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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Water Melon Margarita

I am sure by now you all know that Margarita is one of my favorite cocktail. I keep experimenting different versions of it.

My secret ingredient for this Margarita is Rooh-Afja Syrup from local Indian Grocer. (actually I saw it on Amazon as well). It has a very sweet fruity flavor and actually is a blend of many extracts.

Here is something about Rooh-Afja shrabat: Sharbat or charbat is the name applied to a variety of sweet soft drinks flavored with fruit juice or floral extracts, popular in the Middle East/India/Pakistan. Sharbat Rooh Afza is the bestselling product of Hamdard Dawakhana (Wakf) Laboratories, a company that is officially owned by g-d and is otherwise in the business of selling herbal medicines.

Created in 1907, the origin of the name "Rooh Afza" is now unclear: it was both the name of a late 19th century Indian newspaper and a fictional princess from a 13th century text. According to the company, Rooh creator Hakeem Ustad Hasan Khan is now over a hundred years old and still kicking in Karachi, a testament to the beverage's health benefits. For a fascinating history (including excerpts from poetry composed in its honor!) One theory is it's the name of a character from a 13th century book named Masnavi Gulzar-e-Nasim.

Rooh means soul in Urdu. And Afza means that which nourishes. So it actually means that syrup which nourishes the soul.

Rooh's colorful cartoon label warns that drinkers of the garishly bright magenta syrup "won't be able to forget the taste and the joy in a hurry." True enough. As with all soft drinks, it's primarily water and sugar. Things get crazy with the addition of pineapple juice, coriander extract, spinach juice, orange juice, rose extract, sandalwood essence, and many other herbal items. Servings of the drink are called "doses" of 50 ml. It is reputed to be, in no particular order: a nutrient (ahem, sugar), a source of electrolytes, beneficial for the heart, liver, and kidneys (as documented by medical studies), a cure for indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea (not so documented), a hydrant (well, duh), and a delicious, soothing refreshment.

The viscous concentrate smells like a melted cherry lollipop while in the bottle. With water or seltzer, a rose flavor dominates and it is sickeningly sweet. For an American palate, it's very intense. A blend with vodka and soda will cut the sweetness and made for a unique cocktail that's not altogether unpleasant. Rooh aficionados have the right idea when they mix the syrup with milk, creating a sort of Indian egg cream. It can also be mixed with custard or puddings, and we look forward to dribbling a little on vanilla ice cream or lemon sorbet.

Now back to my recipe: The Rooh afja gives a nice flavor to this drink and enhances the flavor of Watermelon. This recipe makes a very nice cool cocktail drink for hot sizzling summers. You can make a delicious virgin version of this recipe by just omitting the alcohol.

Here is How I make it:


** 1/2 cup of Tequila

** 1/4 cup Triple sec

** 1/2 cup of Pink lemonade

** 1/3 cup of Rooh-Afja syrup (can cut down or add more to desired sweetness)

** 3-4 cups of water melon cubes

** 1 cup of crushed ice

** 1/2 bottle of Mike's hard lemonade or Margarita drink (any berry flavor)

** Sugar to coat the serving glasses

** Watermelon slices (optional), for garnish


* Dip the rims of serving glasses in some lemonade.

* Coat sugar on the rims of serving glasses by inverting the glasses in sugar placed on a flat dish, then put the serving glasses in fridge for 1-2 hours.

* Place all the ingredients including crushed ice in a blender and blend until smooth.

* Pour the margaritas in serving glasses with sugar coated on rims.

* Add wedge of water melon or lime on the rim of glass for garnish and serve immediately.

This recipes makes about 4 servings.


** If you have time you can freeze the watermelon cube in freezer for 6-8 hours prior to making this drink.

** This drink taste delicious in its virgin version as well, to make this you can omit the tequila, triple sec and mike's hard lemonade or margarita drink.

** If Rooh-Afja syrup is not the one for your palate, you can substitute Maple syrup to give this cocktail a different flavor.

Information of Rooh-Afja courtesy of
First two photographs:
by amazing_podgirl at
by collectionlaw at

Rest of the Photographs by Surekha.
Recipe by Surekha.

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