The word sherbet comes from the Persian sharbat, itself an adaptation of the Arabic for drink, sharab. Sherbet entered the English language as sorbet, which is now more of an iced dessert or palate cleanser than a drink. British readers of a certain age will remember the sherbet fountain, a fizzy powder sold in a cardboard tube with a piece of liquorice to suck it through. This is a distant relative of Azerbaijani sherbet, as the powder was originally intended to be mixed with water to create a drink. Azerbaijan has a rich variety of sherbets, one of the most traditional of which is fruit sherbet.
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
- 100 g/4 oz piece of sugar loaf or granulated sugar
- 1 l/2 pints water
- 3 medium-sized lemons
- 4 medium-sized oranges
- 200 g/8 oz orange juice
- 50 g/2 oz slices of orange
- 50 g/2 oz strawberries or sweet cherries, cornelian cherries
- a few threads of saffron
- a few coriander or basil seeds
- a few sprigs of mint
- ice cubes
- Put the few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
- Grate the rinds of the lemons and oranges and put in hot water.
- Add the coriander or basil seeds and leave to infuse for 3-4 hours.
- Strain the infusion. Add the sugar and the juice of the oranges and lemons and stir well until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar or orange and lemon juice if required.
- Cool in the refrigerator.
- Add the saffron infusion, berries and mint.
- Pour over ice cubes to serve.