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Saffron sherbet or syrup

Saffron sherbet or syrup
An Azerbaijani sherbet (şərbət) is a refreshing, cooling drink made from fruit, sugar and water.

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 saffron sherbet. Add more water or sugar to alter the tartness of the drink.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours
Serves: 3-4


  • 100 g/4 oz piece of sugar loaf, or 100 g/4 oz granulated sugar
  • 568 ml/1 pint water
  • a few threads of saffron
  • a few mint or basil seeds
  • ice cubes


  • Pour boiling water onto the saffron strands and mint or basil seeds and leave to infuse for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Taste to see if more sugar is needed.
  • Strain the infusion and leave to cool.
  • Pour over ice cubes to serve.

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