Sherbet is made from fruit juices or extracts of flowers or herbs, combined with sugar and water to form a syrup that is thinned with water, ice or snow. As alcohol is forbidden in Islam, sherbet became one of the most popular and widespread drinks in Muslim lands. Sherbet derives from the Arabic shariba, meaning "to drink."
Until the 20th century, there were few means of preserving and transporting fresh fruit. Refrigeration was only for the very rich, while transport was slow. Fruits remained seasonal and local, except when they could be dried or reduced to a liquid essence in the form of syrup.
The most common kind is sugar and water but very sweet; lemonade is another; a third is prepared from violets. A fourth is made from mulberries.
In Europe and US, the drink, known as shrub was popular, made from raspberries, currants or citrus mixed with sugar and vinegar. Shrub is making a comeback in the US.
At the end of the 1800’s came drinks like Coke, which began bottling plants in Malaysia in 1936, Morocco and Tunisia in 1947, Pakistan in 1953, and Turkey in 1965. For a while the two soft drinks vied for position in sherbet shops and among street vendors in the Middle East. Eventually western soft drinks dominated. The need for sherbets dwindled, though sherbet still features prominently in festivals like marriages in Muslim countries.
MUSLIMS - FIRST WITH THE GOOD STUFF