Just in case you are wondering, Ghana got a long roaster of local beverages you can always try out instead of imported ones or foreign ones. There are several varieties including alcoholic and non alcoholic and as usual a couple of them stands out. Here is a list of the most popular traditional beverages in Ghana.
Lamugin (Chilled Ginger Drink)
Lamugin is a chilled ginger drink. It is prepared by blending a mixture of chopped ginger, lemon, soaked cloves and water. The blended mixture is then strained into a jar or if it is in large quantity into a big bowl. Add sugar to taste and more water if need be. It’s best served chilled.
Pito is a traditional alcoholic beer that is made from fermented sorghum or millet. Locally brewed. It is popular in the northern part of Ghana. It could be served cold or hot but usually it is cool. Traditionally, it is served in calabashes amongst a group of friends in an open garden or tent. Honestly, I have never seen a person taking pito by themselves before. It is always in groups (family or friends) which serve as a time to bond and catch up with old friends.
Palm Wine – Nsa-Fufuo (Nsa-Fufuo meaning white alcohol due to the colour content)
Most Ghanaians favourite drink. The alcoholic content in palm wine is very low. You would not even know it was alcoholic. It is tapped from a fully-grown palm tree and the process is enhanced by heat application. The longer the days the sap is stored, the higher the alcoholic content but it is mostly sold fresh. It is completely natural.This beverage is very common in West African countries like Cameroon and Nigeria. The vitamin C in palm wine helps maintain good eye health. It is mostly served in calabashes. In Ivory Coast they call it koutoukou and Oguro in Yoruba in Nigeria. It is good for malaria treatment apparently. The word is ‘apparently’.
Although not officially advertised, Akpeteshie is a very popular local alcoholic spirit brewed in Ghana using local means of distilling sugarcane juice or palm wine. It is referred to as APIO by older consumers and Akpet (short form of Akpeteshie) among youngsters. Its production is very popular in the northern part of the country as the materials and labor are less costly for companies who produce and sell in larger quantities. It is considerably cheap to buy. A TOT at a beer bar or street corner pub is less than GHC 1.00 [$0.20]. So, with GH₵ 5.00, you can consume about ¼ of a full bottle. Recently, there has been public concern about the high consumption of akpeteshie and alcoholic beverages in general as EXCESSI8VE (about 2 bottles) intake is causing death of many in the country.
Asaana is a caramelized corn drink also called Ahai in Fante language prepared from fermented corn and caramelized sugar. A bit of water is sprinkled on the corn in a big flat bowl and left for 3 days to sprout. It is then milled to a fine dry dough and just like the process of preparing porridge, the Asaana would be ready in about an hour. It is then allowed to cool overnight, but most sellers sell the Asaana the same day, so they rely on ice block to cool it down. The Asaana is completed by adding dark caramelized sugar. After scooping out the Asaana, there is a brownish residue which is normally disposed off but in the central region of Ghana, it is another form of local drink called Twai. Some Ghanaians take Asaana with milk. Yeah, its Ghana. There is always that “extra” factor when it comes to food and I love that haha. A tied Asaana of about 500ml costs GH₵ 1.00[$0.20] it has malt taste to it. Super malt drink I mean. Similar colour content also.
Bissap nicknamed as Sobolo which can also be referred to as Hibiscus tea is a popular Ghanaian drink which is delicious and unique in taste. Bissap is made from dried bissap flowers mixed with sugar and ginger juice as the main ingredients. Taking the taste up a notch, some sellers add pineapple peels and fruit essence . A 250ml bottle of sobolo costs GH₵ 1.00 [$0.20].
Burkina, the reigning millet smoothie in Ghana is a locally produced beverage with local ingredients and materials. This is prominent in the northern part of Ghana. gained popularity in other parts of Ghana around 2008-2013 when sellers started bottling the drink and selling them in traffic. Burkina originated from Burkina Faso and its original name is “Deger”. With GH₵ 3.00 [$0.60] you can get a 500ml bottle of Burkina.
Ice kenkey is a pro biotic local smoothie made with kenkey. The kenkey could be any of the two main types of Kenkey, Fante or Ga kenkey. With the former being the favourite for most.The kenkey mixed with water in right proportion is mashed or blended into a smooth paste. Sugar and salt is added to taste and the smoothie is completed by adding milk. Some people take it with roasted groundnut and some sellers blend the roasted groundnut with the kenkey. It is common to see hawkers selling the bottled ones in traffic or bus stations. The 500ml bottle goes for GH₵ 3.00[$0.60].
This Ghanaian drink which is popular in the Volta region of Ghana is made from fermented red millet.The slightly fermented red millet is mixed with water and allow to boil for about 10minutes, it is allowed to cool and sugar is added to taste. it is sold chilled with the aid of ice block