Recently, Spin and I got together with a group of friends at La Shish Taouk. I was rather glad that the group met here, as it's a place that caught my attention some time ago, and I'd been interested in checking it out. I'd never had Lebanese food before, and I was curious.
While perusing the menu, I noticed something in the drinks list I'd never heard of before; Ayran. So I asked the waitress about it, and she told me it was a fermented yogurt drink with salt.
What the heck, I decided. I'll try that! I've had fermented dairy drinks before and liked it.
This is what I got.
I've looked up the website since then, and have learned that Ayran is "the healthiest soft drink in the World !"
Soft drink is not how I would have described it.
The ingredients list is water, yogurt, salt, citric acid and what I think was a preservative, but I can't remember the name of.
It looks pretty much like a glass of milk, only slightly thicker. As for the taste.
It kinda tasted like the liquid in commercial cottage cheese, plus salt.
Plenty of salt.
According to the label, the drink is meant to be served chilled. I'm not a fast drinker, so it was room temperature by the time I finished it. The flavour becomes more intense as it warms up.
Spin gave it a try and promptly rejected it. She didn't hate it or anything, but definitely didn't like it. Too salty, for starters.
It was definitely an interesting drink, and I don't regret ordering it, but it's not something I'd order again. I could get used to the flavour, but not the saltiness. I suppose if I made it at home, I could control for the salt easily enough - basic recipes I've found are equal parts water and yogurt blended with salt to taste, so it'd be simple enough to make. Some recipes include cumin or mint, which sound interesting, but neither are flavours I associate with salt.
Ayran, from what I've read, is incredibly popular in Turkey, but when it comes to fermented dairy, I much prefer kefir.