Growing up in a small town in Tennessee I had never seen any other cultures, but super white Americans. It’s really ironic to me that an indigenous country like Saudi Arabia is where I would learn so much about various cultures. One of the interesting things to me is learning about Arabs in general, people in the west seem to think they’re all just alike, but that’s like the furthest thing from the truth that I’ve seen. They look, speak, act, worship and eat differently. Just like us westerners!
As you all know I love learning about food from all over, especially here in Riyadh, where I’ve called home for about a decade now. One of the things I’ve noticed is how all of the Muslim countries have particular Ramadan drinks of choice during the holy month, kind of like eggnog at Christmas time for Americans. I thought I would make a little list explaining more about these drinks, it’s super interesting.
Believe it or not, not all Arabs drink Vimto during Ramadan, it’s a Gulf thing. My Lebanese friend told me she had never even heard of it before moving to Saudi Arabia. I always wonder how the drink became such a phenomenon in the Gulf, and that it certainly did. Khaleeji’s would never even think of having iftar without vimto.
This is the Ramadan drink of the Levant. It’s a dark, thick drink made from dates, grape molasses and rose water. Typically items like pinenuts and raisins will be added on the top, but for iftar it’s usually just served in a pitcher like the other drinks.
Kamar Al Din
This is another Levant drink, it’s made from dried apricot sheets that look like big fruit rollups. I’s a very sweet fruity thing, and while it’s HUGE in some areas, it’s not something you would find on the table in Riyadh.
Laban, or as we call it in the South buttermilk, is probably the most popular drink for all Muslims. It’s sunnah to have milk, water and dates while breaking your fast, plus it’s great for a fasting tummy.
I always see this dark drink at the Iftar buffets, and all the Egyptians always go straight for it, like the Saudis do the Vimto. I had to try it, and wow is all I can say. Unless you like black licorice (I don’t) then it’s probably not for you. From what I’ve heard it’s quite the process to make, so people usually buy it at stores which make it fresh.
This drink is made from the Indian date called tamarid, and I’ve actually never tried this one, I think I will next time I see it out just to tell you my thoughts on it. I’m not 100% sure about the popular origin of this one, but I think it’s Lebanon, if you know then please let me know.
What are the popular Ramadan drinks where you’re from, or where you live or just your favorites in general?