Turkish Food

How to Make Turkish Purple Basil Lemonade (Reyhan Şerbeti)

I’d never seen purple basil before I came across it in the Thursday market in Istanbul’s Acıbadem neighbourhood. Here, they call it reyhan and use it in a number of different ways, including making it into a surprisingly delicious sherbet drink. I used a number of different Turkish recipes to recreate it and have shared the best, tweaked version below:

How to Make It

Makes 1 litre

1 ltr. hot water
150g of granulated sugar
1 bunch of purple basil
Half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick / 1tsp. cinnamon powder
1 or 2 whole cloves

  1. Put the purple basil (stalks and leaves) in a pan, with the sliced lemon, sugar, cloves and cinnamon.
  2. Boil a litre of water in a kettle and pour on top of the mixture in the pan, stirring occassionally.
  3. Leave the mixture until it cools to room temperature before removing the basil and lemon, straining, and putting in the fridge to cool.

P.S. Don’t leave the basil in the mixture too long as it can make it bitter.

A bottle of Reyhan Şerbeti Purple Basil Lemonade
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