Persian drinks are just as varied as Persian food. Whether you’re up for a hot cup of brewed Persian tea or a refreshing rosewater drink with Khakshir (herb sophia) or chia seed, there are plenty to choose from. Since alcohol is also forbidden in Iran, traveling through Iran is a great opportunity to go sober and compliment your food with Iranian soft drinks.
Here is a few drinks you might like to try on your visit to Iran:
Warm Persian drinks
1. Persian tea
Persian tea is perhaps the most common drink in Iranian cuisine. Most Iranians start the day with a cup of tea alongside their breakfast. Tea for breakfast can sweeten or serve bitter as the original taste of tea is. Other than breakfast, Iranians have tea at any time of the day. Whether it’s after a long and busy day at work or a relaxing weekend, tea is the drink of choice for many Iranians.
To add some taste, sometimes Iranians add cinnamon, ginger, saffron, cardamom or even mint to the tea.
2. Persian Herbal tea
Iranian Damnoosh or herbal tea is another common drink in Persian cuisine. The basic way to make herbal tea is to pour warm or boiled water into a pot containing the desired herbs and let it get brewed for 10-15 minutes.
The variety of Persian herbal tea is as much as different herbs growing in the country or even more as there is always a combination of different herbs available.
Iranians’ most common choice for herbal tea is usually orange blossom, thyme, oxtongue, chamomile and so much more.
Nabat (Persian sweet candy), rose water and saffron can also be added to get a novel taste to the herbal tea.
3. Sour cherry tea
One of Iranians’ favourite drinks in late summer, when there is fresh sour cherry, is its tea. The preparation of sour cherry tea is much like other Persian warm drinks. Put cherry, pour water, wait until it gets brewed and then enjoy!
Cold Persian drinks
4. Doogh (Persian yoghurt drink)
Doogh is a very popular drink in Iran. To make Doogh, sour yoghurt, salt and water are mixed. These are the main ingredients for a plain yoghurt drink. For more taste, Iranians add aromatic herbs such as mint or thyme to the drink.
Iranians have Doogh with most of their traditional meals such as Kebab or Abgoosht (Persian meat stew). The salty and sour taste of this drink is a great complementary flavour for the whole meal.
Doogh can also be served as a midday snack, just like Isfahan’s well-known and weird snack, Doogh-O-Gooshfill.
From Iranian saffron to vinegar, Iranians make sherbet with almost everything.
The basic ingredient to make sherbet is syrup made with sugar. Let the syrup cool and then add your favourite flavour. For example, you can make the delicious saffron sherbet simply by adding a little bloomed saffron to the sugar syrup you have made.
6. Khiar-Sekanjebin (Persian cucumber and vinegar syrup beverage)
Khiar-Sekanjebin is a drink made with vinegar syrup and grated cucumber. This is a great choice for hot summer afternoons in Iran. The sweet taste of this drink may not be appealing for some people, but it can be balanced with a few drops of fresh lime added to the drink shortly before drinking it.
7. Araghijat (herbal liquid extract)
Iranians drink herbal liquid extract for the therapeutic effects or simply as a drink. To dilute the extract, water can be added. Sugar syrup or rose water can be used to get a better taste.
Mint extract drink is very popular for Gastro-intestinal discomforts. Orange blossom and pussy willow extract are commonly used for relaxing, especially if they are mixed with rose water.
8. Tokhm-Sharbati (Persian chia seed drink)
To make this drink, first, you should add chia seed to the water and put it aside for a short time so that the seeds absorb water and become Mucilage. Then add sugar syrup. Right before drinking, mix the drinks for the seeds to suspend.
9. Khakshir (herb sophia drink)
You can prepare herb sophia drink just like chia seed drink.
Most Iranians prefer to drink a combination of these 2 beverages. Both herb sophia and chia seed drinks are a great choice for hot summer days, as they supply enough water for the body and delay thirst. For the same reasons, herb sophia is also very popular during Ramadan when most Iranians fast throughout the day.
One of the things you would notice on your culinary walk in Iran is the variety of fresh juices sold in almost every street. There are common juices such as watermelon and carrot, but Iranians also enjoy drinking a glass of fresh pomegranate, Cornelian cherry or even barberry juice.
Pomegranate juice is mostly consumed in early fall, as is the harvesting of pomegranate farms. The juice is made simply by pressuring the fruit. Depending on the taste of the pomegranate, the juice’s taste can vary from being sweet to sour.
You can find Barberry juice more often or even prepare it at home. To prepare Barberry juice you should soak some black Barberry in water for a few hours, then mix and sieve it.
Persian drinks are a complementary flavour to the main meal in Iranian cuisine. They also make a good midday beverage if you have them alone or with some sweets. To experience the original taste of these drinks and the way they are served, try not to miss having some traditional drinks on your visit to Iran.
Photos by Atoosa Moaddab and Matin Lashkari