It may sound too simple to be a "recipe" and too strange to be tasty, and ariani is admittedly an acquired taste. But this Greek yogurt drink is a refreshing non-alcoholic cooler when you get used to it.
In addition to cooling you off and restoring your sodium levels, ariani — αριάνι in Greek and pronounced ah-ree-YAH-nee — enjoys a reputation as a hangover killer. It lends itself to some interesting variations if the taste of plain yogurt doesn't particularly appeal to you.
The drink is originally from Turkey, but it has become widely known in areas of Greece with large populations of Greeks of Turkish descent. It's a direct legacy from the Turkish — it's called aryan there — and is especially popular in the Greek regions of Evros and Thrace.
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups water
- Salt to taste
- Add the yogurt, water, and salt to a blender.
- Blend until the mixture becomes very foamy on top.
- Serve over ice.
Tips and Variations
- Many prefer this drink without salt. If you've never tried ariani before, consider starting without salt. Just blend the yogurt and water, then give it a taste test. Add a little salt, then blend some more and taste again. Keep on until you have a beverage with just the right amount of saltiness to appeal to you.
- The salt content in ariani serves a purpose. The salt restores your sodium levels, which can become depleted through perspiration when exercising or on a very hot day, or when you had too much alcohol to drink the night before. This drink will also pump you up with calcium and protein.
- You can substitute club soda for the water to add a little fizz.
- Technically, you can use any yogurt to make ariani, but Greek yogurt is special. It's strained to remove the whey — the watery, curdled part. It's much smoother, creamy and thick as a result. The process hikes the protein content and cuts carbohydrates, so not only does it taste better, but it's healthier, too. Read the label before you buy a yogurt to make sure it is indeed Greek. The ingredients should include nothing but milk and live active cultures. And it should "contain" the cultures, not simply be "made with" them.
- When Iranians make this recipe, they add a touch of fresh mint to the glass after preparation. They call their version doogh.
- Drink it to quench your thirst, or serve ariani as an appetizer before a meal.
- Ariani is sometimes confused with kefir, but it's different. Kefir is made with grains and milk — not yogurt.
- Although the addition of fruit is not traditional, it can hit the spot. Chop the fruit of your choice in the blender with a little water, then pour it through a sieve or strainer to get rid of any pulpy parts. Add the ariani to the fruit mixture and stir well.