This is a great historic Persian treat, that is, in a way, like medieval gatorade.
The base recipe is sugar and vinegar, but the possibilities for added flavors and ingredients are as limitless as your imagination. I’ve included both a basic, traditional recipe, and one of my favorite new versions- strawberry, ginger, mint. The traditional version is nearly clear, and subtly flavored, so if you’re worried about drinking vinegar, don’t be. Sweet from the sugar, it also has a slight acidic tang from the vinegar, but it also has a refreshing fruity flavor. The modern version is wonderfully flavorful. I enjoyed it both hot and cold, as well as a dash of sweetener in green tea.
It would be perfect for the hotter climates, such as a blood orange version in Dorne, or exotic fruit varietals in the Free Cities. Imagine enjoying a large glass of this, cooled with a chip of ice, in the water gardens of Sunspear, or atop the tiered pyramids of Meereen. And because it is concentrated, it would also travel well, making it ideal for dusty travel over dunes for the Martell Sandsnakes.
Other regional varieties could also exist, in Westeros as it did in our world. The ancient Greeks made Oxymel, which is similar to this drink: 4-5 parts honey to one part vinegar. Even the Anglo-Saxons had a version with honey! With some apple cider vinegar, wildflower honey, cinnamon, and vanilla, I think one could go far. :)
Traditional Sekanjabin Recipe
Take a ratl of strong vinegar and mix it with two ratls of sugar, and cook all this until it takes the form of a syrup. Drink an ûqiya of this with three of hot water when fasting: it is beneficial for fevers of jaundice, and calms jaundice and cuts the thirst, since sikanjabîn syrup is beneficial in phlegmatic fevers: make it with six ûqiyas of sour vinegar for a ratl of honey and it is admirable. -An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook, 13th C, translated by Charles Perry
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
Combine and simmer for around 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Dilute with one part syrup to 3 parts water.
Modern Sekanjabin Recipe
Cook’s Note: Because this syrup contains fruit juice, it will eventually spoil much sooner than the traditional version. Use withing a couple of weeks or refrigerate.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 diced strawberries
- 1″ thinly sliced ginger
- 1 sprig of mint
Combine, simmer for 10 minutes, strain. Dilute 3-5 parts water to 1 part syrup.