In most Muslim countries, drinking is illegal. In Saudi Arabia, those caught consuming alcohol are subjected to prison time and lashes. Importing alcohol can even result in execution. That’s right. If you take alcohol into Saudi Arabia, you could be killed. These harsh, inhumane punishments are due to strict interpretation of Sharia Law, or Islamic Law. However, while Egypt also practices Sharia Law, they are quite lax on the issue of alcohol.
Selling and consuming alcoholic beverages in Egypt will not get you in any trouble. Bars and clubs can be found all over the cities. Most larger hotels offer alcohol as well. It is actually much cheaper than it is in the United States. I am not a frequent drinker, but I enjoy the occasional shot of tequila every once in a while.
While it’s not illegal to drink, it is still a taboo. Many Egyptians refuse to take photos with their drinks in the picture. They don’t want their family members to see it floating around on social media. This begs the question, why drink if you are ashamed of it? To each his own, I suppose.
Egyptians love drinks in general, not just alcohol. On every corner there is a small cafe that will make fresh juice of your choosing right in front of you. This was one of my favorite things about Egypt. I never liked mango before my visit. After I tried their freshly, squeezed mango juice, I was hooked. I can never order from Robek’s or Jamba Juice ever again. There are actual pieces of mango in it! An Egyptian favorite is known as Asab. It is made of sugar cane. Yep, straight sugar water in the purest sense. I tried it once and could not handle the sweetness. It activated my gag reflex, but many Egyptians chug it like it's nothing. I wasn't sure whether to be impressed or appalled.
The drink menus at most restaurants and cafes are phenomenal. One restaurant called Blaze offers slushes, smoothies, and non-alcoholic cocktails that are mouthwatering. I would make a stop just to pick up a different flavored smoothie. I wanted to try them all, and I was successful. Blaze has amazing food as well, and it will be a featured restaurant in my next post.
One can always find Coke and other soft drinks, but why bother when there is so much more to try?
Stay tuned for an in-depth article on Egyptian food.