Sober in Pakistan – a country of uncovered treasure

Pakistan, a populous country neighboured by four others, ruled by several cultures and faiths, has a diversity ranging from ethnics and linguistics to its geography and wildlife. The local and imported beverages of this country are no different. Their diversity is dependent on their climate, local sourcing and westernisation. A country abundant with natural and historical riches, but distressed through political instability, has kept this country off the radar for the mass majority. This Muslim majority state in south-east Asia produces and consumes predominantly alcohol-free drinks and the rest of the world do not know of the wonders this can be. These include:

One of the most famous drinks of Pakistan is Rooh Afza, meaning “Nourishes the Soul”, consisting of a strong rose flavour with added vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. Drunk during the blistering heat of the summer months, it has a cooling effect especially when basil seeds are added.

Another famous drink is Lassi. A yoghurt based drink, originating from Punjab, which can range in flavours from sweet to salty with the most popular being mango. Yoghurt is mixed with water and then flavoured to taste.

Sattu, a drink consisting of roasted barley, or gram flour mixed with water, is originally consumed as a health drink from the mal-nutrition to the elderly. Its many health benefits include low-glycemic levels to help control blood sugar levels and iron and calcium for hair growth and skin benefits.

A more recent combination, in order to keep cool from the sun and mixing western with eastern, is Doodh Soda, (translating as Milk Soda), this combines a soft drink, (usually Sprite) with milk to make a drink consisting of cooling milk but with a bout of energy.
Sugarcane juice, in recent years, has been proclaimed for its formidable health benefits, but the Eastern world have been drinking it before time began. It is sold by street vendors in plastic bags, sometimes flavoured with salt and chilli.


Another recent health drink would be Haldi Doodh, (tumeric milk), which also originated from the East. A mix of warming spices such as turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and ginger heated with milk.


Tea is the most popular hot drink available in Pakistan, with the English tea (black tea with a touch of milk) beginning during the British Empire, through the masala chai from the regions of Assam in India (mixing spices with black tea) to the Pink Tea of the northern regions including Kashmir, consisting of special tea leaves, milk and salt with a distinctive pink colouring.

Some other drinks include, sherbet, sardai, lemon water and qehwa.


See more drinks in other countries here.


  1. This was an interesting read – I hadn’t heard of a lot of these drinks. I love a good lassi and often have a mango lassi with a curry but I had never heard of Rooh Afza, Sattu or Haldi Dodh? Are they fairly common to find in Pakistani restaurants? Is it possible to make them yourself?



    • Thanks, Yes! They are not common in the restaurant but they are really easy to make, I will doing a blog post on the recipes of these drinks.


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