Sharbat ‘eh Albaloo | Sour Cherry Syrup Drinks – for me and you and even for bears

Sharbat Albaloo sour cherry spritzer Persian drink with bear and flowers شربت آلبالو

There was a bear who hibernated in a cold dark cave all through winter, sleeping soundly and soundlessly, all the while dreaming of sunshine and delicious things. Deep in her slumber in the belly of the cave, she once dreamed of basking in the golden rays of summer light with wildflowers in her hair sipping delicious crimson-colored sour cherry sharbat. The dream felt so real and so deep was the desire that the bear woke with a start only to find her contemplation of the bold bright red color of sour cherries was merely a haunting chimera in the empty pitch black darkness of the cave that was her crib nestled in the stark white and gray palette of the winter howling outside. With a sigh she fell back to sleep — waiting and wishing for summer and spring.

It was spring when she stirred awake again. The bear stretched her limbs, left the cave, and twirled in the daylight — dazzled with life and light. The very hungry bear craved many things and so the bear ate and ate and ate. Oh, this bear meant to make up for the winter-past and the winter that was to come — not losing sight of the deprived pang of her frosty midnight yearning for the luscious tart redness of sour cherries and the sweet elixir of sour cherry sharbat.

Come early summer time, sour cherry trees in the orchards proudly bore their pretty fruit. The bear ate her fill! Munching fistfuls and spitting the stony pits with glee. And she made sour cherry syrup (as was her wont and custom as a Persian bear) so that all summer long, she could make ruby-hued sharbet ‘eh albaloo sour cherry drinks and spritzers to sip and sip. For herself. For her friends. To murmur with pleasure. To keep all thoughts of winter at bay.

Pitcher and glass with ice and sour cherry syrup (sharbat 'e albaloo - Persian beverage drink) on lace doily tablecloth still life with food

Pitcher and glass with ice and sour cherry syrup (sharbat 'e albaloo - Persian beverage drink) on lace doily tablecloth still life with food

Sharbat Albaloo sour cherry spritzer Persian drink with bear and flowers شربت آلبالو on doily lace table cloth with a stuffed animal bear still life with food Persian food blog

To bottle your own Persian sour cherry syrup and make pretty and delicious sharbat ‘e albaloo drinks to nurse and sip all summer long,

Here’s how to make sour cherry sharbat:

Ingredients graphic icon illustration black and white

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sour cherries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • A bottle of sparkling water (optional)

  1. Wash the cherries and remove the stems.
  2. Mix sugar and water in a big pot and boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sour cherries.
  4. Bring to a gentle boil (small bubbles), lower heat, and simmer the mixture for up to 20 minutes until the syrup thickens. (During this step, I like to press the sour cherries with a wooden spoon to release as much of their juice as possible.)
  5. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Using a meshed colander, strain syrup into a big bowl. (You can use the left over cherries – after removing the pits –  as toppings on ice cream or yogurt or a parfait.)
  7. Pour syrup into a sterilized, dry, airtight bottle.

In a glass (for individual serving) or in a pitcher (for a group) mix syrup, water (flat or sparkling) and ice cubes. Stir and serve well chilled.

How much syrup and how much water? The general consensus is 1 part syrup for 3 parts water, but in my opinion, play with the proportions to find what flavor and color suits your tastes the best. Personally, I like my sharbat on the more diluted side with just a hint of color.

The bear likes hers with a deep robust color and on the sweet side.

Sharbat Albaloo sour cherry spritzer Persian drink with bear and flowers شربت آلبالو on doily lace table cloth with a stuffed animal bear still life with food Persian food blog

Eat it. Enjoy it. And as they say in Farsi: Noosheh Jaan!

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Comments (36)

  • theunmanlychef 5 years ago Reply

    This drink always takes me back to my childhood, when my mom would have this ready for us when we got home from playing outside. This is the best summer drink

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    It really is the quintessential Persian summer drink, isn’t it? You should try it as a spritzer (with sparkling water) too if you haven’t. I think it’s really good that way as well.
    And, oh: Thank you for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  • apuginthekitchen 5 years ago Reply

    I love Sharbat and now to find some sour cherries. I just bought some Rainier cherries but think they are too sweet to use in this. Delicious and a very talented bear it is!

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Suzanne, sharbats are the best. You know, you could use the same recipe and make a cherry sharbat instead. I would recommend adding 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice once the syrup is cooling to just balance out the sweetness a bit.

  • Bizou 5 years ago Reply

    1st of all may I say how much I like your blog & navigating through it? It is like a treasure box that every time you open it a new thing pops up & draws your attention.
    And about today’s. YES. Mouth watering & nostalgique.
    Me 2 theunmanlychef. ALWAYS. Albaloo is one of my favorites in ALL things, best of all البالو خوشگه (Dried ones). Too bad what we are able to find here NEVER tastes the same in my opinion. Azita joon while in Iran did you try some? Were they even in season? How about the dried ones?
    Have a wonderful week.

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Well, you are then reciprocating fully because your comment is equally a treasure box that is just making me smile and smile. Thank you!
    I DID try both lavashak ‘eh albaloo and dried albaloo when in Iran. Nemikham dahanet ro ab bendazam but I must say: both were amazingly delicious. Jat khalli!

  • Tina 5 years ago Reply

    Cool, refreshing dream! Adorable story. I will ask around for the sour cherries. THanks

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Ha ha, thank you Tina joon, glad you didn’t think it was dorky and silly and Tina, definitely get yourself some sharbateh albaloo, it’s a wonderful drink

  • Amanda 5 years ago Reply

    LMAO I love this post. So so cute. So real. That cherry drink seriously looks amazing. I would love some. I’ll have to make this.

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Hee, hee, thrilled to hear it. Do hope you make it Amanda joon and let me know if you do, OK?

    Amanda 5 years ago

    I certainly will. xo

  • Susan Edelman 5 years ago Reply

    The bear has VERY good taste:)

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Indeed, indeed, but the bear doesn’t know when to stop. 😉

  • Yvonne Rafi 5 years ago Reply

    I was pretty surprised by the bear photos on Facebook. What? My Azita and stuffed teddies? Then, I read the story. My Azita and teddies. As no one else could. ❤️

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    <3 x 10

  • Margot 5 years ago Reply

    Did someone spike that dear bear’s Sharbat? Lovely post Azita and so true that you need to enjoy every moment of the delights that summer brings you! Cherries are such a treat… though unfortunately I’ve never seen Sour Cherries for sale here before.

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    yeah, the bear spiked her own drink, ha ha.
    always delighted when you visit Margo joon! <3

  • Interesting to see the origin of “sherbert”! I’ve been hearing a lot about sour cherries lately. Apparently they are very good for gout from which I suffer.

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    I think sour cherries have many virtues and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are good for gout and speaking of: sorry to hear you have to deal with that and best wishes in your treatment. Ideally, sour cherry sharbat could be a delicious part of the cure!

  • Mary Frances 5 years ago Reply

    Haha the last picture is so funny!
    I love the color of the syrup.

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    It’s bad form to enjoy one’s own jokes I know but I have to say it tickles me too! 🙂
    Thank you for visiting & commenting Mary Frances!

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 5 years ago Reply

    Azita jaan, Sharbate Albalooooo! Lots of memories of ‘summers of Iran’.
    Since leaving Iran over 40 yrs ago, I have not seen fresh albaloo. Where does one obtain frozen ones? Since it is the season, I am posting albaloo polo in the next couple weeks. I am using preserved ones (morabba). Dige chekar konam? If you are planning to post the pol too, with fresh ones, that will be great, there will be both versions. 😀 )))

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Hi dear Fae! My folks get fresh ones from an orchard in the DC area and then my mom freezes a few batches. So I’m not sure actually if frozen ones are widely available.
    Using preserved ones for the polo sounds like a great solution! I’ll have to go check your blog and see if you’ve posted it yet. Look forward to your delicious recipe! 🙂

  • Sharareh 5 years ago Reply

    Ooooh this reminds me of my childhood visits in Iran where my family would serve me this made of cherries from their own trees.

    Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Akh, akh … cherries from one’s own tress in Iran … what a lovely memory. It makes me wistful just reading it.
    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting Sharareh jon!

  • oiyoufood 5 years ago Reply

    Amazing post Azita! The story…love it!

  • Fig & Quince 5 years ago Reply

    Thank you Nargess joon! :)))

  • […] Lucky are those like Azita  of   Fig & Quince who can obtain fresh ones from DC and make  Sour Cherry Syrup Drinks  (sharbate albalu)  or the blog,  My Kitchen Witch, who has a tree in her backyard and just made […]

  • The Novice Gardener 5 years ago Reply

    Drat! I missed sour cherries season this year. Normally I go picking every year, for jams and stuff. I’m falling apart! Persian bears have very good taste, seems like. But that one right there in the last photo, had a little too much? Hahaha…hilarious! Thanks for the chuckle, love this post so much! <3

  • Aneela Mirchandani 5 years ago Reply

    Ha ha a Persian bear. Love your intro. I’m not a bear (except sometimes) but I would love to try this out.

  • Sophie33 5 years ago Reply

    hahahahahha! The bear is drunk! 🙂 What a refreshing sour cherry drink! Yumm!

  • laurasmess 5 years ago Reply

    This looks so delicious Azita. Sour cherries are one of my favourite things but for some reason, I’ve never made anything resembling a drink with them! Love the crimson hue of this lovely sharbat. Almost as much as the bear! Xx

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