5 Ingredients or Fewer

Saffron & Cardamom Lemonade Concentrate

April 30, 2013
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes 500 ml concentrate
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons green cardamom powder
  • 8 strands, saffron
In This Recipe
Directions
  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.

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