Sober in Tunisia – Mint Tea and Mocktails

 

 

unisia is considered a dry country, and even though Alcohol is consumed in hotels and restaurants, the majority do not drink and finding good non-alcoholic drinks is relatively easy. The staple being mint tea.

Taken at any time of day, mint tea is drunk in small glasses, sometimes accompanied by a small biscuit. Unlike its neighbouring countries, it already comes with a generous helping of sugar dissolved. Tip: If you don’t like sugar be sure to tell. Also, unlike its neighbouring countries, it can have pine nuts in it.

This north African country, which borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, has the usual makings of a Muslim country, courtyards, medinas and outside drinking and dining, making it perfect to chill out, relax and watch the world go by.

A lot of restaurants and cafes also have television screens as a form of entertainment. As I was there during the World Cup, the World Cup dominated the screens.

Other drinks include sharp bitter coffee, a myriad of mocktails and non-alcoholic beers.

The sharp bitter coffee started as an introduction from the Ottoman Empire but has stayed due to the French. With Parisian style cafes dominating Tunis and menus decorated in French Coffee, it is clear to see the influence. It is similar to the Turkish Coffee as well, but not as bitter and is infused with orange blossom water, an Andalusian tradition. Traditionally, it is served alongside Jasmine flowers, to provide an atmospheric aroma while you drink.

It is prepared in a zézoua (similar to a Turkish coffee pot) and served to the customer, the coffee is savoured, slowly. It is a shared experience, often taken after morning prayers, were friends and family strengthen the bonds of unity.

Non-Alcoholic Beers are seen on every drinks menu and so they should be. The most common being Celestia, a local Tunisian brewery making only non-alcoholic beer. It has a lemon base to it so perhaps alcoholic beer drinkers won’t be quite so pleased, but from a non-alcoholic perspective, it isn’t bad and you don’t mind having one or two.

Mocktails, Ice-Cream Milkshakes and Sunshine. The recipe for a summer in Tunisia (and anywhere hot). Tunisia is full of beautiful white and blue buildings with plenty of outdoor cafes, dessert bars and drink spots just waiting to sit in. The weather is dry and desert-like (the Sahara is up to the road) so icy drinks are aplenty.

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