Iranian people are just as creative with Persian drinks as they are with Persian cuisine. Iranian traditional restaurants as well as Iranian households prepare and serve these traditional drinks in different seasons. Hot or cold, sour or sweet, herbal or fruity. Any traveler in Iran can find at least one type of hot and cold drink that suits their fancy.
You can even visit special places called Sharbat Khane (mostly) in Isfahan and Tehran, which only serve cold traditional Persian drinks. And if hot drinks are up your alley, you may want to drop by a traditional Persian teahouse.
Here is the list of the most popular traditional Persian drinks plus their history, variations, and everything else you need to know about them!
Drinking black tea in Iran ages back to the Qajar dynasty, and it has since become very popular with people. Persian black tea has a naturally bitter taste, and has dark, almost black-brownish leaves. Tea is mostly harvested in the northern regions of Iran, where the climate has greatly affected the substance, aroma, and flavor of Iranian tea leaves.
But there is more to Iranian tea than just its unique fragrance and spice. Iranian tea carries a great part of Persian culture and lifestyle.
People of Persia add many spices and treats to their tea sessions. And depending on the time of the day, the treats served with tea and the spices added to their hot steaming mugs are different.
Having morning tea is common among most Persian families, and some even can’t have breakfast without it! A cup of black tea in the morning goes well on Persian taste buds with a cheese and walnut wrap. Or honey and butter wrap, or fruit jam and cream wrap! You get the idea.
Morning tea is most frequently served black, or with a couple teaspoonfuls of sugar. Other than that, morning tea in Iran is served simple and alongside traditional Persian breakfast. Each Persian family have their own tea-drinking habits, but most share the morning tea routine.
Other than that, some like to have their tea after lunch, before their afternoon nap, before dinner, or all of the above!
These traditional herbal drinks have many delicious and healthy varieties. Fruits, herbs, and seeds are used to prepare these herbal Persian drinks (Damnoosh). There are more than 50 different Damnoosh blends, and each has its own benefits and unique flavor.
Damnoosh used to be more of a medical home remedy Persian mamas were fond of. Nowadays, Damnoosh is Persia’s favorite in cold wintery days and lazy evenings. This warm drink is a popular item on every café’s menu, and must definitely be on your list of must-try drinks when traveling to Iran.
Different people with different tastes in drinks prefer their Damnoosh in various ways. Some like to taste the herbal and earthy flavor of their drinks, and have theirs with no sugar or side-cookies. Some like to keep their harbal Persian drinks organic and natural.
These people sweeten their drinks without sugar and add honey as a natural sweetening substance. Most Iranians, though, favor how the sweet and saffron-y flavor of Nabat goes with herbal Persian drinks.
The listed herbal blends have proven to be best in terms of taste and benefits:
Bitter Orange Damnoosh
Damask Rose Damnoosh
Chicory root Damnoosh
This traditional salty drink is a treat for the taste buds. Doogh is a salty yogurt product (usually homemade) mixed with dried herbs and damask rose petals for a more unique flavor.
Iranian cooks even use Doogh as an ingredient in some incredibly tasty traditional foods! Ash Doogh and Ab-Doogh Khiar are two examples of Persian cuisine prepared with Doogh.
Doogh goes well with almost all Iranian foods but the most popular dishes served with Doogh are:
This traditional yogurt Persian drink is even used as a part of the famous and delicious snack of Isfahan city: Gooshfil Doogh!
This is how Isfahan people serve this local snack: Gooshfil, which is a small and bite-sized donut doused in a sugary syrup; is served beside Doogh. The sour-and-sweet flavor that these two create next to each other is an acquired taste, and allegedly very hooking!
Drinking herbal distillates as homebrew medical remedies and thirst-quenching drinks during summer is really common in Iran. The people of Persia put the natural taste of these herbal distillates to use, and prepare amazingly refreshing Persian drinks with them.
These herbal distillates taste rather floral and raw, and so they are sweetened with Nabat, honey, or sugar in a glass of cool water. The result is, simply put, addicting.
There are as many herbal distillates as there are herbs (which are a LOT). Each of these distilled herbal drinks has its own natural and unique flavor. Through experience, Persian families (and restaurants) have learned which one of these Araghijat go well together.
They use that knowledge to make homemade herbal drinks, sweetened and on the rocks, and serve them in summer. These drinks are tantalizingly refreshing and earthy. They keep the natural and raw flavor of herbs while adding a sugary and chilled vibe to it. This makes them a delightful choice for hot summers.
These traditional herbal Persian drinks are referred to as “Sharbat” in Iran. Sharbat is a general term that describes traditional (and usually cold) Persian drinks. There are a lot of Sharbat varieties in Iran and Araghijat Sharbats are just a small (yet very popular) part of the Sharbat category.
These drinks are the most popular Araghijat Sharbats in the country, and you could even say they are the drink-equivalents of comfort food for Persians! Refreshing and classic, healthy, and tasty.
The image above is of the famous and popular Persian drink: Sekanjebin. You can learn how to make this Iranian Sharbat yourself at home here.
As you read above, there are a lot of Sharbat varieties in Iran. Unlike Araghijat sharbat, this group of Sharbats is mostly prepared without herbal distilled waters. They instead mix flowers, seeds, fruits, and herbs to make natural, non-alcoholic beverages popularly served in summer. These Persian Drinks are so popular actually, that even street vendors sell the more popular ones during warm seasons.
Here is the list of the most popular Persian Sharbats:
Basil seed Sharbat