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The Types of Turkish Liquor To Drink

A guide to the most common liquors from Turkey

Turkey has diverse cultures, traditions, and cuisines; its drinks are no exception.

Turkish liquor has a long history and is deeply rooted in the country’s culture. From traditional anise-flavored Raki to sweet and fruity wines, Turkey has various beverages that locals and tourists enjoy. 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the seven most popular Turkish drinks you must try while visiting Turkey.

Whether you’re a fan of strong liquors or prefer a sweeter taste, you’ll find something to satisfy your palate in the rich and varied world of Turkish drinks. 


Turkish Liquor

Turkish liquor is an essential component of the country’s culture, offering diverse flavors and aromas ingrained in the Turkish way of life, including those we describe below.


Raki

Raki is undoubtedly the most famous Turkish liquor, often referred to as the national drink of Turkey.

It is a clear, anise-flavored spirit produced in the country for centuries. Raki is often served as an aperitif, accompanied by mezes (small dishes) such as grilled seafood, cheese, and olives.

Raki is deeply ingrained in Turkish culture and has a significant role in social gatherings and celebrations. It is often accompanied by traditional music and dancing, making it a quintessential part of Turkish nightlife.

Raki is a potent drink you should consume in moderation, as excessive consumption can result in intoxication and hangovers.


Narince

Narince is a lesser-known Turkish liquor originating from the Tokat region of Turkey.

It is a type of grape brandy using the Narince grape variety, known for its delicate, floral aroma and smooth taste. Narince is often aged in oak barrels, which gives it a rich, complex flavor and a golden color.

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While Narince may not be as famous as raki, it is a fascinating example of the diverse range of Turkish liquors available. Its subtle, sophisticated taste and association with a specific region of Turkey make it a unique and exciting choice for those looking to explore the country’s traditional drinks.


Boza

Boza is a traditional Turkish beverage that has been consumed for centuries, and it has a unique flavor that sets it apart from other liquors.

It is a fermented drink made from bulgur, millet, or rice, and they sweeten it with sugar or honey. 

Boza is relatively unknown outside the country. However, it is a fascinating example of the diverse range of Turkish drinks, and it offers a unique taste and texture that is unlike anything else.

Boza is a must-try Turkish liquor for those looking to try something new and different.


Okuzgozu

Okuzgozu is a red wine produced in southeastern Turkey, primarily in the Elazig and Diyarbakir regions.

The wine is derived from the indigenous Okuzgozu grape variety, known for its high acidity and complex flavors. It is a dry wine with a deep red color and a rich, fruity aroma.

The Okuzgozu grape matures late in the season, which allows it to develop a high sugar content. The grapes are then fermented in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels, which gives the wine a unique flavor profile.

Okuzgozu is a must-try drink that offers a unique taste and a glimpse into the country’s rich winemaking traditions.


Emir

Emir is a white wine produced in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, primarily in the Nevsehir and Urgup districts.

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It comes from the Emir grape variety, known for its high acidity and crisp, refreshing flavor. Emir is a dry wine with a pale yellow color and a delicate, fruity aroma.

People often describe Emir as having notes of green apple, lemon, and pear, with a clean, mineral finish that makes it ideal for pairing with seafood and salads. Emir is frequently served as an apéritif or with light meals, and it is a popular choice for outdoor dining and summertime gatherings. 


Salgam Suyu

Salgam Suyu is a traditional Turkish beverage that is a famous local specialty in the southeastern region of Turkey, particularly in the city of Adana.

It is a fermented juice made from turnips, carrots, and spices, giving it a unique, savory, refreshing, and satisfying taste.

Locals often serve Salgam Suyu with grilled meat dishes such as Adana kebab or lahmacun, which helps digestion. The drink is deep red with a slice of lemon or a sprig of parsley.

Salgam Suyu is also rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for those looking for a nutritious beverage.


Ayran

Ayran is a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage made from yogurt, water, and salt.

The drink has a creamy texture and a tangy, salty, and satisfying taste. Ayran is often served with meals, particularly during the hot summer. Ayran is also rich in calcium, protein, and probiotics.

While Ayran is a simple drink, it is essential to Turkish cuisine and culture. People of all ages enjoy the drink, which is a staple of Turkish cuisine, whether at a fancy restaurant or a simple street food vendor. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we detail some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Turkish liquor.

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What alcohol is Turkey famous for?

Raki is the most famous alcoholic drink in Turkey. It is an anise-flavored liquor often called “lion’s milk” due to its milky white appearance when mixed with water. Raki is an essential part of Turkish culture, and locals often consume it during special occasions, celebrations, and family gatherings.

Is Raki a vodka?

Raki is not a vodka. Raki is an alcoholic beverage similar to anise-flavored liquors such as ouzo in Greece, arak in Lebanon, and pastis in France. It is made by distilling grapes and then flavoring the resulting alcohol with aniseed. 

Are Raki and Ouzo the same?

Raki is a traditional Turkish liquor, while Ouzo is a Greek drink. Raki is made by distilling grapes and then flavoring the resulting alcohol with aniseed. In contrast, Ouzo comes from a base of distilled grapes, grains, or potatoes and then flavored with anise and other herbs and spices.


Final Thoughts

Turkey is home to a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that are essential to the country’s rich cultural heritage. From the famous anise-flavored Raki and refreshing yogurt-based Ayran to the lesser-known Salgam Suyu and Boza, there are a variety of drinks to suit every taste and occasion. 

These traditional Turkish beverages are delicious and offer insights into the country’s history, traditions, and cuisine. For those looking to experience Turkey’s unique flavors and culture, exploring its drinks is a must.

Comment below and let us know what Turkish liquor you plan on trying next!

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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