Beverages and its varieties

In Gaziantep, beverage culture is one of the main parts of the food culture. The preparation and consumption of drinks is the most prominent part of the social life activity. In Gaziantep, hot or cold beverages can be consumed before or after the meal. Apart from, the coffee which is the most known in Anatolian food and beverage culture, it existes and so unique in Gaziantep because it is prepared by different ingredients. Using local herbs in the syrups and herbal teas are unique beverages in Gaziantep cuisine.

MENENGİÇ (TURPENTINE) COFFEE: This coffee is made from roasted and ground seeds of Antep pistachio. Menengiç fruit is the fruit of wilding Antep pistachio tree (unvaccinated) and this fruit is dried and roasted; at the end turpentine coffee is obtained by grinding those fruits. These seeds are cooked in milk or water and boiled for a long time. Also instead of seeds, crushed turpentine is sold in cans in the form of a liquid which is preferred, for being easy to prepare: adding water or milk in that liquid and they are boiled all together; "turpentine coffee" is then prepared and ready to serve for coffee lovers. This coffee is not well-known around Turkey but in Gaziantep and its surroundings. However, this coffee is considered as curative and that’s why citizens of Gaziantep would keep this beverage in their home. It is used in order to treat sore throat, coughing and common cold.

SYRUPS (SHERBET) AND FRUIT JUICES: Sherbets have an importance for special occasions. Different kinds of sherbets are consumed during circumcision ceremonies, islamic memorial ceremonies, weddings, births and Ramadan month. Sherbets are usually made from fruits such as cherry, orange, lemon, apricot and plum. Orange and tangerine juices are added sugar; apricot and plum fruits are added water and sugar, then they are boiled together, later they are bottled and kept in the refrigerator.

AYRAN: Ayran is prepared by diluting some yogurt in water. Although it is not known exactly when it was found but it is thought that yogurt was discovered approximately 4500 years ago in Central Asia. Thanks to the migration of various tribes, yogurt moved to Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Coast. Eventually, yogurt had become a part of Egyptian, Greek and Roman cuisine. Ayran is a widespread beverage in many parts of Turkey as in Gaziantep. The unique Gaziantep kebabs and pilafs are always consumed with ayran. Because ayran is an essential part of the kebabs and pilafs. Ayran is consumed by copper bowl and copper spoon which are unique cultural material in Gaziantep cuisine. In recent years, bowls have left their place for glass cups in some restaurants, but in some restaurants and homes, they still present ayran with copper bowls and spoons.

LIQUORICE (MEYANKÖKÜ) SHERBET AND “SEBİL”: Liquorice sherbet is consumed in Gaziantep during the religious days, Ramadan months and in the summer. Including Gaziantep, all over Anatolia, liquorice plant is grown in many regions. This sherbet is sometimes produced in homes. It is also possible to find it in the streets where vendors are selling it and carrying it behind their back in the "sherbet bags". During the religious time, liquorice is distributed to people from "sebil" for free. Both consuming in religious days and being healthy, the consumption of liquorice sherbet is very common today and in the past in Gaziantep.

HERBAL TEAS AND THYME TEA (ZAHTER): In Gaziantep food culture, herbal teas are periodically consumed during the winter. It is possible to see people are having teas any time in a day. When all family members come together, herbal teas are consumed with Antep pistachio. Herbal teas such as linden tea, rosehip, clove, cinnamon, sage tea are mainly consumed during the winter. It is believed that these herbal teas are raising body's resistance against cold. Zahter (thyme tea) is also one of the herbal tea which is unique for Gaziantep. Zahter looks like sun-dried wild thyme and it is brewed-up with hot water and served as a hot drink.