Dehydration is a major concern for Westerners visiting Morocco’s weather – a dry and hot climate. Luckily, the country has a variety of beverages to quench a traveler’s thirst and acclimate them to the Arabic and African culture of Morocco. Whether you want something sweet, cold, fresh, alcoholic (though that won’t help with dehydration!) or unique, Morocco has enough drinks to keep even the thirstiest camel happy.
Drinking mint tea is a national pastime in Morocco. It’s served at meal times and throughout the day in an ornate silver teapot with a matching set of short tea glasses. Mint tea is the drink of hospitality, and is offered to guests in private homes, hotels, riads and shops. Refusing mint tea is considered rude. Mint tea is made from gunpowder green tea, boiled with fresh mint and flavored with lots of sugar. Highly addicting and strangely cooling, even in the heat.
Though Morocco is mostly Muslim, the country isn’t dry, though drinking alcohol in public is not a smart idea and should never be done near a mosque. Bars in Morocco are called brasseries and cater to males. Single females will find them very uncomfortable, as they will be considered prostitutes. In a group, this wouldn’t be a problem. A better option for a safe place to have a drink is an upscale restaurant or the hotel you’re staying at. Morocco has three local brands of beer: Stork, Flag Special and Casablanca, a full flavored lager. Imported Heineken is a favorite for locals.
Cheap bottled water is available everywhere in Morocco. Vendors even hike to the highest mountain peaks, knowing thirsty trekkers will be happy to buy. The most popular water brands are Ciel and Oulmes, both sparkling and flat. Sparkling is best enjoyed with a meal while flat is better for quenching thirst. Check to make sure the water cap seal isn’t broken. While tap water in Morocco is generally potable, travelers should stick to bottled water just to be safe.
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
A glass of fresh squeezed orange juice is the perfect drink for an overheated, weary traveler. Public squares and outdoor markets will usually have clusters of orange juice stands, carts piled high with bright oranges, squeezed right in front of you in a juice press.
Moroccans are just as serious about their coffee as the caffeine-addicted Italians. Instant coffee would be a last resort in Morocco, and considered very déclassé. For coffee lovers, or those who need a break from mint tea, espresso machines, frothy cappuccinos and cafe au lait are available day or night in most restaurants and snack stands.
Because of the country’s high mountains and French/Spanish influence, Morocco grows grapes for wine, mostly red. The country is divided into five wine regions and produces cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Local wines to watch out for are Gris de Guerrouane and Chateau Roslane.
Where to Drink:
For culture, mint tea, coffee and orange juice are best enjoyed outdoors and with Moroccans either in the medinas or with a shopkeeper while you negotiate the price of Berber rugs or handcrafted shoes. To stock up on bottled water or soft drinks, supermarket chains Acima and Marjane are scattered throughout the country, especially in larger cities. These chains also stock liquor and beer, even during Ramadan for non-Muslims. Drinking alcohol shouldn’t be done in the medinas and women should be cautious about drinking with Moroccan men. Teapots and glass sets are popular souvenirs.
Written by Megan Wood.
Photos by thebittenword.com.