Saffron and Cardamom Lemonade Concentrate

By • April 30, 2013 11 Comments

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Author Notes: A traditional summer cooler from India--a lemonade infused with green cardamom and saffron, served cold with fresh mint.Saee Khandekar

Food52 Review: Cardamom and saffron in a beverage? I love it! This delicate drink is so simple, but it evokes the bouquet of flavors that makes food from this part of the world so intriguing. India and Iran share many common food traditions, and this lemonade fits neatly into the category of a Persian sharbat, a fresh, cold drink made from fruit and flower essences. The words “sherbet,” “sorbet,” and “syrup” all have their root in this word. For a casual Sunday gathering in my friend’s backyard, I whipped up a batch of this lemonade and served it with Persian-spiced (turmeric, sumac, lime) chicken wings. I took the author’s suggestion and added a dash of vodka, subbing sparkling water for still, and it was sublime!Louisa Shafia

Makes 500 ml concentrate

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons green cardamom powder
  • 7 to 8 strands, saffron
  1. Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar and water over low heat. Stir occasionally to ensure that it does not burn. Simmer for a minute once the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Turn off the heat. Add the cardamom and saffron and cool completely.
  3. Pour in the lemon juice and stir to mix.
  4. Strain and store in a sterilized bottle in the refrigerator.
  5. To make the lemonade, pour 3 tbsp. of the concentrate in a glass. Muddle some mint leaves and sprinkle some salt. Add ice cubes and fill up with cold water. Stir and enjoy! I also like to drink this with a dash of vodka *wink.* If you’re a soda person, this works well with soda as well.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
  • This recipe is a Community Pick!

More Great Recipes: Appetizers|Boozy Drinks|Booze-Free Drinks

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Comments (11) Questions (1)


about 1 year ago Dawne

This is really delicious. I did find that it was better if used the same day. I'd be interested in hearing if others had success freezing it.


over 1 year ago Diana B

Diana B is a trusted home cook.

I just have plain old garden variety cardamom pods or the ground spice you can buy at the supermarket. Can I use either of those instead?


over 1 year ago Andy J. Le Blanc

Is this concoction able to go into the freezer?


over 1 year ago KelseyB

I made this 2 days ago and used it for cocktails. I really love the safron and cardamom flavor, but I felt like it still needed something more - acidity or berry. Next time I'll try increasing the lemon juice or adding cranberry.


over 1 year ago cucina di mammina

I am making this soon, love the combination of flavors, although I may reduce the sugar as I prefer not too sweet for my taste.


about 2 years ago Georgetown-DC

OMG! Drinking now - the flavor is FANTASTIC and so worth the sugar! We are sipping them as we make Flodeboller - Danish treats. We are going to have roast beef sandwiches with Tiger Sauce (mayo, sour cream and horseradish) on cibatta bread with tomatoes and basil! SO YUMMY!


about 2 years ago Mariana Abdala

This sounds delicious! I'm wondering if it would go well with a splash of Lillet Blanc and soda?


about 2 years ago walkie74

Delicious, even with a sugar substitute! The cardamom and saffron is very, very subtle. Fantastic!


about 2 years ago Saee Khandekar

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!


about 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

What a wonderful drink. Congrats on the wildcard. I have all the ingredients handy and on my way to the kitchen to make it!


about 2 years ago Saee Khandekar

Hey, did you have a chance to try it? I'd love to hear how it turned out!