Şerbet (Turkish) (Soda powder; Etymology: Turkish & Persian; Turkish şerbet, from Persian & Urdu شربت,Hindi sharbat, from Arabic sharba drink) (British and American English) historically was a cool effervescent or iced fruit soft drink. The meaning, spelling and pronunciation have fractured between different countries. It is usually spelled "sherbet", but a common corruption changes this to "sherbert".
Sherbet in Turkey is a traditional cold drink prepared with rose hips, cornelian cherries, rose or licorice and a variety of spices. It is believed that sherbet has healing effects. In the gardens of Ottoman Palace, spices and fruits to be used in sherbet were grown under the control of pharmacists and doctors of the Palace. Sherbet is still served following circumcision ceremonies or a childbirth to increase lactation of the mother.
Sherbet in the United Kingdom is a kind of fizzy powder made from bicarbonate of soda, tartaric acid, sugar etc and usually cream soda or fruit flavoured. The acid-carbonate reaction occurs upon presence of moisture (juice/saliva). It used to be stirred into various beverages to make effervescing drinks, in a similar way to making lemonade from lemonade powders, before canned carbonated drinks became ubiquitous. Sherbet is now used to mean this powder sold as a sweet. (In the United States and Australia, it would be somewhat comparable to the powder in Pixy Stix or Lik-M-Aid/Fun Dip, though having the fizzy quality of effervescing candy.)
Sherbet has a dual role in the modern sweet world, acting in both solo form and as a decorative agent on other sweets. The most common occurrences are detailed below, but this list is not exhaustive. Dimensions of sherbet include granularity, colour, zing (acidity) and flavouring (normally a citrus fruit).
The Sherbet Lemon is a hard lemon-flavoured boiled sweet
with a centre of powdered sherbet. It is a popular sweet in the UK and other countries. These were created by a man named John Pearson. It is mainly produced by Cadbury Schweppes
Paired with liquorice
Sherbet may be sold in a cardboard tube with a stick made from liquorice
as a sherbet fountain
. The stick is supposed to be dipped into the sherbet and licked off, where it fizzes and dissolves on the tongue, though many people prefer to tip the sherbet into their mouths and eat the liquorice separately.
When paired with liquorice, sherbet is typically left unflavoured in a white form and with a higher reactive agent so that it causes a fizzy foam to develop in the mouth.
Fruit flavoured with lollipop
or Sherbet Dabs
are also popular. Brands include the Dip Dab
by Barratt (owned by Monkhill Confectionery
, late of Cadbury Schweppes
) or the Dib Dab
by Swizzels Matlow
. They consist of a small packet of sherbet, with a lollipop sealed into the bag. Once the lollipop has been licked, it can be dipped into the sherbet and then sucked clean, alternatively it can simply be used to shovel the sherbet into the mouth. It has been known for some 'Dip Dab' packets to contain two lollies and some unfortunately no lollies at all.
Another popular type of sherbet dip is the 'Double Dipper' where the packet is divided into three or four sections; one contains an edible stick which can be licked and then dipped into the other sections, each of which contains a different flavour of sherbet (for example strawberry, orange, cola).
Plastic straws filled purely with fruit flavoured sherbet. The most common lengths are 10cm and 50cm. The price of these straws range from 1p to £2.00 in the UK depending on size, make and flavour. Normally found in newsagents
Small dimpled discs made from edible coloured paper (rice paper
), typically filled with white unflavoured sherbet (the same form as in Sherbet Fountains
Sherbet is incorporated into other sweets. For example it is used to give gum based sweets an interesting surface texture and zing (notably cola bottles
, fruit strips
This is a popular variety sold in Calcutta's oldest existing sherbet shop The Paramount, near College Square. Established in 1918 by the late Nihar Ranjan Mazumdar, Paramount originally was the meeting point for those involved in the Swadeshi Movement.
Sherbet has been used in parts of both the UK and Australia as slang
for an alcoholic
drink, especially beer
. This use is noted in a slang dictionary as early as 1890, and still appears in list of slang terms written today (especially lists of Australian slang). "We're heading to the pub for a few sherbets." - … pints of beer."
In the UK "Showbiz Sherbet" sometimes refers to cocaine, which is also consumed as a powder.
In the 1990s, "sherbet dab" began to be used as Cockney rhyming slang for a "taxi cab". Its use in this sense is restricted to London dialects, for instance "It's raining, let's get a sherbet"; meaning "It's raining, let's take a taxi cab".