Tokhm-e Sharbatie – Sweetened basil seed, rose water, and lime Sharbat

Before there was sugary and processed soda (can you even remember that time?!) there was sharbat in Iran. Sharbat is a homemade beverage that has 3 main components: acid, sweetener, and flavor.

For the acid, citrus juice or vinegar is used to bring forward the tartness element; typically honey, sugar, or grape molasses is used for the sweetener. As in all of Persian cuisine, flavor choices are endless, ranging from fresh herbs to rose water/orange blossom water to preserved fruits.

This drink is so delightfully unique that I believe it will win the heart of anyone who appreciates a creative, tart, and refreshing drink. In addition to having a tempting flavor, this sharbat has a playful texture of plumped-up basil seeds. The infusion of rose water and lime juice takes this beverage to a whole different level of yumminess!

I encourage you to venture out to visit a local Persian market, where basil seeds are available. You can also substitute chia seeds for the basil seeds, though I personally prefer the basil seed texture.


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Tokhm-e Sharbatie

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
A tart and sweet aromatic basil seeds beverage infused with rose water and lime juice.
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Beverage
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4


  • 2 tablespoons basil seeds
  • 24 ounces water
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 fresh limes, juiced
  • 5 tablespoons rose water
  • 4 fresh mint leaves, for garnishing


  • Bring 8 oz of water to a near boil and dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the remaining 16 oz of cool water, and the basil seeds. 
  • Stir and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Pour in the fresh lime juice and rose water and stir.
  • Fill glasses with ice and pour the Sharbat over the ice.
  • Garnish with a slice of fresh lime and a mint leaf and serve.


Basil seeds are available at Persian markets.  Alternatively, chia seeds can be used.
Adjust the sweetness and tartness to your taste by adjusting the sweet and the sour elements.
Keyword basil seeds, Chia seeds, Lime juice, Rose water
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. scotinseattle says:

    Tangy and exotic!

  2. This sounds fantastic–I can’t wait to try it. Purely out of curiosity, what is the Persian term for basil seeds? I’ve heard that these can be found in Asian markets as well, but have yet to try them. I’ll definitely be picking some up next time I see them.

    I was delighted to find your blog (by way of a friend in Tehran!), especially since I took one of your Main Course classes many years ago. I learned so much in that class and still remember the delicious food you made! Looking forward to trying these recipes too 🙂

    1. Hi Alanna, you had me in awe of how small our world is and my head was spinning on how you came across my blog and that you had taken my Main Course! Wow!
      I am thrilled that not only you enjoyed the Main Course class (I loved teaching that class btw) and that you are also enjoying my Persian blog!
      Now, as far as the basil seeds go, it is very hit and miss on whether you will find them in Persian and/or Asian markets and I have found that they are more likely to be selling chia seeds instead of the sweet basil seeds. Chia seeds work just as well, however, there is a slight and I mean slight texture differences. The Persian name is actually a reference to the drink and they are called Tokhm-e sharbati, which translated to the seeds of sharbat(the beverage). Hope that helps!

      1. Ah, that makes sense, thank you for the info about the name! I made this with chia today and it was delicious, but I still want to give it a try with the basil seeds so I’ll keep my eye out for them. Great recipe, I have a feeling this will be my go-to drink over the summer!

  3. Fauzia says:

    Can you make this Sherbat with basil seed and bottle it. How much shelf life does it have.

    1. Hello Fauzia, I wouldn’t leave the basil/chia seeds in the drink too long as they will continue to plump up and ultimately settle down on the bottom and not look terribly pleasant. You can always make the syrup and mix with rose water and lime juice ahead and keep in the fridge and then about an hour before serving add the seeds! Hope that helps.

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