We’ve covered the top ten Persian food dishes here. We’ve covered the top five Persian desserts here. We think it’s time we now turned our attention to Persian beverages. You may be asking yourself how its possible that there can be that great a variety of Persian beverages. Well, Persian cuisine never fails to impress. If you couldn’t tell from our post on Persian food, Persian cuisine is all about variety. There are nearly more than twenty different varieties of Persian stews, the three most famous of which are ghormeh sabzi, gheymeh and fesenjan. These Persian stews form the bedrock of Iranian cuisine. There are also more than twenty different varieties of Persian rice dishes, all of which use basmati rice as their main ingredient. Each of these rice dishes outputs a distinct type of tadig, or the crispy layer of basmati rice that forms at the bottom of the pot. For example, there’s sabzi polo tadig, polo havij tadig, plain white basmati rice tadig. And the list goes on and on. But that’s enough about Persian food for now. We’re here to talk about Persian beverages!
Most Persian beverages, with the exception of Persian hot tea, are drank in the summertime given how refreshing they are. That’s not to say they’re not delicious for year-round consumption, but they are extremely refreshing and serve as the perfect afternoon cooler, especially for Iran’s exceptionally hot summer days. Without further ado, the following is our list of the top five best Persian beverages:
Number 1: Chaii: Persian Hot Tea
There is no beverage more representative of Persian culture than hot tea, or chaii. Whether it's morning, afternoon or evening, hot or cold, summer or winter, it’s always a good time for chaii. Chaii is seen as so much more than just a beverage. It is something that brings people together for conversation for multiple hours on end. It is a way of welcoming a new person into your home. It serves to lay the initial phases of a business conversation. Chaii is absolutely central and essential to Persian culture.
For large batches of tea, a samavar is traditionally used to prepare Persian hot tea. For smaller batches, it is more appropriate to use a kettle or teapot. To prepare it, bring water to boil. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves. Allow the tea leaves to sit in the hot water for 10 - 15 minutes. Pour a small amount of the dark tea into a cup, and fill the remainder with hot water.
Chaii is often served with small sugar cubes as a sweetener or with tiny traditional Persian finger desserts. The significance of Persian hot tea, or chaii, in Persian culture cannot be overemphasized. It is a unifying factor amongst the Persian people and a tradition that is as old as the culture.
Number 2: Sekanjabin: Persian Mint and Cucumber Cooler
Sekanjabin’s main ingredients are sugar, mint, white vinegar, water and shaved Persian cucumber. By adding more water, you are able to decrease the sweetness of the drink. By having less water, you make the drink a bit more sweet. It is all based on personal preference. The first step is to bring water and sugar to boil. You then add the vinegar, mixing the mixture until it becomes more viscous, or syrupy. As you’re stirring the entire mixture, add mint leaves to give the drink added coolness and freshness.
Once must then allow the mixture to cool, and mix a desired amount (again, depending on preferred sweetness) with water and ice. Shaved Persian cucumber is then added to the mixture for added texture and flavor.
Sekanjabin is extremely unique to Persian cuisine. It is not really a drink found in other ethnic cuisines. It is a mix of both sweet and refreshing, and drinks tremendously well on its own, or mixed with an alcohol as a mixer. Bottoms up!
Number 3: Sharbateh Albaloo: Persian Sour Cherry Cooler
Like sekanjabin, sharbateh albaloo is another extremely refreshing Persian beverage. Many Persians have extremely fond memories of drinking it during hot Iranian summer days. Sour cherries, or albaloo, are a traditional Persian ingredient. Much like how its a pastime to go apple picking in the spring / summertime in the United States, sour cherry picking is an activity many Persian kids would participate in with their families in the spring and summertime.
Sharbateh albaloo is a super simple drink to make. All it requires is sour cherry syrup, which can be found in Middle Eastern supermarkets, rosewater, ice and water. While it’s called “Persian sour cherry cooler,” the drink is actually quite sweet. Depending on how sweet you want the drink, you can alter the amount of rose water and sour cherry syrup in the drink. Normally, the ideal ratio is 5% sour cherry syrup, 5% rose water and 90% water. Just a hint of sour cherry syrup and rosewater goes a long way in giving this drink tremendous sweetness and refreshment.
Number 4: Doogh: Persian Fizzy Yogurt Drink
While all Persian drinks are unique in their own way, doogh, or Persian fizzy yogurt, must be one of the most unique. It’s essentially like a sparkling yogurt-based milkshake. Doogh is not unique to Iran, however. The yogurt-based drink is popular across the Middle East.
In Persian culture, the drink is commonly enjoyed alongside meats, rice and stews. For example, kabob, white basmati rice and doogh is a traditional Iranian meal. Additionally, tadig, ghormeh sabzi and doogh make for another delicious traditional Persian meal. The possibilities are limitless!
Doogh consists of simple ingredients such as water, yogurt, salt, and mint (which is optional). It is then carbonated for added fiziness. Like other Persian beverages, it is not difficult or time-intensive to make, but sure does taste delicious!
The brand Abali essentially has a monopoly on Persian bubbly yogurt. Their whole list of products can be found here. As you can see, there’s an original flavor as well as a mint flavor. The mint takes away from the pure yogurt-focus of the drink, and is therefore a recommended flavor if it is your first time trying doogh.
Number 5: Tokhme Sharbati: Persian Style Rosewater Chia Seed Drink
Any drink that has rosewater is automatically a delicious one. Fortunately, rosewater is an ingredient that is used across Persian food, Persian desserts (see link here) and Persian beverages. Tokhme sharbati is yet another one. But this one has the added benefit of including chia seeds as well! Its simplicity is similar to that of other Persian beverages, as it only contains a few ingredients, namely water, sugar, rosewater, and chia seeds. The chia seeds used in the beverage can be found at Middle Eastern markets.
Now that you’ve learned all about Persian beverages, and had previously learned about Persian food here and Persian desserts here, you’re now an expert on all things Persian cuisine! You can make yourself an entire Persian meal that has all the essentials, whether its tadig, basmati rice, halva or doogh. Including Baaz Bites in your meal is ALWAYS a good idea. Trust us. The only thing that’s left is for you to invite us over for your inaugural Persian meal. It only makes sense, given Persian hospitality standards.