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What is Sharbat?

Anna T.
Updated May 16, 2024
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Sharbat is generally considered a sweet-tasting, pleasant-smelling drink that is usually comprised of Rooh Afza syrup, cardamom seeds, pistachios, cashews, and almonds. It is most often diluted with water, milk, or evaporated milk, and is served over ice. The drink is popular in India and Pakistan, and most people there drink it during the extreme hot summers to stave off dehydration. Rooh Afza syrup, which is responsible for the pink color of sharbat, is typically made of various herbs, watermelon extract, coriander seeds, and rose petals. People who do not live in India may be able to purchase it at Pakistani or Indian grocery stores if they cannot find it at a local grocery store.

Until the 1950s, sharbat was generally considered the preferred sweet beverage in both India and Pakistan. When Coca-Cola® was released, many people began to choose it instead. Sharbat, however, is still widely consumed and is occasionally served in restaurants, sometimes as a syrup to pour over various desserts. There are a variety of different ways to make it, some of which include the addition of alcohol. Varying the herbs and flowers that are used to make the drink can give it a different taste and scent.

One common method of making sharbat is to grind up one teaspoon (5 ml) of cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle. One and a half cups (360 ml) of Rooh Afza syrup and eight cups (1920 ml) of fine-grained sugar are then dissolved into one gallon (4 quarts) of whole milk. Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios, are finely crushed and mixed in with the milk, along with the powder from the cardamom seeds and two teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract. Some people taste the drink at this point and add more Rooh Afza syrup or sugar if the mixture doesn't taste sweet enough. The sharbat is usually refrigerated overnight and consumed the next day.

Although sharbat is usually considered a drink native to India, the Turks and Persians may have brought it over when they invaded the area centuries ago. Some people use the old-fashioned method for making the drink. The essence of flowers were added to corn syrup, which was usually made by boiling sugar cane juice. Now that corn syrup is usually available in most grocery stores, it does not have to be made from scratch. When making sharbat, corn syrup is still occasionally used.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to DelightedCooking. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Mar 31, 2011

@alisha-- You might be able to use the roses in your yard but they have to be organic, meaning without pesticides. I think all roses are edible, but some are not as sweet scented and won't taste as good.

For gulab ka sharbat, you can find some fresh or dry rose petals in some grocery stores or Asian stores. I personally use rose sharbat concentrate that I get from an India store. All I have to do is add water and ice. This way you won't have to deal with leaving rose petals in water overnight and all.

By discographer — On Mar 30, 2011

I want to make gulab ka sharbat or rose sharbat. I have the recipe and everything but I have no idea where to get rose petals. Can anyone tell me where I might find some?

We have some roses in our yard, can I use those?

By ddljohn — On Mar 28, 2011

My favorite sharbat is ginger lime. My aunt used to make it for us when we went to visit her in Delhi. It gets really hot there in the summer so this was a perfect summer drink to cool down. I think she used fresh ginger, water, sugar and lemon juice to make it.

The best thing about sharbat is that you can make it thick and keep it in the fridge as a concentrate. So when you want to have some, it's ready really quickly. I think it's a great snack for little kids and much better than sodas with additives and coloring.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to DelightedCooking. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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