Similar to food, home made drinks are not only a staple in every Lebanese home but also reflect the earth’s bounty. There is something quiet wonderful about the combination of elements that make those typical Lebanese drinks so superb. It starts with their color, as they range in hues from pastel to darker burgundies. Then comes the smell as the drink reaches your lips and the flora of all the ingredients invigorates your spirit. Although they differ in texture, there is something quiet refreshing about them and the combination of those aromas with ice makes them the perfect summer drink.
Sharab el Toot, mulberry syrup, is one of Lebanon’s most traditional drinks; a thirst quencher served to guests on hot summer afternoons. It’s an exotic, revitalizing drink that is sweet yet tangy and is rich with antioxidants. There is also a history that comes with Mulberry syrup, delving back into Lebanon’s past. At the turn of the century, Lebanon was known for its high-quality silk industry. Bestowed with ideal climate and a fertile soil, Mulberries were planted everywhere in Lebanon and mulberry production flourished. The leaves of the mulberry were used to cultivate silk worms and at harvest would be separated from the mother fruit. As the mulberry fruit has a short life span, Sharab El Toot was an efficient way of preserving it.
Sharab el toot is served diluted with ice water, like all sharabs. Sharab el toot is heavenly drizzled atop ice cream. The sweetness of the sugar and the sharpness of the mulberry make this an ideal summer drink.
Jallab is another very popular drink in the Middle East. It’s made by diluting the syrup made of grape molasses, dates and rose water with water and serving it in a tall glass with crushed ice. It’s always topped with nuts, most of the time pine nuts and golden raisins.
There is something quiet special about Jallab, the combination of its ingredients gives it its special texture and taste. The dense taste of the grape molasses with the sweetness of the rose water, topped off with the earthy taste of the pine nuts mixed with the crushed ice make it quiet a special drink, the star of the show! Served best around late afternoon when the hot summer day is about to end and the sun is about to lay its long hot summer rays to rest.
Sharab el ward, rose water syrup, a delicious pink drink, is another famous Lebanese drinks. It’s one of the tastiest beverages and one of the most refreshing as it’s very light in texture and the taste of roses is truly invigorating. The quality of the rose water has a big impact on the taste of the drink. Its refreshingly sweet taste of roses mixed with crushed ice quenches the thirst of those long summer days.
To read about another amazingly summer drink, Limonada, or lemonade please refer to my previous post: https://365daysoflebanon.com/2015/11/09/when-life-gives-you-lemons-2
This lovely country with all its fragrances and aromas are reflected in its humble drinks that echo the richness of its cuisine, light yet full of flavor.
To my Lebanon and all its flavors.