Ayran is a popular drink of water and yoghurt not unlike the Finnish/Russian buttermilk or Indian lassi, but always served without sugar and, in fact, typically with a little salt added. A version loved by the locals kÃ¶pÃ¼klÃ¼ ayran is a delicacy if you're travelling by bus over the Toros Taurus Mountains. Ask for yayÄ±k ayranÄ± or kÃ¶pÃ¼klÃ¼ ayran.
Turkish coffee kahve, served in tiny cups, is strong and tasty, just be careful not to drink the slugdy grounds at the bottom of the cup. It is much different than the so called Turkish coffees sold abroad. Sade kahve is served black, while as Åekerli, orta Åekerli and Ã§ok Åekerli will get you a little, some or a lot of sugar in your cup.
Instant coffees, cappuccinos, and espressos are gaining more popularity day by day, and can be found with many different flavours.
Despite coffee takes a substantial part in national culture, tea Ã§ay is also very popular and is indeed the drink of choice, and most Turks are heavy drinkers of tea in daily lives. Having entered the scene just in 1930s, tea quickly gained ground against coffee due to the fact that Yemen, the traditional supplier of coffee in Turkey then, was cut off from the rest of Ottoman Empire in early 20th century, and the first tea plants took root in Eastern Karadeniz after some unsuccessful trials to grow it in the country, as a result of protectionist economic politics that were put into effect after WWI. Be careful, if your tea is prepared by locals, it can be much stronger than you're used to. Although it is not native-typical and a rather touristic feature, you have to taste the special apple tea elma Ã§ayÄ± or sage tea adaÃ§ayÄ±, literally island tea of Turkey!
Boza is a traditional cold, thick drink that originates from Central Asia, but also common in several Balkan countries. It is fermented bulgur a kind of wheat with sugar and water additions. Vefa Bozacisi (http://www.vefa.com.tr/en...) is the most known and traditional producer of boza in Istanbul. In Ankara, you get excellent Boza from Akman Boza Salonu in the old city in Ulus. Boza can also be found on the shelves of many supermarkets, especially in winter, packaged in 1-litre PET bottles. However these bottled bozas lack the sourness and consistency of traditional boza, they are sweeter and less dense.
Sahlep is another traditional hot drink, made from milk, orchid root and sugar, typically decorated with cinnamon. It is mostly preferred in winter and can be found in cafes and patisseries pastane. You can also find instant sahlep in many supermarkets sold with the name HazÄ±r Sahlep.
Red Poppy Syrup is one of the traditional turkish drinks made of red poppy petals, water and sugar by natural ways. Bozcaada is famous with red poppy syrup. (http://gelincik.bozcaada....)
International brands of colas, sodas and fruit-flavoured sodas are readily available and much consumed alongside some local brands. Please note, in Turkish, soda means mineral water, whereas what is called as soda in English is gazoz or sade gazoz in Turkish.
While a significant proportion of the Turks are devout Muslims, alcoholic beverages are legal, widely available, and thoroughly enjoyed by the locals. The local firewater of choice is rakÄ±, an anise-flavoured liquor double distilled from fermented grape skin. It is usually mixed with water and drunk with another glass of iced water to accompany it. You may order 'tek' single or 'duble' double to indicate the amount of rakÄ± in your glass. RakÄ± is a national drink of Turkey. Make sure to try it but don't overindulge as it is very potent! Remember not to mix it with anything else. There is a wide selection of different types in supermarkets. Mey (http://www.mey.com.tr/u_r...), and Efe RakÄ± (http://www.eferaki.com/) are two of the biggest producers. Only the connaisseurs know which type is the best. Yeni RakÄ± which is a decent variety has the wÄ±dest distribution and consumption.
As for Turkish wine, the wines are as good as the local grape varieties. Kalecik KarasÄ± from Ankara, KarasakÄ±z from Bozcaada, ÃkÃ¼zgÃ¶zÃ¼ from ElmalÄ±, BoÄazkere from DiyarbakÄ±r are some of the most well-known varieties. The biggest winemakers are KavaklÄ±dere (http://www.kavaklidere.com), Doluca (http://www.doluca.com/), Sevilen (http://www.sevilengroup.com/), and Kayra (http://www.kayrasaraplari.com/) with many good local vineyards especially in the Western part of the country. In addition liquory fruit wines of Åirince near Izmir are well worth tasting. One specific sweet red wine to try while you're there is Talay Kuntra (http://www.talay.com.tr/).
There are two major Turkish breweries. Efes (http://www.efespilsener.com/) and Tekel BirasÄ± (http://www.mey.com.tr/u_b...) are two widely known lagers. In addition, you can find locally brewed Tuborg, Miller, Heineken, and Carlsberg too.