Looking for a guide in drinking alcohol in Morocco and other Moroccan drinks to try? Let’s dive in on this guide.
Morocco, a country rich in culture, history, and culinary delights, is as intriguing for its beverages as it is for its beautiful landscapes. While the country’s religious and cultural norms may lead to certain misconceptions about the availability of alcohol, the truth is, the experience of drinking alcohol in Morocco varies depending on where you are and who you’re with.
From traditional Moroccan drinks to a burgeoning beer and wine industry, let’s delve into the captivating world of beverages in this North African gem.
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The Culture of Alcohol in Morocco
Morocco is predominantly a Muslim country, where religious teachings discourage the consumption of alcohol. However, Morocco is also a country of contrasts and surprises. While public drunkenness is frowned upon, alcohol is available in certain environments. In major cities and tourist areas, many hotels, restaurants, and bars serve alcohol.
Morocco also has a growing wine industry, thanks to its French colonial history, and Moroccan wines are gaining international recognition for their quality.
A Closer Look at Moroccan Drinks
More than just a beverage, Moroccan mint tea is a sign of hospitality, friendship, and tradition. Made from a base of green tea, fresh mint leaves, and sugar, the tea is served throughout the day and at all meals. The tea is often served from a height to create a froth on top, and it’s customarily consumed three times a day.
Fresh Fruit Juices
With the abundance of fresh fruits available in Morocco’s markets, it’s no surprise that fresh fruit juices are a common delight. Stalls in the market will offer a variety of seasonal juices, like orange, avocado, pomegranate, and strawberry. These drinks offer a refreshing break from the heat of the day.
Moroccan Coffee (Nous-Nous)
Meaning ‘half-half’ in Arabic, nous-nous is a coffee drink made from equal parts of coffee and hot milk. It’s less strong than an espresso but more potent than a cafe au lait, making it a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
This traditional Berber drink is a type of fermented buttermilk. It has a unique sour taste and slight effervescence, making it an interesting beverage to try if you’re feeling adventurous.
Despite Morocco being a predominantly Muslim country, the production and consumption of wine are legal. The country’s French colonial history has led to a strong wine industry, with vineyards primarily in Meknès and Fès. Notable varietals include Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsaut.
Sharbat is a type of drink made from fruits or flower extracts mixed with sugar and water. There are various versions of Sharbat, such as those made from rose or orange blossoms. These beverages are typically served chilled and are especially refreshing in the Moroccan heat.
While it might sound unusual, blended avocado, often mixed with milk and sugar, is a popular and nutritious Moroccan beverage. It’s thick, creamy, and more like a smoothie.
Where to Try Moroccan Drinks
For a genuine experience, here are some locations where you can sample traditional Moroccan drinks:
- Cafe Arabe: Located in Marrakech, this cafe offers a variety of Moroccan beverages, including mint tea and local wines, in an authentic setting.
- Cafe Maure: Situated in the historical district of the Kasbah in Rabat, Cafe Maure offers an excellent setting to enjoy traditional mint tea and nous-nous, with a view of the Bou Regreg river.
- La Sqala: Based in Casablanca, La Sqala is a charmingly renovated 18th-century fort that serves a variety of local drinks, including excellent Moroccan coffee and fresh fruit juices.
- Le Bar a Vin: Located in Marrakech, this bar is known for its wide selection of Moroccan wines, providing a great opportunity to sample the local produce.
Remember, these drinks and locations offer more than just a way to quench your thirst – they provide a window into the culture and lifestyle of Morocco. Whether you’re a teetotaler or a wine connoisseur, there’s something to satisfy everyone’s palate in this vibrant country.
FAQs on Alcohol and Drinks in Morocco
- What do Moroccans drink for breakfast? In the morning, Moroccans typically drink mint tea or coffee, often accompanied by bread, jam, and olive oil or Argan oil.
- Is it legal to drink alcohol in Morocco? Yes, it is legal to drink alcohol in Morocco. However, public consumption is generally frowned upon, and it’s recommended to enjoy your drink in private or designated places like bars, hotels, and restaurants.
- Is Moroccan wine good? Yes, Moroccan wine is of high quality and is gaining international recognition. The country’s diverse climate and terrain contribute to the variety of wines produced here.
- What non-alcoholic drinks are popular in Morocco? Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco. Coffee and fresh fruit juices are also popular non-alcoholic options.
Understanding Haram in Morocco
While exploring the vibrant culture and captivating landscapes of Morocco, it’s important to respect and understand the local customs and beliefs. “Haram” is a term in Islamic law that means “forbidden” or “prohibited.” It refers to any actions, behaviors, or substances considered sinful or impermissible. For example, the consumption of pork and alcoholic beverages is haram.
However, while alcohol is considered haram, its production and consumption are legal in Morocco, and it’s available in various tourist areas and restaurants. But remember, discretion is key, and public drunkenness is heavily frowned upon.
Halal Foods and Drinks in Morocco
On the other hand, “Halal” refers to what is permissible or lawful in Islamic law. In the context of food and beverages, it means that the item has been prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary laws. This includes the method of slaughtering animals for meat and avoiding certain ingredients like alcohol and pork.
In Morocco, a majority of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls adhere to halal principles, offering travelers a wide array of dishes to enjoy without concern. As always, if you’re unsure about a particular dish or ingredient, don’t hesitate to ask.
Final Thoughts on Alcohol in Morocco and Moroccan Drinks
Drinking alcohol in Morocco may be different than what you’re used to, but it offers an insight into the country’s culture, traditions, and history. Whether you’re sipping on traditional mint tea, tasting a local Moroccan wine, or sampling fresh fruit juice in a bustling souk, Moroccan drinks tell a tale of the country’s rich and diverse cultural tapestry. So, the next time you visit, be sure to explore and indulge in the myriad beverages that Morocco has to offer. You might be surprised by the breadth and quality of the options available.
Remember, this article is about understanding and appreciating the beverage culture in Morocco. If you do choose to consume alcohol during your visit, please do so responsibly and with respect for the local culture and laws.
About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.