Published on Mar 03, 2024

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

The best season of the year is finally here! While some would argue that summers aren't the best, we think otherwise. Summers take us back to happy times when all we had to do was play in the garden, nap under a tree and drink delicious seasonal Sherbets our grandmas used to make. While adult life may not give us the opportunity to nap under the tree in the middle of the day, we do carry forward one of our favourite things - Sherbet!

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

A fond childhood memory, a memorable summer experience - sherbets hold a very special place in our hearts. But before we go down the summer nostalgia lane, let's talk a little about where these magical elixirs come from, their relevance in India and how they make for perfect mocktail and cocktail mixers.

Sherbet is a concentration made with fruit, flower extracts, sugar, herbs and spices which is then diluted with water and served chilled. You can make sherbets with literally anything…rose, mango, raw mango, kesar, almond the list goes on and on. Well we honestly thought our grandmas were the inventor of Sherbets, but turns out the story of this magical drink begins in the Middle East with its roots deeply embedded in Turkish, Persian, and Arabic traditions. Sherbet found its way to the Indian subcontinent with Mughal emperors like Babur and Jahangir!

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

Legend has it that Babur, seeking respite from the heat, dispatched emissaries to the Himalayas in search of fresh ice to enhance this cooling elixir, cementing its popularity in India. Well we guess Babur also knew the importance of serving it chilled...

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

Apart from being tasty goodness, and the ideal welcome drink in Indian households, sherbets also boast of a lot of health benefits.They keep your body cool (the rose sherbet or lassi) and aid in digestion( the ones that have ginger, lemon, jeera, mint part of their recipe).

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

In a country like India where the taste palate changes every 100Kms every state has its own iconic sherbet recipe.

1. North India

From up north, we are sure you have heard or tried these at some point but the iconic Sherbets are Aam Panna - made with cooking and juicing raw mango, adding spices and sugar. This makes for the ideal summer cooler with an advanced and balanced flavour palate. Mix it with water and serve chilled.

The second one is Roofazah, made from roses, this sweet liquid goodness can be mixed in both water and served with a dash of lime or added into a cold glass of milk or even served on some kulfi. The versatility of this Sherbet knows no bounds, you can get extremely creative. Apart from being a delicious drink, Roohofza also has a lot of cooling benefits making this Sherbet an absolute winner.

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

2. West India

From up north to the west of the country, the ingredients may change but the essence of serving sherbet continues to remain the same. The Kokum sherbet is one such drink. Made with local ingredient Kokum, this sweet and sour drink keeps you hydrated, helps in keeping your liver healthy and managing your weight as well. Talk about the goodness of all in one.

If people in west india aren't sipping on Kokum Sherbet then they are drinking Jaljeera, this tangy drink is made by mixing cumin, mint, tamarind, black salt, and spices with water. Jaljeera is also served after meals because it's believed to aid digestion.

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

3. East India

As the terrain changes so does the kind of ingredients available. East India gets creative with its famous Buransh Sherbet made from the extract of the Buransh flower. This flower is native to the Himalayan region and is commonly found in several parts of East India. Buransh sherbet is known for its distinctive red colour and unique floral flavour. Just like all the sherbets a glass of this rosy-colored drink is sure to help you cool down.

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

4. South India

The last stop in our journey of this Sherbet train is south India. Like we mentioned earlier, sherbets can be made of anything and everything and our Nannari Sherbet is a classic example of that. Nannari sherbet is made from the roots of the Indian sarsaparilla plant, also known as Nannari or Anantmool.The roots are boiled to extract their essence, resulting in a syrup that is mixed with water and sweetened to create a refreshing drink. It has a slightly earthy and sweet taste making it a unique drink.

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

When asked around, the other popular choice of Sherbet in South India is Panakam. Made with jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), water, and spices, it is commonly prepared during festivals and often also offered as prasad. The key ingredients in Panakam include jaggery, water, dried ginger (sukku), cardamom, and black pepper. Some variations may also include lemon juice or edible camphor for added flavour. Panakam has a sweet and tangy taste with hints of spice, making it a refreshing and energizing beverage.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the sherbets, we are sure every household has their own version of these recipes shared, even better have their own unique sherbets that could be passed on from generations.

They make for perfect individual drinks, but also act as great mixers for cocktails if you want to take your drinking experience up a notch. Aam Panna makes for a flavorful base for white spirits and adds its own character to the drink. Making it an absolute winner during the summer and or otherwise.

Summer Series - Everything you need to know about Sherbets!

Sherbets may not be of Indian origin, but they have made a space for themselves in the heart of every Indian and is a must have during the summer, with every meal. It is not just a drink, but every flavor has an emotion, a memory and a feeling attached to it. So the next time you're enjoying a delicious sherbet with your loved ones, remember you are taking small sips of history and we think that is iconic.

Cheers!

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