey and is often paired alongside traditional Turkish dishes such as kebabs, pide and börek.

Made with yoghurt, salt and water, this Turkish summertime staple dates back to the nomadic tribes who roamed around what is today modern-day Turkey around 1,000 BC.

Ayran is relatively easy to get your hands on, as most Turkish stores sell bottled Ayran but to savour the drink at its best, you need to try some homemade Ayran served in Turkey’s rural cafes.

13- Salep

Turkish drinks Salep
Salep is a traditional Turkish drink consumed in winter.

While Ayran is a popular summertime drink, Salep is the go-to winter drink.

Salep’s unique taste and texture set it apart from other Turkish beverages.

It’s made from grounded wild orchid roots, sugar, milk and a dash of cinnamon on top for garnish.

The grounded orchid roots are rich in starch and have a custard-like consistency when mixed with milk, giving Salep its unique texture.

Extremely popular throughout Istanbul’s streets, where vendors sell pedestrians the drink at virtually every street corner, Salep is a great choice whenever you’re in Turkey during winter and in need of a warm beverage.

14- Boza

Turkish drinks boza in a mug
One of the traditional Turkish drinks to try is boza, pictured here with cinnamon powder and roasted chickpeas on top.

A Boza is a smoothie-like drink enjoyed throughout Turkey during the cold Turkish winters.

Made from millet or wheat, sugar, yeast and water, Boza is lightly fermented, slightly sour and often served with a spoon due to its thick texture.

Usually topped with chickpeas or cinnamon, Boza is one of Turkey’s oldest drinks and dates back some 9,000 years ago when it arrived in Anatolia via Mesopotamia and the Caucasus.

Although not as easy to find in cafes as Ayran, Boza is a treat that’s jam-packed with history and flavour.

15- Şıra

turkish drinks sira
Another drink to try in Turkey is Sira.

A seasonal drink in spring and summer is Şıra, or ‘Shira’, which is made from apple juice or lightly fermented grapes.

The crimson-coloured drink is naturally sweet and sour due to the fructose levels of the fruits used to make it.

Commonly paired with generous servings of some Iskender Kebabs (sliced döner kebab meat with hot tomato sauce on pita bread), Şıra is made with the same variety and quality of grapes used to produce Turkish wines.

16- Turkish Tea

Turkish drinks tea two glasses of tea on a tray
One of the most common Turkish drinks you’ll find everywhere is Turkish tea, which is served in traditional glasses.

Drinking Turkish tea is a way of life in the country and in cafes, tea is usually served in a traditional Turkish tea glass.

If you’d like to try some of the best Turkish tea like a local, steer clear of flavoured teas like apple tea and order a regular black tea.

Authentic Turkish black tea has a high caffeine content and is very dark, almost blood-like in colour.

17- Şalgam Suyu

turkish non alcoholic drinks salgam suyu with fresh beetroot and carrot
Şalgam Suyu is one of the more unusual Turkish drinks.

Şalgam Suyu, or pickled turnip juice, is a tangy drink that is popular throughout the Cukurova region in South-Central Turkey.

Made from fermented turnip juice, purple carrots, salt, pepper, spices, yeast and bulgur wheat, Şalgam Suyu is available in two varieties, mild or very hot.

Often paired with traditional Turkish kebab dishes, Şalgam Suyu is also mixed with other alcoholic drinks such as Raki to dilute the alcohol content.

Packed with vitamin C, this interesting but tasty drink can be found throughout Turkish restaurants and eateries that usually serve it with food.

18- Sherbet

turkish drinks violet sherbet menekse serbeti
A violet-coloured (menekse) sherbet is a refreshing Turkish drink without alcohol.

Sherbet is a deliciously refreshing blend of fresh fruit, such as pomegranates, grapes or lemons, that originated in Iran during the 11th century.

Introduced to Turkey during the Ottoman Empire’s rule, sherbet has since become an ingrained Turkish tradition and is often served at celebratory events such as weddings and Ramadan.

This cordial-like drink is served in pitchers and is popular in Muslim countries throughout the Middle East, South Asia and the Balkans.

Delicious, refreshing and easy to make yourself, sampling some Turkish Sherbet is an excellent option if you want to drink like a local.

19- Kefir

Turkish drinks Kefir in two glasses on a board with wooden background
Kefir is one of the Turkish drinks that is tasty and you’ll find it everywhere.

Kefir is a traditional Turkish fermented dairy beverage that originated thousands of years ago in the North Caucasus before finding its way to Turkey.

Made from mainly dairy milk, yeast and Kefir grains, the drink is a thicker and more sour version of Ayrani, another Turkish staple.

Like yoghurt, this fermented drink is a healthy, easy to make and tasty probiotic.

20- Tursu Suyu

Turkish drinks refreshing beverages Tursu Suyu
Tursu Suyu is sold in street stalls and is a sour and salty Turkish drink to try.

This refreshing drink is made from pickling vegetables, usually carrots, beets, cucumbers, onions or cabbage, in salty brine and often paired with a fish-based dish such as a fish sandwich.

Popular in and around Istanbul’s Eminonu Beach, where you can spot street vendors selling Tursu Suyu to locals, this sour-salty drink is not for the faint-hearted.

Tursu Suyu is somewhat of an acquired taste, but its health benefits make it worth a try. 

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Christina Pfeiffer Travel Writer
Christina Pfeiffer is a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia. She has lived in three continents and her career as a travel journalist has taken her to all seven continents. Since 2003, she has contributed travel stories and photographs to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. She has won many travel writing awards and is a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.