Each ethnic group in Ghana, from North to South, have their own local drinks. The drinks range from juice to milk & porridge, even some spirits. Despite big multinational drink companies coming in and influencing the Ghanaian culture with its drinks (coke, sprite, alvaro, etc), traditional Ghanaian drinks remain widely popular for its natural properties, featuring high levels of nutrients. Not to mention their cultural significance.
In this post, we take a look at 10 popular local ghanaian drinks you should try. If you don’t want to try them at home, you can order one when you visit any of the restaurants in Accra.
Most traditional ghanaian drinks
Known as Bissap in Senegal, Zobo in Nigeria, Sorrel in the Caribbean and Sobolo in Ghana, this is probably one of the most known and consumed drinks across different African and non African countries.
Made from the Hibiscus leaves and infused with ginger (sometimes a lot of ginger!) and pineapple juices to give it its sharp unique taste. It is usually served chilled and accompanies any spicy meal. Some bars have created cocktails out of this drink making it a uniquely popular and favorite drink of every Ghanaian.
Want to know some quick benefits of Sobolo?
- Helps reduce blood pressure
- Contributes to weight loss
- Helps decrease cholesterol levels
- Contains a lot of vitamin C helping prevent certain illnesses
You can also try making it at home yourself! Hibiscus leaves are sold throughout the local Accra markets. All you have to do is boil the leaves (you can add ginger and/or pineapple to it), allow it to cool down and store in the fridge. As simple as that!
Brukina, a millet and milk drink also called ‘deger’ or ‘nunu’ in some parts of West Africa, is a fermented beverage made from cow milk and millet. A little bit of sugar and salt is added to give it a unique taste and you can also add peanuts to it for extra taste.
This is a muslim drink that you can find sold at any bus station or local market in small plastic bottles. You can also purchase it from the comfort of your car while stuck in traffic from the road sellers. We advise you to buy it from the local markets where it’s served fresh. A local market you can find it in, is the Osu local market (found at the end of Oxford Street, walking towards Osu Presbyterian church).
Benefits of this drink? Contains vital nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, manganese, tryptophan, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B and antioxidants.
Asaana & Nm3daa
Asaana is like the “African coca cola”. It’s a locally made non-alcoholic popular caramelized corn drink made from fermented corn and caramelized sugar (tastes a bit like Malt). Many people don’t know that there are TWO different types of Asaana. The first one is the Asaana which everyone knows, and then we have the Nm3daa.
So what’s the difference between these two? The differences actually lie in their origin and the production process. Asaana originates from the Volta Region. It is sold mostly in the markets, because it’s more popular, by women who either carry huge calabashes which house the drink or sit behind knee-length tables with the same calabash placed atop.
Giant ice cubes are placed in the drink to keep it chilled. The drink is poured into a mini-rubber bag which back in the day was used to sell water (pure water sachets came to change this bag).
Nm3daa is made traditionally by the Ga’s and is popularly served at traditional weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals (basically only consumed on special occasions).
Pito is a fermented African beverage that is often classified as beer. It is produced with fermented millet or sorghum, or sometimes a combination of both. The drink is primarily associated with Nigeria and Ghana, but it is also common in other parts of West Africa.
The grains are soaked, dried, and then milled and combined with water. The mix is then boiled and left to ferment. Before serving, pito needs to be strained. The resulting drink is subtly sweet and slightly sour, ranging from amber to dark brown. Pito is traditionally served in a calabash (gourd), but it is also often drunk from regular cups.
Traditionally, Pito is usually not bottled or canned, and as a rule, which is; it is purchased directly from the household in which it is brewed. Even though some people still insist on buying pito in pots and drinking from calabashes, the trend is gradually changing to storing it in gallons and consuming from plastic cups.
Pito brewing serves as an important source of income for otherwise cash-poor households in rural areas. It is mainly enjoyed at social gatherings, such as marriages, naming and burial ceremonies.
Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the sap of various species of palm trees.The sap is usually extracted from the tallest sections of the plant where young boys from villages called “tappers” climb to collect it. The sap is collected and left to ferment with the yeast present in the air.
The extraction method involves inserting a small fire into the trunk of a felled palm tree to release its sap, which is then collected in jars. The white sap begins to ferment as soon as it oozes out. Two hours are enough to develop the alcoholic component in palm wine, with the same alcohol content as a regular beer.
As the name already suggests, this is a pure spicy ginger drink. Whatever flavorings can be added to give the drink a unique twist. Great for colds and sore throats!
Lamugin (chilled ginger)
You may think this is the same as the ginger drink but it’s not. The difference is that lamugin is prepared by blending it with other ingredients such as lemon, soaked cloves and water.
Akpeteshie is a very strong alcoholic beverage (stronger than whiskey!). Mostly referred to as the national spirit of Ghana. It is made by distilling palm wine or sugar cane. It actually has a long history behind it, which we will tell you about some other time 🙂
Ice kenkey is a probiotic local smoothie made with kenkey. The kenkey could be any of the two main types of Kenkey, Fante or Ga kenkey. Most people’s favorite is the Fante kenkey. It is prepared by blending kenkey with water, sugar, powdered milk, and ice. Peanuts can also be added to it.
Atadwe (Tiger nut) Milk Drink
Last but not least, atadwe ” milk” is a tiger nut pudding made in Ghana with tiger nut milk extracted from the nuts and blended rice or rice flour. It is a light dessert that goes well with spicy foods.
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