Sherbet (Soda powder; Etymology: Turkish & Persian; Turkish şerbet, from Persian & Urdu شربت,Hindi sharbat, from Arabic sharba drink) (British and American English) historically was a cool effervescent or iced fruit soft drink. The meaning, spelling and pronunciation have fractured between different countries. It is usually spelled "sherbet", but a common corruption changes this to "sherbert".
In the US, sherbet is legally defined by the FDA as a frozen desert having between 1% and 2% milk product, whereas ice cream is any similar product that has more, and sorbet is popularly seen as having none.
Sherbet "şerbet" in Turkey is a traditional cold drink prepared with rose hips, cornelian cherries, rose or licorice and a variety of spices. It is believed that sherbet has healing effects. In the gardens of Ottoman Palace, spices and fruits to be used in sherbet were grown under the control of pharmacists and doctors of the Palace. Sherbet is still served following circumcision ceremonies or a childbirth to increase lactation of the mother.
Sherbet in the United Kingdom is a kind of fizzy powder made from bicarbonate of soda, tartaric acid, sugar etc and usually cream soda or fruit flavoured. The acid-carbonate reaction occurs upon presence of moisture (juice/saliva). It used to be stirred into various beverages to make effervescing drinks, in a similar way to making lemonade from lemonade powders, before canned carbonated drinks became ubiquitous. Sherbet is now used to mean this powder sold as a sweet. (In the United States, it would be somewhat comparable to the powder in Pixy Stix or Lik-M-Aid/Fun Dip, though having the fizzy quality of effervescing candy.)
Delivery methodsSherbet has a dual role in the modern sweet world, acting in both solo form and as a decorative agent on other sweets. The most common occurrences are detailed below, but this list is not exhaustive. Dimensions of sherbet include granularity, colour, zing (acidity) and flavouring (normally a citrus fruit).
Sherbet lemonThe Sherbet Lemon is a hard lemon-flavoured boiled sweet with a centre of powdered sherbert. It is a popular sweet in the UK and other countries. It is mainly produced by Cadbury Schweppes.
Paired with liquoriceSherbet may be sold in a cardboard tube with a stick made from liquorice as a sherbet fountain. The stick is supposed to be dipped into the sherbet and licked off, where it fizzes and dissolves on the tongue, though many people tend to tip the sherbet into their mouths and eat the liquorice separately.
When paired with liquorice, sherbet is typically left unflavoured in a white form and with a higher reactive agent so that it causes a fizzy foam to develop in the mouth.
Fruit flavoured with lollipopSherbet dips or Sherbert Dabs are also popular. Brands include the Dip Dab by Barratt (owned by Monkhill Confectionery, late of Cadbury Schweppes) or the Dib Dab by Swizzels Matlow. They consist of a small packet of sherbet, with a lollipop sealed into the bag. Once the lollipop has been licked, it can be dipped into the sherbet and then sucked clean, alternatively it can simply be used to shovel the sherbet into the mouth. It has been known for some 'Dip Dab' packets to contain two lollies and some unfortunately no lollies at all.
Another popular type of sherbet dip is the 'Double Dipper' where the packet is divided into three or four sections; one contains an edible stick which can be licked and then dipped into the other sections, each of which contains a different flavour of sherbet (for example strawberry, orange, cola).
Sherbet strawsPlastic straws filled purely with fruit flavoured sherbet. The most common lengths are 10cm and 50cm. The price of these straws range from 1p to £2.00 in the UK depending on size, make and flavour. Normally found in newsagents.
Flying saucersSmall dimpled discs made from edible coloured paper (rice paper), typically filled with white unflavoured sherbet (the same form as in Sherbet Fountains)
Decorator functionsSherbet is incorporated into other sweets. For example it is used to give gum based sweets an interesting surface texture and zing (cola bottles, fruit strips).
SlangSherbet has been used in parts of both the UK and Australia as slang for an alcoholic drink, especially beer. This use is noted in a slang dictionary as early as 1890, and still appears in list of slang terms written today (especially lists of Australian slang). "We're heading to the pub for a few sherbets." - … pints of beer."
In the UK "Showbiz Sherbet" sometimes refers to cocaine, which is also consumed as a powder.
In the 1990s, "sherbet dab" began to be used as Cockney rhyming slang for a "taxi cab". Its use in this sense is restricted to London dialects, for instance "It's raining, let's get a sherbet"; meaning "It's raining, let's take a taxi cab".
Popular cultureIn the first Austin Powers movie, the main character hypnotizes a guard and orders him to get some orange sherbet.
In early episodes of BBC comedy The Goodies, Bill Oddie's character uses lemon sherbet as a recreational drug. Under the influence of sherbet Bill sees visions, often a combination of swirling shapes, celebrities of the day like Tony Blackburn, and clues to help solve the Goodies' problem that week.
In an episode of Life on Mars, Gene Hunt and Sam Tyler are on stakeout. While Sam is running through the case and watching the suspect carefully, his superior, Gene, is busy eating a Sherbet Fountain in an untidy fashion.
In the 1998 N64 classic, Diddy Kong Racing, alongside Dino Domain, Snowflake Mountain, Dragon Forest and Future Fun Land is a water based overworld called "Sherbet Island".
In Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, several iterations of Mario Kart, and Mario Hoops 3-on-3, there is a place named Sherbet Land.
- Italian ice
- Swizzels Matlow - notable manufacturer of sherbet products
- http://www.york.ac.uk/res/sots/activities/itsagas.htm for instructions to make sherbet.
- Of the Street Sale of Ginger-Beer, Sherbet, Lemonade,&C., from London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1, Henry Mayhew, 1851; subsequent pages cover the costs and income of street sherbet sellers.
sherbet in Arabic: شربت
sherbet in German: Brausepulver
sherbet in Persian: شربت
sherbet in Japanese: シャーベット
sherbet in Serbian: Шербет
sherbet in Turkish: Şerbet
sherbet in Urdu: شربت