For me, nothing stirs childhood nostalgia more than memories of chilled flavorful Sharbat on a hot summer day in Tehran!
Sharbat is a Farsi word that describes a style of chilled beverage with a pretty spectacular range of flavors, colors, and ingredients. Arriving guests are often greeted with a decorative glass of chilled Sharbat. Various fruits, nuts, pastries, and hot black tea follow Sharbat as part of an elaborate Persian hospitality ritual (Mehmoon Navazi in Farsi).
I recently made this for the first time and experimented with different types of vinegar and amounts of sugar. As with all my blog posts, the food or beverage is dressed up for the photo shoot. When I had completed the shoot and was satisfied with my pictures, I offered this particular Sharbat to my Mom. I have to confess to being a little apprehensive, knowing that Sharbat-e Sekanjebeen in a martini glass would truly be a novelty for her!
Later that day, I received her reviews. The presentation, and my choices of vinegar and sugar gained my mother’s vote of approval. She even said that it rejuvenated her. I can now honestly say that this Sharbat is mother-tested and approved!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 2-3 cups sugar, adjusted to your taste
- 10 sprigs fresh mint
- 3 cups cold water, to dilute the syrup
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced or grated
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 fresh lime, sliced
- 1 tablespoon rose petals, optional
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and sugar and bring to a gentle boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the liquid has been slightly reduced and has become more viscous. The consistency should resemble a room temperature maple syrup.
- Turn off the heat, drop the mint leaves into the pan and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove the mint and store the syrup in the refrigerator.
- In a pitcher, combine 1 part syrup to roughly 3 parts water. Adjust the water to suit your taste preferences.
- Fill the appropriate serving glass with a few cubes of ice while layering in the cucumbers, mint and lime.
- Fill each glass with the syrup mixture. Garnish with rose petals and serve chilled.