The Sweet Juice That's Considered To Be Pakistan's National Drink

When you think of Pakistani food, what comes to mind first? Is it the feeling of the rich spices warming your stomach? Or perhaps, the image of stretching apart a piece of soft roti with your hands? Emerging as an independent country in 1947, Pakistan lies between Asia and the Middle East — and, according to Together Women Rise, its cuisine is a beautiful reflection of the two. Popular dishes like Kabuli pulao, haleem, and mutton korma exemplify the influence that Middle Eastern and Indian food have had on Pakistani cuisine, while other dishes such as karahi and nihari show how the culture has made it into its own (per Migrationology).

With all this talk about food, one has to ask, what about the drinks? Pakistan isn't shy of a sweet sip; you'll need something light and refreshing to wash all that rich and flavorful food down. In fact, Pakistan has had to call on its citizens to drink less tea in hopes of turning over the economic crisis. But, in 2019, the Pakistani Government released a poll on Twitter asking the public to vote on which drink they thought should be declared the country's national drink — and no, it wasn't tea. The results were unanimous; between carrot juice, orange juice, and sugar cane juice, sugar cane received 80% of the votes.

Sugar cane juice

Known as Ganne Ka Ras by locals, sugar cane juice is sold by street vendors all across Pakistan (per Hey That Tastes Good). Vendors commonly use an extractor and juice the sugar cane fresh, right before your eyes. In major cities like Karachi or Lahore, Easy Food Smith claims that you can also find sugar cane juice pressed into clean glass bottles. Made from pure sugar cane, it's definitely sweet. But, with the addition of alternative flavors, or even a dash of salt, it can be balanced, giving you a refreshing drink with plenty of benefits.

In Pakistan, Ganne Ka Ras is often served with salt, mint, lime, and ginger — a spice that has plenty of benefits of its own, including strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea effects (via Healthline). Alone, sugar cane juice contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron in addition to its antioxidants and electrolytes. Easy Food Smith calls it a natural energy drink, and, according to WebMD, one study found that it was even more effective at rehydrating athletes than commercial sports drinks.

However, the only way to ensure you're getting these benefits is if your juice is made from pure sugar cane, without any of the added sugars that are so often present in store-bought juices. And for that, you can undeniably head to the country that so proudly claims it as their national drink: Pakistan.