J aggery Sharbat or Gud Ka Sharbat is nothing but a simple jaggery drink. Made primarily using jaggery, mint and lemon, the juice is often served in tropical belts in India.
Jaggery as an ingredient aids the human body in several ways. It not only cools down the body’s internal temperature but is also responsible for aiding digestion. This sweet, cold brew is often garnished with salty elements like black salt and even chaat masala to balance the saccharine aftertaste of the jaggery. Some versions even add ginger juice to the mix to enhance the punch in it. Crushed black pepper serves a similar purpose, aiding not only with digestion but also clearing the throat and nose.
Though Gur Ka Sharbat is prevalent across India, it is mainly consumed in Western India (perhaps owing to the fact that Maharashtra is the largest producer of jaggery in the subcontinent, with the city of Kolhapur being considered the jaggery capital of India). In fact, the variant available in Maharashtra is the yellowish-golden kind that easily melts in one’s mouth, and as a result, is sold at premium prices.
The history of jaggery dates back several thousand years. Texts on the ancient science of Ayurveda, as old as 5000 years of age, have mentions of s´arkarã (in Sanskrit), the only form of sugar available across Asia and even Africa. The benefits of this element ranged from enhancing bone and heart health to blood purification. It was this element that was later discovered by the Portuguese (in Kerala during the 1600s), who renamed the Malayalam term Cakkarã to Xagarã, which later became jaggery.