Sweet drinks satisfy a summer thirst better than anything.
It's true the world over.
In the American South, sweet tea is the favorite antidote for the summer blahs. Farther south, it's sweet coffee -- even hot coffee.
In the Near and Middle East, sugary syrups mixed with cold water are a universal thirst quencher.
My father introduced me to his two favorites when I was kid: rose-water syrup and tamarind syrup. Both tasted completely different from anything that ever plopped out of a soda machine.
Both had faded from our summer menus as we've become more sugar conscious, but sometimes you just have to indulge in a little nostalgia.
Plus, it sure has been hot!
So we decided to sip a little of each. The tamarind proved a little more challenging because it's just not available everywhere, even in Middle Eastern grocery stores.
We found some on our third try, and guess what? It contained rose water, too. I didn't remember that combination, but it tasted great.
Rose water is always in our pantry, so that was no problem. The recipe is a snap: We used about 1/4 cup of rose water to one cup of simple sugar syrup and a teaspoon of red food coloring.
Mix either syrup with water to your taste and pour over ice. A sprig of fresh mint is a nice touch if you have it.
And...ah! Suddenly, the world is cooler and life is much more pleasant.
If only everything were that simple!
(P.S., both syrups taste great over fresh, cold yogurt!)