Like most of the Eastern countries, Iranians have had a long history in extracting a pleasant drink out of natural herbs. Thus, we can talk about a various range of old Persian drinks for different purposes. Drinks that you can try along with dishes, or drinks from medicinal plants; chilling out drinks and hot beverages proper for different seasons.
Have You Tried These Warm Persian ?
Imagine you’ve wandered around the ancient cities in an Iranian cultural tour, or have had hiked and climbed up a high summits just in the cold days. Now, holding a hot cup of a warm drink and inhaling its hot aroma can wash away the freezing feel inside you.
We can surely say that hot brewed tea is the main and the most popular drink in Iran. Most of the Iranians start their day with a cup of tea, have some after main courses, host their guests with tea, drink it when they are bored or tired, and else. Tea is a four-season drink. Though it’s served hot, it is even the most wanted thing during hot summer days all over Iran, even in hot regions like Yazd.
Tea is one of the main products of the northern regions. By the late 19th century, Kashef al-Saltaneh imported tea from India for cultivation in Gilan, a province in the south of Caspian sea. Persian tea has its special taste of astringency and bitterness.
Since alcoholic drinks are forbidden in Islam, coffee found a special place among the Muslim community. Centuries ago it was known as the Muslim drink. Iran was no exception either. During the 17th century, there were many coffee houses in Isfahan, the then capital. These houses were prominent social bases for the people to gather around, tasting this non-alcoholic Persian drink and discuss their issues.
But, the popularity of coffee was decreased gradually. This was may due its far origin. Then tea became the main character of Iranian drinking stage.
From a decade ago, there was a growth in the number of modern coffee shops in large cities of Iran. Though they are good populated gathering places, coffee shops are restricted to certain groups community like youths, college students, and artists. So, coffee couldn’t retrieve its place over tea among the majority of society.
Warm Persian Beverages
Far before tea or coffee, the popular warm Persian drinks in Iran were herbal Persian beverages: herbs collected from jungles, foothills, wild plants and flowers and boiling water which gives you its good-for-something extraction. Mint or chamomile beverage for headaches, thyme beverage and honey for coughs, ginger beverage and honey for stomachache, oxtongue beverage for relaxation, and so on.
But, aside from their medical purposes, they are also delicious replacement for Persian tea. Either you don’t like tea or you want to try a new drink, a combination of these herbs together or with fruits such as apple, peach, orange or else will be a brand new experience for everyone.
Cold Persian Drinks
You are outdoor, under the drilling heat of sun. You are all red and feel like steam is rising from your head. Then you get home and you face jar of a cold drink, ice pieces hanging on top and drops of water sliding on the jar surface. Well, what are you waiting for? It’s time to try sekanjebin. Not only the ice pieces, but also the cooling nature of its ingredients help your body to overcome that heat.
Sekanjebin, lime juice, sour cherry,… are some traditional sweet drinks we use on hot days. They are called sharbat. A combination of seasonal fruits which are generally sour, sugar or honey and water. According to Iranian traditional medicine, using a fruit in its season matches the best with our body needs. So that our ancestors genuinely made sharbat formula and left it for us. Among these drinks, sekanjebin has a long history in Iran culinary and maybe it is an ancient Persian drink.
There is this famous herb, . In Iran we call it khakeshir. Besides its importance in traditional and ancient medicine, it is a good companion for traditional drinks.
Khakeshir together with Basil seeds are commonly used in lime juice and sekanjebin as a strong thirst quencher.
Traditional Drinks for Traditional Persian Foods
In summer, cooling Iranian sharbats are also served with traditional Persian cuisines like Aabgusht. But, the most favorite traditional Persian drink alongside dishes is doogh.
This traditional Persian yogurt drink is a mixture of dense sour yoghurt, water, salt, dried mint powder. Remember to ask for local handmade doogh in Iranian restaurants or dairy shops. Obviously, the fresher the yogurt, the more delicious the doogh would be.
Doogh also used in a special Persian dessert. Can you imagine drinking a sour and salty drink with a sweet pastry? That’s what they do in Isfahan, doogh and bamieh, a delicious Persian sweet.
Drink as Iranian Do
Sipping hot Persian tea, a cup of fresh coffee, or a relaxing glass of traditional beverages, tasting cool unique Iranian sharbats, drinking Persian doogh of different cities with their local yogurt all can help you to discover an unseen culture hidden behind these drinks. Each Iranian tour packages you take, either cultural or trekking, will reveal you part of this culture.