Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Refreshing green! I discovered an interesting bottle of syrup for making a Persian spearmint drink at Hatam's. The 'English' label says "Namakin Sekanjebin" or Spearmint syrup. The ingredients are spearmint juice, sugar and interestingly, vinegar. Vinegar is interesting in that one of my favorite drink memories of my high school days in Japan was a drink sipped in the hot, humid summer weather in Hiroshima, a homemade concoction with rice vinegar being the predominant feature. The hostess that day explained that you take fresh fruit and sugar and vinegar and let it steep for several days, then dilute it with water, add ice and a refreshing drink is born. I've always recalled that one with fond memories on particularly hot days, and wished I'd remembered the proper proportions. And vinegar as a drink became very popular in Japan a year or two ago, as "Vinegar Drinks Catching On" explains.
Vinegar drinks actually caught on in the US back in the 1800s and were popular up to the early 1900s. Ever hear of a 'shrub' or ahem, 'acids' ? Vinegar not only gave these drinks a pleasant 'bite', but also helped to preserve the fruit drinks without refrigeration in the summer heat. Back to Persia, I found that "Sakanjubins and Oxymels" seem to be the original 'vinegar' drinks which were also considered medicinal from before the middle ages! Back to the present, the one pictured above was quite refreshing on Saturday after a stroll at Stinson Beach.