The significance of beverages in the Arab world is no less than that of the food. Usually made of fruits, they aim to not only quench thirst in this mostly desert region but have also turned into a symbol of hospitality, some of them even have healing properties.
Along with coffee drinking, a special ritual which originated from the Bedouins, the drinking of various teas, syrups and flavored waters is exceptionally cherished. Here's a few interesting tidbits worth knowing about the beverages from the Arab world:
1. Arabic coffee, known as Al-Qahwa, is traditionally offered to any guest. It's made of ground cardamom, mixed with roasted ground coffee and water and boiled at least 15 min. on a slow fire.
Drinking Al-Qahwa is done as follows - first the host pours himself a cup, to make sure that the coffee is truly aromatic and delectable, then he serves coffee to his guest, who is not allowed to leave before drinking one more cup of coffee. If the guest has a 3rd cup of coffee, the host is obligated to promise his guest that he'll act as his guardian.
2. Tamarind water, which is most popular in Iraq and Syria. It's made of tamarind juice, mineral water, a little lemon juice and sugar and is served cold.
3. Mint tea, also known as naanaa tea. It is a Moroccan specialty and one must never refuse it if offered because this would insult the host. It is drunk very hot and is prized primarily for its refreshing qualities.
4. Rose water, which Muhammad advised to be drunk after meals because it aids digestion. It is also highly effective against bad breath.
6. Mint syrup, which is considered to have healing properties. And the fact is that it does. It's effective against cough, while at the same time being beneficial for the stomach and liver. It's made with water, mint, orange rinds, several cloves, basil and sugar to taste.