Drinking Age in Istanbul
In Turkey there is technically not a set legal drinking age. However, in order to purchase alcohol at a bar, restaurant or retailer a person must be at least eighteen years old. The laws regarding alcohol consumption had been somewhat lax. However, there has been legislation recently that will change that. The Turkish parliament rushed through legislation that will tighten up the laws regarding alcohol in Istanbul.
The new laws would not allow alcohol to be sold at retail outlets from the hours of ten p.m. to six a.m. In addition, all alcoholic promotions and ads would be banned. New bars and shops that sell alcohol will not be allowed to be opened within 100 metres of a school or a mosque. Even with these restrictions alcohol will remain available in the city. However, retailers are worried about their sales.
Alcoholic Drinks in Istanbul
While Turkey is a mostly Muslim country, the people of the country especially the men enjoy a drink or two. The most popular drink in the country is called Raki. Beer is a close second. Wine that is grown and bottled in Turkey is popular as well.
Raki is an anise flavoured spirit that is clear in colour and very strong. It is similar to French pastis and Greek ouzo. It is typically drunk by adding cold water and then ice cubes. This gives the beverage a chalky white look. It is affectionately called lion’s milk because of this. Some of the most popular brands of Raki are Tekirdag, Efe, and Yeni. Most locals will drink raki while eating fish and mezes.
The undisputed number one beer in the country is Efes Pilson. This pilsener comes in cans, bottles, and on tap. When ordering an Efes Pilson your waiter will ask you what size you want. Most commonly you will be able to choose from a small or big. The small is about 33cl and the big is 50 cl.
For those that enjoy wheat beers Gusta is available. This is a beer that is brewed by the same company as Efes. Heineken, Beck’s, and Corona are often available and the only imported beers that you will typically find in Istanbul.
There are many local wine choices available because of the Turkish wine industry. There are a few wineries in the country that produce wine that is excellent. The wine is comparable to some of the wines made in France. Sarafin, Kayra Vintage, and Corvus are the top choices for both red and white wines available in Turkey.
Tea is the most widespread drink in the country. It is served in tulip shaped glasses. Locals will drink tea at breakfast and throughout the day. You will be offered it in bazaars and shops and even in offices and banks. Black tea is drunk by itself by the locals, but will likely be too strong for visitors. Start with one of the lighter versions and add sugar as nece