½ cup sugar
60ml good white vinegar
1 cup mint leaves plus extra for garnish
1 cucumber, finely grated

Sharbat syrups are very popular drinks in Iran. Often made with distilled water of herbs or flowers, one of my favourites was made with mint syrup and fresh grated cucumber with a hint of vinegar, like a shrub. Of course, these are alcohol-free but add a slug of gin or vodka if you are so inclined. These drinks are often served at room temperature in Iran, but I prefer mine with a little ice.


1.Put the sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar.
2.Add the vinegar and boil again.
3.Remove from the heat, stir in the mint and leave to cool.
4.Strain out the mint and discard when the syrup is cool.
5.To serve, divide the cucumber and syrup between 6 glasses, add ice if liked and mint leaves and top up with ice cold water.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jessica Hemmings

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