Gone winter, the sun is no longer a welcome companion, as we draw the curtains to keep its harsh rays away from us. After days of hot soups, stews and bakes, now is the time to cool and refresh our senses. What better way to keep us cool, than digging into some delicious cold salads, sipping refreshing sherbets and melting into divine cool desserts. Let’s begin with one of the world’s oldest forms of thirst quenchers that offered immense relief from the summer sun.
The word Sherbet comes from the Arabic word shariba, which means “to drink.” It is from the word shariba that several variations arose both in Arabic and many languages. Sherbet’s actual meaning is “syrup” or “a cooling drink (of the East)”. The first reference of sherbet was in the 101 Arabian Nights, where it made its appearance as a pleasant drink with healing properties. Philosopher Francis Bacon in 1626 was one of the few to have tasted sherbet and introduced it to the English dictionary.
Sherbet was and is still made from plant, fruit or flower extract, blended beautifully with sugar, water or vinegar, depending upon the taste desired. It was then, thinned down in form of syrup, which could then be added to cold water and served as a refreshing drink. Sherbets came about with the main aim of preserving the essential nutrients, at a time when preserving perishable food items was not very easy.
Prachi Vaish, a practicing psychiatrist shares one of her favourite summer drink with us and she calls it Rosy Refresher, a simple drink that doesn’t take much time to prepare.
- Lemon juice – according to taste
- Salt – as per taste
- Sugar – as per taste
- Rose sherbet syrup – according to taste
- Ice cubes
- Prepare the lemon concentrate with salt and sugar just the way you would for nimbu paani.
- Top it up with a few ice cubes.
- Add a dash of rose sherbet on to the ice.
- Pour water, mix well and serve chilled.
Prachi adds, “A great tip for serving any cool summer drink is that, while making ice cubes, add a mint leaf or a rose petal to each cube space and freeze it with water in the deep freezer. Use these frozen ice cubes while serving cool drinks and make them look extra special.”
Cucumber and Mint Sherbet
Interior designer, Mahua Khanna lends one of her personal favourite sherbet recipe – Cucumber and Mint Sherbet.
- Cucumber – 1 small
- Fresh mint – 2 strands
- Lots of ice
- Sugar syrup – according to taste
- Coarsely chop the cucumber and add it to a blender.
- Wash the mint leaves and drop them in the blender.
- Give the mixture one churn and remove from the blender.
- In a tall glass, add lots of ice, sugar syrup and pour the cucumber and mint mixture, till about half a glass.
- Top it up with soda and serve chilled.
For the in-flight magazine ‘Symplifly’ of Kingfisher Deccan, May 2008 issue.