Iranian/Persian Sekahnjebin (Vinegar-Mint Summer Drink)

April 15, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Makes about two cups
Author Notes

Iranians are renowned for their hospitality. If you visit an Iranian house on a hot summer day, you will most likely be served a cold sugary drink (sharbat) of some variety (sour cherry, key lime, quince, etc). You might not think that you need a sharbat but after taking a few sips you will realize that it hit the spot and that is exactly what you needed coming in from the heat.

One such summer drink is sharbat Sekahnjebin (or serkeh-angabin, literally translated "vinegar syrup"). The prepared syrup in poured into a tall glass, topped with ice water and grated cucumbers, and garnished with fresh mint.

Sekhanjebin syrup is also used as a dip for young leaves of romaine lettuce for nibbling at backyard parties and picnics.

I like to cut my grapefruit in half, drizzle it with this syrup, and eat it with a grapefruit spoon. —cookingProf

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 large bouquet of fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  • a few sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated cucumbers for each drink
  1. Put the sugar and water in a 2-quart steel pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the sugar melts, add the vinegar and let it boil for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove and drop the mint bouquet in the hot syrup. Cover the pot and let the syrup cool completely. Remove and discard the mint and pour the syrup into a jar. The syrup will keep for a long time in the pantry.
  3. To make the drink, pour about 3-4 ounces of syrup in each glass and top with ice cubes and water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of grated cucumbers and garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Herstory of Food
    Herstory of Food
  • susan g
    susan g
  • hardlikearmour
  • creamtea
  • Marisa R
    Marisa R

Recipe by: cookingProf

I was gifted with the love for cooking as a very young girl growing up in Tehran. I would follow my grandmother to the fresh produce market every day in summer days and help carry her basket home. I would then stand around at her foot in the kitchen and she would reward me with delicious morsels of the food she was cooking. My two prominent occupations/preoccupations are cooking and teaching computer science/writing computer programs. I find both equally rewarding.

7 Reviews

Herstory O. December 31, 2020
I heard about this recipe on the podcast Home Cooking. To be honest, I was a little skeptical. For my American palate, the combination of vinegar and sugar in a drink seemed odd. But, wow! This is amazing. It is refreshing, but just a bit surprising. If you make this for a party, guests won't know what hit them. I think it would be great with a clear alcohol too if that's up your alley. Thanks for the delicious, new treat!
susan G. April 26, 2013
Waiting for the mint to come back! I would love to see more sharbat recipes to go through the seasons. And there could be a relationship with the American 'shrub' -- hardlikearmour's f52 recipes for shrubs have been excellent.
hardlikearmour April 16, 2013
There's a version of this in Diana Henry's Salt Sugar Smoke along with some fruit sharbats. I'm dying to make the quince sharbat next fall, and plan on making the rhubarb one soon. Your version of sekahnjebin with the added cucumber sounds incredibly refreshing. It's on my list for a hot summer drink!
cookingProf April 16, 2013
Thanks, hardlikearmour. I am not familiar with Diana Henry's book. I'd have to check it out. The quince sharbat is my favorite; it develops this beautiful rosé color if done right. Does her recipe use keylime juice along with the quince?
hardlikearmour April 16, 2013
She uses lemon juice. I love the sound of key lime, though! It's a gorgeous book, and I definitely urge you to page through it when you get a chance.
creamtea April 16, 2013
Looks so refreshing!
Marisa R. April 15, 2013
oooh sounds tangy