This time of year, the blankets and fluffy slippers turn into some of your favourite things, and nights in with friends become a regular event. So, what better way to enjoy cozy evenings at home with friends and family than with delicious, warm drinks from this very region? Here are five of our favorites to try:
Popular in Lebanon and introduced to the country by the Ottomans, Sahlab is made by stirring milk with some sugar and a powder extracted from the tubers of the rare Orchis Mascula plant, which gives the drink its characteristic creaminess and fluffiness. Top it up with almonds and pistachios and enjoy.
Qishr is a traditional hot drink popular in Yemen and Ethiopia, and is made of spiced coffee husks (a by-product of the natural dry-process method), ginger, and sometimes cardamom and cinnamon. Give it a sweet twist by having it with a side of dates.
Popular across the region but more so in Sudan and some North African countries, karkadeh is made from the dried calyxes Hibiscus Sabdariffa flower. This hot herbal tea (which can also be had cold during warmer months) has a distinctive red color and slight sour taste, a bit like cranberry but milder. If you prefer something sweeter, add some sugar or a dollop of honey to your cup.
4. Haleeb Ma' Hal
Haleeb Ma' Hal just means “cardamom milk” in Arabic, and it just that: it’s a deliciously simple beverage of cardamom boiled with milk, a rich aromatic drink that warms you up, relaxes your body, calms your stomach, and offers a ton of health benefits.
5. Saffron milk
A delightful drink that has been around for centuries, milk with saffron is popular all across the Middle East and India. Saffron gives the drink its beautiful orange-yellow color and distinctive flavor and aroma, and is filled with a plethora of benefits. Have a cup occasionally to warm you up and treat your body to some care from the inside out.