Ayran, National Beverage of Turkey
Monday, July 16, 2012
I’ve been immersed in Turkish culture and food lately. Tonight I’m giving my first class of three Turkish classes at the New York Open Center. We will start off the meal with Aryan, which is one of the national beverages of Turkey. Rumi, the great 13th century mystic and poet, who cloaked spiritual truths in food terminology, referenced this beloved drink when he said that “just as the fat is hidden in ayran, the essence of truth is buried in lies.”
Just like any other food, in Turkey there are delicious versions of this drink that are made fresh, and then there are insipid packaged varieties. You make it yourself by straining yogurt until really thick, which takes about 6 hours. Make sure to use full-fat organic (preferably with the cream on top) for best results. Whisk a cup of the thick yogurt with water (about three cups) until frothy. Add about ¼ teaspoon salt and whisk that in as well.
I like serving it in small tea cups like an aperitif.
Ayran Served in a Turkish Tea Cup
This is what ayran looks like in Turkey, when it’s made fresh. It’s frothed with a machine and resembles cappuccino foam on steroids.
Ayran Foamed by Machine
It’s often served in beautiful mugs.
This next example was the most spectacular and the foamiest ayran that I tasted.
Direct Way to Drink Ayran
How does this man, with the most dashing mustache in Turkey, drink his Ayran? Amazing hair this man has, but a little awkward when drinking Ayran.
You can drink Ayran with a ladle, especially when it’s that frothy.
Taming the Froth
What a way to enjoy yogurt!