Safran Şerbeti (Saffron Cordial)

This floral, citrusy, and sweet cordial has protective properties in Turkish culture. If someone trips over a flat surface, the warm can be poured to protect them from the evil eye. This chilled drink is a sunny yellow color, and it gets that color from saffron. Grinding them with sugar makes them easier to dissolve. The lemon slices can make the cordial bitter if you save it overnight. Serbeti with saffron, a popular drink in Ottoman bathhouses called hammam, was created by many. This is a great way to pay homage to this tradition.


  • Two teaspoons of granulated sugar.
  • One pinch saffron (about 15 to 20 strands or 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • .50 teaspoon ground ginger
  • One lemon, thinly cut, plus an additional for serving
  • 1/3 cup honey


  1. Sugar and saffron can be crushed with a pestle and mortar to a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. Bring 4 1/4 cups of water, the ginger, and the lemon slices to a rolling boil in a medium pan on high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the saffron mixture; let it stand for 10 minutes. Add honey. Cover and chill for 4 hours. Serve chilled cordial with lemon slices.