Take A Sip Through History

All this talk of Mediterranean dips has got us thirsty, not to mention the recent haze, so what better way to quench a deep thirst than with some refreshing beverages right out of the same region?


Also known as ayran and tan, doogh is a savoury drink originating in Turkey, made by mixing yoghurt with water, salt and mint. The name comes from the Ancient Persian word for milking: dooshidan. Like a lassi, only thinner in consistency, doogh is always served chilled, making it an ideal refreshment for a hot day. It is also fairly common for doogh to be made using carbonated water, making it a fizzy dairy drink in the same vein as kefir.


A historic drink in Greece and Cyprus, soumada is made from orgeat (pronounced ‘or-zha’) syrup and water. In Greece, soumada is usually served at weddings and engagement parties, being culturally significant due to its pure white colour. In Cyprus however, it is served to welcome house guests. Fun fact: People from Cyprus are called Cypriots, and they’ve been drinking soumada since the time of Ancient Rome.


Sahlab is a warm drink popular in the Levant region as well as Turkey and Egypt, especially during the winter months. While at first appearing to just be milk, what makes sahlab special is the use of saleb, a flour made from a particular species of orchid: Orchis Macula. This flour gives sahlab its unique texture and taste, making it the Mediterranean equivalent of a hot Milo on a cold day.


The summery foil to sahlab’s wintery warmth, jallab is the quintessential Medditerranean summer sipper. A common sight at beaches in Jordan and Lebanon, jallab is made from grape molasses, date syrup and water of both the plain and rose variety. Served with a generous helping of crushed ice, the perfect glass of jallab is topped off with golden raisins and pinenuts.


Grandmas always said “waste not, want not”, and judging by our next drink, it looks like Mediterranean grandmas say something similar. After a melon – cantaloupe or honeydew work best- is eaten, the seeds are collected and toasted before being ground with water. This final liquid is strained and sweetened with honey and rose water. Like soumada, pepitada is used as a cordial, bottled up for those hot sunny days.

Phew, all this talk of drinks has got us thirsty again. We’re going to go whip up some doogh, but we’ll catch you at our B.I.G. Mediterranean Fair. See you then!

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