Cool Drink For The Elite

You can drink a rhubarb-sherbet or use a spoon like a dessert. How you consumed it actually would have determined whether or not you were part of the elite, believe it or not. This could still be happening today in some parts of the world depending upon culture or circumstance.

Sherbet is originally a Turkish-drink, with an interesting sherbet-history. It is considered a "cooling" drink in the Arab world, and no alcohol added.

In the Middle Eastern countries, the word sherbet means "sweet" because of the sugars.

Sherbet has been around in Mid-Eastern culture for centuries. Ice or snow would have only been afforded by the elite. Otherwise, people would only be able to mix it with water.

Thanks to technology and refrigeration in these modern times, ice cold sherbet is available to a much larger population.

Sherbet consists mainly of a syrup made from cooking fruit juice. The juice is cooked for some time to produce the syrup, and then sugar or honey or water is added. Fresh ice is added afterwards if desired.

The fact that the fruit is cooked down actually enabled those of lower classes to be able to use any available fruits not just those that were in season. In season fruits would not have been affordable.

Many juices can be used to make a syrup. In addition to a rhubarb-sherbet, you could use cherries, pomegranates or lemons. These are quite popular.

Did you know that sometimes flowers are used as well?

Roses are quite popular too. This would explain the rose garnishes often seen in sherbets.

Depending upon the culture, here are some other interesting facts about sherbet -

In the Middle East, sherbet is served at the signing of a marriage contract.

Sherbet is served after a fast at Ramadan.

Generally, sherbet is associated with being hospitable, and found often at many social events.

Eventually this dish appeared throughout Europe and eventually the Western world.

Culture and circumstance seems to have played a great part in the method of consumption and overall significance of sherbet.

You decide which way you would like to serve your rhubarb-sherbet.

white sherbet


3 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup water

2 tblsp. rosewater

2 cups sugar

Wrap the chopped rhubarb in cheesecloth. Set aside.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Drop the cheesecloth into the syrup and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the rosewater.

Remove the cheesecloth and squeeze to get all juice out.

Pour the syrup into a bottle and cork tightly.

To serve, mix 1 part syrup with 3 parts water. Add ice cubes or crushed ice.



2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb

1/3 cup orange marmelade

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg white

1 1/2 cups water

2 tsp. gelatin

pinch of salt

Combine water, rhubarb and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the rhubarb is very tender.

Soften the gelatin in a little bit of water and then stir into the rhubarb until it dissolves.

Add the salt, and then let the mixture cool down.

Stir in the orange marmalade. Place in a container and freeze for 2 hours.

Remove from the freezer and stir in stiffly beaten egg white. Place back into the freezer and serve when firm.


3 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp. orange zest

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 cup corn syrup

2 egg whites

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, juice and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb is tender. Let cool.

Freeze for 2 hours in freezer pans. Remove and add in stiffly beaten egg whites. Gently fold them into the rhubarb mixture. Return pan to the freezer covered. Freeze until very firm (4 hours).

Spoon into glasses or a small dish and garnish with zest or nuts.

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