The refreshing sharbat is an extremely popular drink in Old Delhi during summers.
If you were to move from New Delhi to the crowded lanes of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, your view of the capital city would surely take a 360 degree turn. From the high-rise buildings and well-developed malls and supermarkets, your eyes would be drawn towards the narrow lanes of parathe wali gali and small hole-in-the-wall eateries and shops brimming with customers all through the day. The sound of the holy azaan from Jama Masjid in the evening throngs each house and heart in the area. The street food in the shack-shops and makeshift carts is what keeps the real essence of the Old city alive within it even today.
You may have heard of nihari and kebabs along with sheermal being served at Karims and Al Jawahar. The fragrance of deep-fried aloo tikkis and kachoris in the winter months along with daulat ki chaat feels like a warm hug. The freshly-churned out lassi and mohabbat ka sharbat during summers bring respite to our souls after a tiresome day. Wait, haven’t you heard of mohabbat ka sharbat before? This drink is definitely a game-changer and satiates the thirst like no other.
Source: Indian Street Food Blogger/Instagram
The Story Of Mohabbat Ka Sharbat
Also known as Pyaar Mohabbat sharbat, this pink-coloured drink derives its beautiful hue from the watermelons. Sliced and chopped, the watermelons pieces are dropped into the drink along with rooh afza, milk and ice cubes. This drink quenches your thirst and provides you relief during the sweltering heat. However, you can find the authentic version of this unique-named beverage only at Nawab Qureshi’s cart near Jama Masjid, adjacent to Aslam Chicken Corner.
Nawab Qureshi’s vision of setting up shop in Old Delhi when he came from Uttar Pradesh, was fulfilled once his cart business took off. Selling this love potion for a mere price of INR 10 per glass, people eagerly wait for the summer months to relish this delicious concoction of watermelon and rose-flavoured milk. The man has become so iconic and deeply associated with the drink that he is referred to as Pyaar Mohabbat Sharbat wala sometimes.
Sharbat, for those untouched by the phenomenon, is a juice that has been diluted in water. It could be made from any fruit or ingredient. There are plenty of sharbats today like Khus Khus ka sharbat, nimbu ka sharbat etc. In the coastal areas, you’d find an ingredient called kokum. Not only is a souring agent in those regions but also a great addition to make a refreshing cooler.