From Istanbul’s Meyhanes to traditional tables throughout Southern Turkey, Yeni Raki isn’t always the only drink you’ll see on the raki tables. Alongside homemade plates of meze, puffed pittas and the perfect serve, you might also find a thick, deep-red coloured juice, otherwise known as salaam suyu.
Red carrots and aromatic turnips
Made from fermenting red carrots and aromatic turnips in barrels, the two drinks are designed to be sipped in combination with meze dishes. As Yeni Raki’s the rich aniseed flavour meets the earthy sourness of the red carrot pickle juice your palate will holler in happiness.
Fermentation is going through quite a revival, with global delights from Germany’s Sauerkraut to Korea’s kimchi kicking our tastebuds into shape. We turned to probably the most humble of the bunch, the pickle. Heading to London’s The Pickle House, we met it’s founder, Florence Cherruault, who’s taken it upon herself to give this traditional combination a modern tang.
Two years ago, Florence spent months perfecting her very own Original Pickle Juice upon trying the drink for the first time in New York. She returned with a mission to bring the state-side obsession to her home city:
Secret is time
“I think the secret to a good pickle juice is time. I love the process; pickling is, by nature, a slow process. It takes at least ten weeks to infuse the pickles and spices in the vinegar, transforming something that’s completely undrinkable to a sweet and spicy juice that tastes rather lovely.
All natural ingredients are also important. These days people care what’s in their bodies. Pickling is a way to preserve foods in an all-natural way; no chemicals and no E-numbers. Not only is it rammed full of electrolytes (which makes it great to re-hydrate), our Original Pickle Juice is a little yellow in colour because it has turmeric in it, so brings extra anti-inflammatory properties, making it extra healthy. In the future I want to branch out into different flavours, but for now, really it’s educating people on how to drink it.
There’s this love/hate relationship with pickle juice. It’s always interesting watching people try it for the first time, their anticipation of trying it followed by the surprise, delight or horror afterwards. I like how there’s this controversy with it, not everyone will like it and that’s okay. It automatically gives it a personality.
For me, of course I love it. I’ve found it sneaking into my cooking too. After a long day I love to relax by cooking homely dishes for my family and friends. I splash it over a whole chicken before roasting it in the oven and I use it to give my salad dressings an extra kick. Travel influences my cooking a lot, I love Ottolenghi’s middle-eastern style of cooking. My last holiday was to Turkey, the trip was full of grilled kebabs with fresh vegetables, salads and this amazing puffed up pitta bread. It was so simple but utterly delicious.
Original Pickle Juice is stocked in selected bars and restaurants across London as is available to order online for shipping in the UK