Long before the Americans and Europeans introduced mock tails, Nungu sarbath and milk sarbath were tasted by the locals here
With the sun playing hide n’ seek and inconsistent fluctuation in temperature day in and day out, it is necessary to ensure that the body temperature is maintained through hydration. For today’s generation ordering for a Blue Ocean, Virgin Mojito or a Mint Cooler might seem normal. But travel down south and you will find Nungu Sarbath, Kuluki Sarbath, Fruit Sarbath being sold on literally every street. Do the names sound alien??? Ask a Kanyakumarian, these are household names.
For starters, Sarbath is concentrated sweet syrup made from one of the following: roots of nannari, fresh rose petals, basil seeds, pineapple etc. And being the Jugaad nation that we are, it was child’s play for our locals to come up with various mixtures and variants of sarbath. Long before the Americans and Europeans introduced mock tails, Nungu sarbath and milk sarbath were tasted by the locals here.
Take a ride over the newly constructed Putheri Bridge and you will find a handful of vendors serving a blend of cut fruits mixed with sarbath. The most famous combo however is sarbath with Palmyra fruit locally known as Nungu. Nungu Sarbath is a refreshing thirst quencher. The Palmyra fruit is available in the market and hence this is an easy homemade recipe as well. Down south, the Nungu Sarbath has been given serious competition to the evergreen natural summer drink – Tender Coconut.
A spicier version of a sarbath mock tail is also very popular known as Kuluki Sarbath. It’s so famous that it’s even got a facebook page. Just about every shop or a roadside stall has its own version of Kuluki sarbath. Nannari syrup, soaked basil seeds ( kasa kasa,), fresh lime juice and generous helping of liquidised bird’s eye chilli (kanthari mulaku), plus heaps of ice shavings make up a perfect Kuluki sarbath.
Enterprising shopkeepers often give their own twist to the drink, with the likes of crushed ginger, grape juice, glucose, salt and even raw mangoes in brine solution going into the mixture. Another mock tail that comes out from the sarbath family is the milk sarbath. Nannari syrup mixed with ice-cold milk is the recipe to beat the heat.
Mouth-watering recipes inducing your taste buds??? Walk down to any street in the district of Kanyakumari and you are highly likely to find a vendor selling Sarbath recipes. If you are reading this from a different city, just walk down to a nearby departmental store, ignore the cokes and pepsis, grab a bottle of sarbath syrup and try out the recipes at your home.