Sri Lanka’s cuisine may be some of the best in Asia, but that doesn’t mean the drinking scene leaves something to be desired. This is one of the best places in the world for a cuppa, but if tea isn’t for you there are plenty of other options to take the edge off those spicy curries.
Sri Lanka is famous for Ceylon tea. It was introduced by the British, who referred to Sri Lanka as Ceylon, in the early 18th century and comes as oolong, black, white and green tea. They’re all made in different ways and wherever you go in Sri Lanka, the locals will be sipping on a hot brew with some milk and sugar.
The Sri Lankans have been harvesting the coconut palm for years to make Toddy, an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the sap of the coconut flower. Those involved are known as ‘toddy tappers’ – their job is to climb coconut trees and bring back the sap, which ferments immediately. The final product is a sweet, milky drink that’s not particularly alcoholic, but mighty enjoyable.
Arrack is essentially the evolution of the toddy, having been distilled for 24 hours or so. It’s much stronger, with an alcohol content of 60–90%, and has a taste profile similar to rum or whiskey. It’s the most popular local liquor in the country.
- King coconut juice
Locally known as thambili, king coconuts are an indigenous Sri Lankan fruit and quite possibly the ultimate thirst quencher on a hot day.