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Barberry sherbet

Zirinc şərbəti - Barberry sherbet
Barberry sherbet is a traditional Azerbaijani sherbet (şərbət), a refreshing, cooling drink with a fruity tang.

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.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours
Serves: 4-5


  • 100 g/4 oz piece of sugar loaf or granulated sugar
  • 568 ml/1 pint water
  • 50 g/2 oz barberries (Fresh barberries are hard to find in Europe and America, since many bushes were uprooted in the 1960s when some types of the barberry bush were found to host a fungal disease that badly affects cereal crops. Dried barberries can used in this recipe and are available in Iranian food shops and delicatessens.)
  • ice cubes


  • Sort through the barberries, whether dry or fresh, removing stalks, and wash.
  • Pour boiling water onto the barberries and leave to infuse for for 3-4 hours.
  • Filter the sherbet, add sugar and stir well until all the sugar dissolves.
  • Cool in the refrigerator.
  • Pour over ice cubes to serve.

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