It’s a hot summer day. You are terribly dehydrated and drenched after playing Stapoo(hopscotch), Hide and seek, Gilli Danda, etc. with your lane mates. And your mother calls you for some Desi Sharbat accompanied with snacks for you and your friends and your excitement knows no bounds!
That pristine aroma and sweet flavour, the moment you sip hit straight in your heart which I can slurp all summer long!
Oh! This quick trip down a memory lane reminded me of my good old days.
Since childhood, the most demanded summer drink that I would ask my mother was Desi Sharbat and promptly my mother (or every Indian mother) used to make this chilled beverage coupled with squeezed lemon and a bit of sugar or honey as a remedy for the loo (hot summer winds of Northern India) which is kid-friendly and adult-pleasing.
I always wonder where we all have departed those delightful little aspects of our lives. The mere thought of all this hurts my guts.
Witnessing Richness of Desi Sharbat
The term Sharbat has been derived from the Persian word means a ‘Drink of sugar and water’, traditionally prepared with a juice of crushed fruit, herbs, or flowers infused in sugar syrup. It has long been a staple in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan, and Indian homes where it has woven beautiful memories during never-ending gup-shup in a family congregate.
In the Indian Subcontinent, it was Babur, the first Mughal Emperor who originated Desi Sharbat in the 16th century. It is said that bull locks full of ice from the Himalayas were sent to his castle to make it cool yet refreshing.
This beverage came into fore when fresh fruits were likely to get decayed and deteriorate due to no place for preserving and transporting them and only rich people could afford to buy a refrigerator. Wherefore, people started preparing it before fruits got perished.
The most famous ‘Desi Sharbat’ is Roohafzah that has just nudged nostalgia out of you, was founded by Abdul Majeed in Old Delhi in 1906. The name Roohafza was taken from the book ‘Masnavi Gulzar-e-Naseem’ written by Pandit Daya Shankar Naseem Lakhnavi where the name ‘Roohafza’ was a character in that book.
Currently, it is manufactured by the companies founded by Abdul Majeed and his sons, Hamdard Dawakhana Laboratories of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh since 1948 and has become the country’s favorite drink for all generations since.
This is one of the earliest advertisements of Roohafza from 1907 states that Raja and Nawab used to drink this Desi Sharbat which costs Rupee 1.25 per bottle. Today, it has completed 112 years.
There is something special about this ‘Desi Sharbat’ in the holy month of Ramadan to break the fast or Roza for the evening meal. For Muslims, their Ramadan is incomplete without this red syrup concoction.
We Indians have an array of Desi Sharbat which are both unique and rejuvenating to cope with summer heat and are inextricably linked with childhood memories. It comes in many flavours like Pomegranate, Strawberry, Tamarind, Quince, Orange, or Cherry, Rose petals, Basil, Mint, Saffron, Sumac, or seeds like cardamom, caraway, coriander.
But, I have curated a list of the assorted versions of desi sharbat you must have this summer:
1.Sharbat-e-Mohabbat (Drink Of Love)–
This love punch is famous as ‘Pyaar Mahobbat Sharbat’ available in Old-Delhi especially in the lanes of Jama Masjid. It is a mixture of watermelon puree, milk, ice, and Desi Sharbat(roohafzaa). It is a Ramadan special and has found its way into contemporary pop culture for millennials.
2. Bel ka Sharbat –
This palatable drink which is an amalgamation of wood apple, roasted cumin, a dash of black salt and some ice cubes. It is nothing short of divine. This diabetic-friendly sharbat has infinite reasons to boost your immune system.
3. Sattu ka Sharbat–
Bringing some respite in this sweltering heat, got famous from Bihar is a mixture of Gram flour, sugar, lemon, roasted cumin, and ice cubes. Few states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh brings its own uniqueness in this cooler. It has a weight loss property.
4. Khus ka sharbat-
This super nourishing drink bursting with oodles of Khus grass (vetiver), chilled water, milk to make an aromatic drink for all summer woes. It’s a great hit for kids and adults as well. It is known for reducing redness in the eyes due to summer strokes.
5. Aam Panna Sharbat-
This thirst-quenching cooler is a fusion of Raw mangoes, Fresh mint, Roasted cumin powder, salt, and sugar which is a delightful affair to bog down your body temperature. It is pertinent to note that this would highly satisfy your taste-buds! This became prominent from the Northern region of India like Punjab. It is regarded as a tonic for cholera, Tuberculosis, and anemia.
Summers and these refreshing soul therapies go hand in hand. Make sure to hone your mixology skills when the temperature begins to soar.
I bet most of you are craving for a glass of chilled Desi Sharbat. Do let me know how you are treating summers this year in the comment section below.
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