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Soumada: Greek almond drink, ancient tonic. Cold, aromatic, energy-rich. Health benefits, a toast at weddings.

Close-up of glass with Greek ‘soumada’

Soumada, a white soft drink derived from almond emulsion, sοumada is also called amigdalopoma. In antiquity it was known as thiassion or thiasson (from the word athassia, meaning ‘almonds’) and during the Byzantine period as thassorofon.

To prepare sοumada, peeled sweet almonds or apricot kernels are used along with some bitter ones so as to produce its characteristic aroma. After being milled or rinsed they are left for some time in the water, creating a juice which is then boiled with the addition of sugar until it thickens into a syrup. This milk-like whitish syrup has the aroma of almonds and is mixed with water and offered as a soft drink. It is served very cold.

Filled with energy, soumada has numerous health benefits. The potassium it contains helps maintain normal blood pressure, while its magnesium content helps break down the food we consume into energy and helps prevent cramps. It also contains vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. It also contains selenium, which helps the functioning of the immune system, as well as thyroid metabolism. Thus, soumada is the tonic that produces energy!

In Greece, soumada is considered to be a drink for weddings because of its color and is offered at marriage celebrations, hence the toast: “to your soumada!” which is analogous to the toast made to the unmarried guests “to your own wedding”.

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