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Saffron Sharbat Cocktail

by Ky Belk via Julia Bainbridge

Serves 1 

Sharbat, a sweet drink made from fruit or flower petals, can be found in various forms from northern Africa through the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. At El Five, which serves Spanish/Turkish/Moroccan-ish/Israeli-ish tapas, bar director Ky Belk pairs this saffron version with classic paella, which—and I don’t use this word lightly—is PERFECT. The verjus brings a soft acidity that tempers the sweetness, and soda water opens it all up without diluting the floral notes. 

  • 2 ounces white verjus 
  • 1⁄2 ounce Saffron Sharbat Syrup (recipe follows) 
  • 4 ounces soda water 
  • 1 lemon twist, for garnish 

In a tumbler filled with ice, combine the verjus and syrup. Top with the soda water and gently stir. Garnish with the lemon twist. 

Saffron Sharbat Syrup 

Makes about 1 cup, enough for 16 drinks 

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon saffron threads 2 teaspoons just-boiled 
  • water 
  • 2⁄3 cup sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water 
saffron sharbat


Put the saffron in a small heatproof bowl, then pour the water over top. Let it steep for 15 minutes. 
Combine the sugar and 1⁄2 cup water in a small saucepan, then add the saffron mixture and orange flower water. Simmer over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, fine-strain and discard the solids, and let cool to room temperature. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 
Batch for 6: Combine 1 1⁄2 cups white verjus and 3 ounces syrup in a pitcher halfway filled with ice and stir well to combine. Add 3 cups soda water and gently stir again. To serve, pour into 6 tumblers and garnish each with a lemon twist. 



Images by Alex Lau 

Reprinted with permission from Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason by Julia Bainbridge, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. 


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