Safran Şerbeti (Saffron Cordial)

In Turkish culture, this floral, citrusy, sweet cordial is believed to have protective properties: If someone trips on a flat path, it's poured on the spot to ward off the evil eye. Magical properties aside, this chilled, sunshine-yellow drink gets its hue from saffron threads; grinding them with sugar helps them dissolve easily. If saving overnight, discard the lemon slices, as they can turn the cordial slightly bitter. During Ottoman times, şerbeti made with saffron was commonplace at communal bathhouses known as hammam; nod to its roots by making this cordial part of a moment of self-care, or enjoy it anytime you need a refreshing drink.

Safran Serberti
Photo: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
Refrigerate Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
8 hrs 15 mins


  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 pinch of saffron (15 to 20 strands, about 1/4 teaspoon)

  • 4 ¼ cups water

  • .50 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

  • cup honey


  1. Crush sugar and saffron using a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Set aside.

  2. Bring 4 1/4 cups water, ginger, and lemon slices to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Boil 2 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in saffron mixture; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in honey. Cover and chill 4 hours. Serve cordial chilled with lemon slices.

Make Ahead

Cordial can be refrigerated overnight in an airtight container. Remove lemon slices after 4 hours, and reserve for serving, if desired.

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