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Ayran - the perfect hot weather drink

It's hugely popular in Berlin thanks to the large Turkish population, and ridiculously refreshing and satisfying.

I made a pitcher today with full fat Danone plain yogurt, but unfortunately didn't have any mint around, which adds another freshness dimension.

I can't believe I never made it at home before -- so easy:

1 pint of yogurt
1 pint of cold water
pinch o'salt to taste
(fresh mint if you have any)

Drink. Repeat.

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  1. That sounds kind of disgusting, but if you like it- rock on.

    1 Reply
    1. Yeah, it doesn't *sound* all that wonderful but all those Turks can't be totally wrong.

      Do you stir/blend/whip? Do you chill it before serving? Is the mint chopped or left whole? I've got lots of plain yogurt and mint as well as an overabundance of hot weather so I may just give this a try.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tcamp

        I whip it first just with a whisk, then use an immersion (stick) blender which works fine.

        Yes, it's best served cold/chilled, and the mint is chopped. Throw in a twig or a few whole leaves for decoration. Yumboski.

      2. If you're Indian, it's lassi, Persian, it's dugh. It's okay if you grew up with it, I don't particularly like it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ferret

          I second your comments in I've tried all variations of ayran / lassi / dugh and I can skip it. I found Turkish yogurt ends up being cultured too much and being quite acidic.

        2. Yeah I'd be looking for a mango, papaya, handful of berries to go with that lineup. Otherwise it resembles part of a marinade I use on pork tenderloin.

          1. I've never been able to stomach this, but dh and my 9 yo dd drink it year-round. When we're back visiting his family, they have Ayran overload, as they drink it all.the.time. They would agree with you, as it's probably their favorite drink in the whole wide world. Dh just puts the yogurt in a glass, adds the water and salt and stirs it with a spoon. No whipping or any special equipment required.

            3 Replies
            1. re: velochic

              Yes, no blender needed, really. I made a new batch just now and just whisked it.

              And lassi is much, much thicker than ayran.

              1. re: linguafood

                "And lassi is much, much thicker than ayran."

                It can be but it doesn't have to be. When you're watering down yogurt, the proportions are really "to taste."

                1. re: ferret


                  That said, any lassi I have ever had (not *made* myself) has been much thicker than any ayran I have ever had -- which is why I consider it less of a drink than a dessert, especially when made with sweet fruit such as mango.

                  Call it anecdotal evidence, if you like.

            2. I saw a recipe for this in one of Claudia Roden's books. I'm not a fan of creamy drinks--really, I'm a water, seltzer, coffee, tea and wine girl--but I think I'll try this. We always have plain yogurt and usually have mint. Our yogurt is Fage, but if I dilute it enough, it will probably work. And I figure I can just do a smaller quantity keeping the same ratio, so there's no waste if I don't like it. Thanks for the push to the other side.

              Oh, and one other thing: How do you pronounce it?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Isolda

                "Oh, and one other thing: How do you pronounce it?"

              2. Your post just caused me to make myself a glass of this. It really is very yummy. I just wish i had soem Turkish yogurt to make it with. It's just slightly different. I rarely put mint in, I like it plain!

                1. Geeze, I am very surprised at some of the negative responses.

                  I do like salty lassi, and ayran is a similar drink, as is laban in parts of the Arab world. Salted and or seasoned buttermilk or yoghurt drinks are imbibed throughout the Middle East, and West and South Asia. As a salty lassi, I like it with black salt along with mint and other seasonings. I've never had a very thick lassi at a person's home, only in restaurants. There is also a related drink in South Asia, chaach or chaas which is buttermilk, and it can be seasoned and then perfumed with coal smoke to make it extra special. Actually, the salty seasoned lassi doesn't sound as appealing to me in a thick form The drink itself is known to be cooling, as well as aid digestion. In Bangladesh, what is called burhani and is pretty much the same thing as a salty lassi is served as a fancy drink at weddings. Ramadan starts Monday. In some places, people break their fasts with the refreshing, pro-biotic drink. As I lived in the Middle East for many years, I have seen many versions of this type of beverage, including commercially marketed forms. I must say that homemade is the most delicious, hands down.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Aid digestion I could definately understand. This is a new concept for me as a beverage. I love yogurt drinks. Ayran sounds more digestive to my inexperienced tastebuds.

                    1. re: luckyfatima

                      I am also surprised at the negative reaction yogurt-based drinks elicit. I remember when I was a kid being baffled by Rick Steves recoiling from a pitcher of ayran when offered it during a Turkish episode. Admittedly I grew up drinking yogurt and similar East Asian beverages like calpis and yakult, so I've always found the combination refreshing.

                      I'd be interested in hearing more of what folks find unappetizing about yogurt drinks whether or not they've tried it.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        I grew up drinking Yakult, etc too but find ayran, dough, etc not to my taste: too milky tasting and the salt just seems odd. I like the Taiwanese style salty soy bean drink with sesame oil though so it probably is the too thick milk taste that I dislike.

                    2. You can add finely chopped cucumber and this is really refreshing. Also some people make homemade yogurt yummy

                      1. Made a glass to drink in my blender with ice and a single leaf of mint. Very refreshing. Drinking it now without the mint - seems I prefer the mint.

                        If I blend several glasses at a time, can I just store it in the fridge and pour when wanted?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                          Yes, I made a whole pitcher the first time around -- tho you may have to whisk / stir it up again in case the water and yogurt separate (slightly). It also gets all nice and frothy that way :-D

                        2. We were introduced to ayran on our trip to Istanbul earlier this year. Once we tried, we had it with almost every meal! Delicious and refreshing anytime; especially good with hearty foods. Thanks for posting this recipe!

                          1. I'm not a fan of the ones that come in a plastic bottle, but I had Sofra Bakery's version when I was in Boston in June and it's delicious. Apparently, they use elderflower soda, blend and put some cucumber slices on top.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: emily

                              Are you talking about ayran or random yogurt drinks? I can't imagine having it with elderflower soda....

                              1. re: linguafood

                                Sofra calls it Ayran, but it's obviously not traditional with the elderflower soda.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  What about with plain soda? I've never had ayran before (although I think I have all the ingredients, so I may have to try it later today...) but the first thing I thought when I read this was that I bet it would be good with seltzer instead of regular old tap water. Yet another layer of freshness.

                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                    That is an interesting idea. I do like fizzy water more than regular -- I wonder if the yogurt would get all weird on me in bubbly, tho.

                                    Also, wouldn't a lot of the carbonation get lost while blending? Hmmmmm.

                                    I'll try and make a batch some time soon. Just had some ayran from the local kebab place -- just the plain old plastic bottled stuff, but yumboski nonetheless.

                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                      Yogurt soda is popular in Persian cuisine where it is called doogh. It takes a little more effort than ayran since you have to slowly incorporate the water without losing the fizz, whereas you can prepare ayran in a shaker. However I just tried making it with extra fizzy seltzer from my Soda Stream (7 pumps instead of the typical 3) and it seems to have to stood up to some vigorous stirring so if you have a carbonator at home, it might come together more easily than with store bought seltzer.

                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        Hmm. Yeah. I hadn't thought about potential loss of fizz. I make fizzy lemonade all the time, but simple syrup takes much less stirring than I imagine yogurt would. Sadly, I have no carbonator at home, but it sounds like it might be worth a try anyway. Worst that happens is the water goes flat and I have plain ayran instead of fizzy doogh.

                                        Maybe if I thinned it a touch with regular water first, then added the fizzy... Sounds like I've got some experimenting to do tomorrow.