Sharab el Toot is one of Lebanon’s most traditional drinks; a thirst quencher served to guests on hot summer afternoons.
It is an exotic, revitalizing, wholesome 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.
It is also common to use mulberries to make ice cream and Jam. Sharab el toot is heavenly drizzled atop ice cream.
- Fresh mulberries
- We harvested about 8kg of mulberries. From that we got 4 litres of juice or about 16 cups. Because we are making a syrup we added 2x the amount of sugar, unlike when making jam where the ratio is 1 to 1. This came out to be around 34 cups or 8kg of sugar. This yielded 8 bottles of 1 liter volume or 8 litres of Sharab el toot.
- Select fully ripe fresh black mulberries, discarding the red berries as they render the syrup too sour. Wear rubber gloves as the juice stains the hands.
- Place a food mill over an enamel or earthenware pot, fill with berries and begin turning it to extract the juice. Alternatively, put the berries in a muslin bag and press the juice from them into an enamel or earthenware pot.
- This will leave the seeds and skins, or residue. Discard.
- Once you’ve extracted the juice, run it through a sieve to remove any remaining large chunks of the fruit.
- P.S. We did not throw away this bit, but added some of the juice, some sugar and made it into jam. Turned out very well.
- Now the juice should be very smooth. Measure the juice.
- For every cup of juice add two cups of sugar. Stir well. Using only a wooden spoon.
- Boil over a high fire until somewhat thickened. Remove the froth that develops. Juice should be cooked in a glass or enamelware saucepan to avoid discoloration to the syrup.
- Remember to continuously stir, so not to let the syrup burn or pour out. That would be a terrible mess to have.
- Bottle when tepid and seal when thoroughly cold. Open bottles of syrup should be stored in the refrigerator.
- Use a tablespoon of syrup per glass of ice water when preparing the beverage. Increase according to taste.
- Pour over ice water.
- Stir well.
- Add ice cubes…