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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for Sip These Must-Try Local Beverages – Thirsty in Abu Dhabi? Look no further!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Sip These Must-Try Local Beverages – Thirsty in Abu Dhabi? Look no further!

In the UAE, local beverages traditionally revolve around coffee and tea. Thanks to its decidedly cosmopolitan culture, UAE's beverage repertoire boasts of influence from its neighbouring Middle Eastern countries. Read onto to learn about five delicious local drinks you have to make time to sample during your next visit to Abu Dhabi.


Arabic coffee – Gahwa

Arabic coffee or Gahwa as it is known locally, is UAE's traditional welcome drink. Served in every local household, a piping hot cup of Arabic coffee is the first drink, visitors should look to try when sampling traditional UAE beverages. Generally, Gahwa is brewed in a coffee pot, which the locals call, dallah, which is then served in small cups along with a generous serving of delicious dates. Arabic coffee is loved by expats and locals alike, and you are sure to find it in every Abu Dhabi restaurant at hotels such as the likes of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara as well!


Mint and lemon tea – Sulaimani

The perfect drink to savour especially after a heavy meal, Sulaimani tea is brewed to a beautiful golden-brown colour and is known to aid with digestion. Concocted with mint leaves, lemon, loose tea and cardamom, this sweet and refreshing tea, promises to awaken the senses. If you are planning on sampling the local cuisine, be sure to order a warm cup of Sulaimani after you wrap up your meal. Most restaurants and cafes serve freshly brewed tea in a clear glass -with a fresh mint leaf floating on top.


Indian Tea – Karak Chai

Karak in Hindi means, ''strong''. Which is an apt name for the beverage, taking into consideration the rich and aromatic blend of loose tea and fresh milk, that makes up a quintessential karak chai. A staple among both locals and expats, Karak Chai is a true classic which can be enjoyed at any time of the day whether it's after a meal or as an accompaniment to traditional Emirati pasties, sweets or even some dates.



The climate in Abu Dhabi is hot and can easily tire one out especially if you are still adjusting to the arid temperatures, so why not opt to cool off with a frosty glass of jallab – a sweet fruit syrup made out of rose water, dates and grape molasses. Emiratis usually prepare the drink by diluting the syrup in shavings of ice, and water and topping it off with golden sultans and pine nuts. Jallab is particularly popular during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, and need refreshing drinks to help them stay hydrated through the day, while they carry on their fast.


A yoghurt-based drink – Laban

Given that Abu Dhabi is a hot and arid desert city, Emiratis and expats need refreshing drinks that help them stay cool throughout the summer. A tasty yoghurt-based drink-Laban is a drink of choice for adults and kids alike during those hot months. Usually enjoyed cold, Laban apart from helping the body stay cool is loaded with plenty of vitamins, calcium and proteins, and is known to boost one's immunity.