The curious world of Turkish beverages

The Turks have a number of unusual and curious national drinks. There’s boza, a slightly alcoholic fermented millet drink; yes that certainly sounds just the thing to scull on a Saturday night out on the turps. There’s also salgam, turnip juice, or more accurately black carrot juice. As well as the carrot juice, salt, spices and turnip are added and it’s then fermented. The Man tried it and it tastes like, hmmmm, like Lucozade mixed with Berocca and filtered through a whole football team’s socks after a particularly tough game.  Nice.

Fermented turnip juice

Ayran is another very popular drink. Well, actually ayran sort of straddles the liquid-solid divide as it’s yoghurt mixed with water (and often salt, sometimes mint) to produce a buttermilk-like drinking yoghurt. It’s served at restaurants as a foil to the strong, spiced Turkish food and is also available at bakeries to go with a breakfast simit (sesame ring), pogaca (cheesey roll) or burek (cheesey pastry). In the bakeries and mini-markets, ayran just comes in a foil topped plastic tub; at nicer restaurants it’s ususally served in a silver bowl with a special deep spoon.

Ayran, served in a beaten silver bowl with deep spoon

Ayran and dinner spread

One interesting feature about Turkey is that it still produces its own stuff – electrical goods, clothes, cars and homemade drinks. Very old school. Check out this Turkish cola:

Own brand Turkish cola

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