Rooh Afza Is the Key to a Refreshing Summer Drink

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My childhood summer season reminiscences from the south Indian metropolis of Chennai (then known as Madras) come wrapped in a vibrant ruby purple sheen. Throughout these lengthy and dry months, when temperatures frequently soared above 100 levels, it was Rooh Afza, a aromatic syrup utilized in drinks and desserts, that offered cool reduction from all the warmth and humidity.

From salted buttermilk to contemporary sugarcane juice, India has a number of summer season drinks to beat the warmth. However Rooh Afza has a particular place amongst them. A pantry staple in South Asian properties throughout the world, this fruit syrup focus is served diluted with chilly water as an instantaneous pick-me-up. The primary delicate floral notes of distilled rose rapidly flip into a wealthy and sophisticated medley as the fruity notes—grapey, orangey—take over.

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Hamdard Rooh Afza Sharbat Syrup

Initially created in 1907 by a conventional medication practitioner in outdated Delhi as a treatment in opposition to warmth stroke and dehydration, Rooh Afza can also be standard throughout the month of Ramadan, used to break the daylong roza quick. When the 1947 Partition divided the newly impartial nation, one among the founder’s sons stayed again in India whereas the different moved to Pakistan. There at the moment are three completely different corporations that produce Rooh Afza—one in India, one in Pakistan, and one in Bangladesh—and the beverage is standard in every nation as a fully homegrown product, made with native components.

I keep in mind the first time I tasted it at a buddy’s home—the sheer, sugary delight of it! As if the world had all of a sudden grow to be a cooler place. Again residence, my seven-year-old self demanded petulantly of my mom, “Why haven’t I had this earlier than?”

That was the starting of a love affair that has lasted to at the present time. As a grown up, after I now attain for Rooh Afza, I attempt to persuade myself that it’s a “healthful” various to soda, regardless of all the sugar. If in any doubt, I solely want to have a look at the lengthy record of components with every kind of cooling and nourishing properties, and that virtuous halo immediately lights up round my head. From essence of rose and screw pine (recognized in Hindi as kewra, from the pandanus flower), to a wide selection of fruit and herb extracts, together with apple, pineapple, orange, coriander and vetiver (the components differ barely relying on the nation of manufacturing), Rooh Afza has all of it. Take that, cola.

Over the years, I’ve tried it combined with lemon juice and crushed mint leaves, drizzled over ice cream or falooda (a refreshing chilly dessert with ice cream, vermicelli noodles, rose syrup and candy basil seeds), and whilst a milkshake. However I nonetheless prefer it finest with plain, chilled water, simply the approach it was supposed to be had. Lately although, it isn’t about quenching thirst or cooling off, and even the subtly candy taste. To me, Rooh Afza is all about nostalgia. Now dwelling far-off from the place I grew up, a sip of this scarlet refresher takes me again to long-ago sweltering summer season afternoons in my hometown.

It was a few years after I attempted my first sip that I discovered “Rooh Afza,” from the authentic Persian, interprets to “soul uplifter.” A extra apt identify for this beverage, I can’t think about.

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