I have been in the SCA for just over two years now. Pennsic was the third event I ever attended and I was fortunate enough to be able to go again last year. This summer, however, I had to choose between Pennsic or seeing the eclipse (I could take two weeks off, but not a full month). I opted for the eclipse. Pennsic will be there for me next year. In any case, in the spirit of Pennsic, I decided to make up some sekanjabin.
Sekanjabin is a shelf-stable Persian drink dating back to at least the 10th century (in Fihrist of al-Nadim). While most popularly made with mint, the only real requirements are vinegar and honey/sugar. People play with the ratios and add different things to them. I opted for flavors I already had on hand in my home — but flavors which were all found in Persia in-period.
- 2 C sugar
- 1¼ C water
- ½ C vinegar (white, white wine, or red wine)
- 1 C pomegranate juice
- 1 T rose water
- 3 ginger candies or 1T ginger syrup
- Bring the sugar, water, and vinegar to a boil. Stir for three minutes (sugar should now be fully integrated).
- Add ginger candy or syrup; stir until melted. Remove from heat.
- Add rosewater and pomegranate juice, stir.
- Let cool to room temperature, then bottle.
- To drink: add 1 part syrup to 5-10 parts water. Can be prepared hot or cold, but I think it tastes best over ice.
- Sekanjabin is shelf-stable and will last a very long time. Feel free to play with the flavors and proportions of the base ingredients -- other popular flavors include mint, lavender, and quince. It's also worth noting that the different vinegars will affect the flavor of the final product.
- Final yield is 24 oz of syrup. That's enough to make more than 3.5 gallons of final product -- ample to keep a family hydrated for a day at an event.
- Ginger candies and ginger syrup can be purchased online or through your local health food store. I recommend the Ginger People's hard ginger candies or their syrup. You can, of course, make your own, but I find the cost-benefit analysis to come out in favor of purchasing.