I spent 72 hours in Istanbul, Turkey for a wedding. Here's what I drank:
I spent the weekend in Istanbul for my cousin’s wedding. He’s a chef and I have always had a good connection with him and his sister. I wanted to be there to celebrate their joy. In addition, I was feeling restless in Boston and wanted to do something impulsive.
Here’s what I drank.
I’ll begin with noting that I usually bring a refillable water bottle when I travel because I don’t agree with the water bottle industry. My kidney’s are fine and that’s what they are there for. I didn’t this time, and drank around two water bottles a day provided as complimentary service by the hotel.
I took a direct flight from Boston Logan to Istanbul. It was a breeze. I even slept most of the trip, which rarely happens on overnight excursions. Paired with the inflight dinner of stuffed pasta, I had a lukewarm can of Efes Pilsner. The beer was decent, but I wish it was colder. I appreciated the extra aluminum topper (felt appropriate during a health crisis). It tasted like a typical macro lager.
Sour Cherry juice (Visne Suyu) - I wish I made a shandy by blending this juice with the beer on the plane. But that idea stuck with me since.
Efes Pilser again in the hotel lobby. This time in a bottle. We were going out for dinner and I just wanted something cold and to take the edge off from travel.
Bomonti Beer (x2) - This was probably the best beer I had in Turkey. It was a draft pour and tasted like Cream Ale. I was drinking it a few feet from the Bosphorus. We spent our time on the Anatolian/East/Asian side of the Bosphorus this trip.
Arak - A popular spirit with anise flavor. Served with water and ice, and I paired it with my Cay/Chai/Tea. First of many Arak on the trip.
Day 2: Turkish Coffee - from a confectionary chain called divan. It hit the spot. Served with ice cold water and a Turkish Delight. Split a couple sweets with my mom too.
Champagne (3 glasses) - while waiting for guests and taking photos.
Arak - a few glasses. It was a wedding after all and I was on the dancefloor much of the night. With one glass my cousin’s friend asked if I wanted cheese and melon. I was perplexed at first, but cheese and melon are a common pairing with Arak.
Shots - A tray of shots kept coming around. They were mixed with different juices and looked like a colorful rainbow on the tray. I had about three different ones.
Tuborg - 100% Malt. From the bottle. Never had this Tuborg SKU before. Tasted like Tuborg. But I did notice the branding of 100% Malt on many beer products in Turkey.
Americano - After a swim in the rooftop pool.
Tursu Suyu - Pickle Juice. I was told to go to one of these Pickle stores and try pickle juice from a friend back in the States. He saw it on an Episode of David Chang's "Ugly Delicious". I watched the show and wanted to relive the experience. I asked the receptionist where a good place would be. She said that they may not be open to check out a spot in a neighboring town, Kadikoy. The guy who called our cab said that the spot she recommended was a good place. I had a spicy version. Helped my mild hangover for sure.
Lemonade - We walked back 4 miles from the Pickle Juice shop. I like to see cities from other aspects than just a car. This lemonade wasn't great but was much needed. We also had some Dondurma- a Turkish mastic ice cream- "typically including the ingredients cream, whipped cream, salep (ground-up tuber of an orchid), mastic (plant resin), and sugar." (Wiki)
Efes Pilsner with Cherry Juice - After a final dinner, we went back to the hotel rooftop bar and had a drink. I took 3 straw fulls of my father's Cherry Juice and put it in my Efes Pilsner. Didn't quite land the ratio, but hope to on my next visit.