Author Notes: A traditional summer cooler from India—a lemonade infused with green cardamom and saffron, served cold with fresh mint. —Saee Khandekar
Food52 Review: Cardamom and saffron in a beverage? I love it! This delicate drink is so simple, but it evokes the bouquet of flavors that makes food from this part of the world so intriguing. India and Iran share many common food traditions, and this lemonade fits neatly into the category of a Persian sharbat, a fresh, cold drink made from fruit and flower essences. The words “sherbet,” “sorbet,” and “syrup” all have their root in this word. For a casual Sunday gathering in my friend’s backyard, I whipped up a batch of this lemonade and served it with Persian-spiced (turmeric, sumac, lime) chicken wings. I took the author’s suggestion and added a dash of vodka, subbing sparkling water for still, and it was sublime! —Louisa Shafia
Makes: 500 ml concentrate
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 5 min
cup lemon juice
teaspoons green cardamom powder
- Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar and water over low heat. Stir occasionally to ensure that it does not burn. Simmer for a minute once the sugar is dissolved.
- Turn off the heat. Add the cardamom and saffron and cool completely.
- Pour in the lemon juice and stir to mix.
- Strain and store in a sterilized bottle in the refrigerator.
- To make the lemonade, pour 3 tbsp. of the concentrate in a glass. Muddle some mint leaves and sprinkle some salt. Add ice cubes and fill up with cold water. Stir and enjoy! I also like to drink this with a dash of vodka *wink.* If you’re a soda person, this works well with soda as well.
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Photo by Mark Weinberg
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Photo by James Ransom