Drinking Wild, Turkey
Boozehounds, rejoice. Ordering alcohol in Istanbul is not a problem.
Muz and I weren’t sure what to expect before we arrived. We wanted to try local wines but figured that the secular but mostly Muslim population wasn’t concerned about wine availability. As it turns out, that shouldn’t be anyone’s concern. Wine is plentiful but the local brands we tried left little to be desired. It was also more expensive than we thought it would be (much like Istanbul in general).
We decided to try local beer instead. Most places offered Efes Pilsner, a Turkish brand headquartered in Istanbul. Once we tried it, we knew that this was a better choice.
We were in the airport on our way home when I realized that we hadn’t tried the true drink of Istanbul: raki. Raki is a liquor made from grapes, figs or plums. It’s flavored with anise seeds and has a distinctive black licorice taste. Muz hates black licorice, so I didn’t mention it to him. And my experience drinking raki taught me that it’s best sipped on a long, hot afternoon when sightseeing is not a priority.
Still, we had to try it in Istanbul. Since we were about to board a plane, we ordered a Raki and a beer in the airport lounge. Muz was surprised by how smooth and light the Raki tasted. He even drank most of it. Next time we travel, we’ll be sure to try the national drink before we’re headed on a flight home. We may have even found our new motto: travel globally, drink locally.