Egypt has a heartwarming culture that embraces people from all over the world, welcoming them with open arms and an open heart. One of the great ways to explore the culture and tradition of this unique country is to take a walk through its traditional drinks. There is so much in Egypt to see and do.
But, being in a country with scorching heat through the summer and freezing cold in winter may call for the enjoyment of replenishing beverages. Egyptians have specific beverages that they enjoy through the years since the beginning of time. These drinks have been so deeply embedded in their culture that it no longer makes sense to them.
Some of them are guests on special occasions. Ramadan, for example, is when certain beverages make a special appearance, sponsoring the holy month. There are also hot drinks being the main go-to in winter to banish the shivering cold. Not to mention that there are a lot of hydrating drinks to consider gulping down to quench your thirst during summer.
In this list, we have gathered the most traditional drinks that you should try out while wandering the Egyptian streets.
Being a drink for all occasions, it became among the prominent traditional drinks in Egypt. Tea is the national drink in Egypt. It has been this way for years upon years. There won’t be a place or a coffee shop everywhere around Egypt, where tea is not served. It is an affordable drink and can be easily attained by people of all social classes. Tea with milk is another variation that Egyptians enjoy.
2. Sahlab (Orchids)
Sahlab is one of the most famous traditional drinks in Egypt. It is also the superstar of the cold months of winter, given its warming temperature. Sahlab is a powder made from orchids; it is mixed with milk, vanilla, sugar, and cornstarch. This drink is rooted in several Middle Eastern cultures other than Egypt, including Lebanon and Turkey.
3. Qammar El Deen (Dried Apricot)
Qammar El Deen is a replenishing drink that acts as a special guest, making an appearance during Ramadan. This beverage is made from the juice of dried apricot and has sugary notes that make it quite refreshing and thirst-quenching to consume on Iftar during Ramadan. While it is most commonly known to be one of the Egyptian traditional drinks, it is believed to have travelled all the way from Syria.
4. Sobia in Egypt
Another beverage that is a Ramadan speciality is Sobia. It is a reviving cool drink native to the Arab region and very popular in the Muslim community. Its sweet flavour makes it one of the sugary beverages highly consumed in Egypt, becoming among the traditional drinks. Sobia is made of coconut powder, rice, and milk. It is the main reason you may find Egyptians refer to coconut flavours as sobia.
5. Assab (Sugarcane Juice)
Assab, or sugarcane, is one of the most traditional drinks in Egypt. It is the national beverage of all the juice shops around the country. This beverage is made by peeling sticks of sugarcane and pressing them into a replenishing juice. Assab is served quite cold, providing you with some needed sugary jolt. It is a perfect drink to go for when you need to quench your thirst on hot days.
6. Tamrhindi (Tamarind)
Tamarind happens to be one of the Egyptian traditional drinks. It is also popular in other countries that lie far away from Egypt, like Mexico. The Egyptian dialect has had its own impact on the naming of this drink, going with Tamrhindi, which translates into Indian dates.
The naming has nothing to do with what this drink is about, but it’s the intermarriage of different languages to blame. Tamrhindi is made by leaving small-sized tamarind in hot water until the juice is extracted. The pulps that remain are mashed to get into a liquid form and add an extra flavour.
7. Mooz bel Laban (Banana with Milk)
Mooz bel Laban is basically the Egyptian version of banana smoothie. There is nothing different in the making of this beverage, but it happens to be one of Egypt’s traditional drinks. All it takes is to peel some fresh bananas and toss them in the blender with milk and voila!
Khoshaf is another beverage made of dried fruit and made its way into the list of traditional drinks in Egypt. Not only that, but it is also one of the popular drinks in Ramadanthat fasting people reach to refreshen up and quench their thirst. This drink is a mix of dried pruned and dried apricots blended with mixed nuts, including pistachios, almonds, and pine nuts.
9. Kerfa bel Laban (Cinnamon with Milk)
Egyptians tend to put a spin on most of the world’s most popular drinks, and milk happens to be their own speciality. Cinnamon is one of the famous hot drinks that most people go to warm themselves up and enjoy the spicy flavour that cinnamon offers. Mixing it with milk is the Egyptians’ special way of sprucing up their beverage. It is a succulent drink to consider during the cold days of winter.
10. Karkadeh (Hibiscus)
Herbal tea may not be that popular among Egypt’s most traditional drinks, but hibiscus is an exception. Rather known as karkadeh in Egypt, this kind of tea comes second to regular tea as a national drink in the local coffee shops. This beverage is prepared and served either hot or chilled, offering a sweet cranberry-like flavour.
11. Hummus El Sham or Halabessa
Hummus El Sham is a hot cup of chickpeas that also goes with the name, halabessa. This delicacy is to enjoy through both drinking and eating. It is served with a spoon and consumed like a soup and is a national drink in winter. This drink is a mix of dried hummus, tomato sauce, lemon, salt, and cumin for extra flavour. Other ingredients can vary by region.
12. Erk Sous (Licorice Juice)
Licorice Juice is known in Egypt as erk sous. It is one of the traditional drinks in Egypt and other Arab countries, including Syria. This beverage has a rather bitter taste that not lots of people are fans of, yet it is still highly consumed across Egypt, especially in Ramadan. Erk sous is made from the juice of liquorice roots, providing a black drink with a kind of bittersweet taste.