Smoothies & Drinks

Grapefruit Sharbat {Grapefruit Shikanji}

Grapefruit Sharbat {Grapefruit Shikanji} is a refreshing drink made with a mixture of freshly squeezed grapefruit, lemons, and limes flavored with sugar, Himalayan black salt, and black pepper. Packed with naturally occurring vitamin C and electrolytes, Grapefruit Sharbat {Grapefruit Shikanji} makes a wonderful thirst quencher esp in hot, Summer months!

I had completely forgotten about “sharbat” which is often made with lemons/limes in Nepal called “kagati ko sharbat” (kagati = lemon in Nepali) until recently. I went to Priya Krishna’s book signing event where we were served a drink called “shikanji” from her cookbook – Indian-ish. Sharbat, known as Shikanji, shikanjvi and shikanjabeen in many parts of India is a close cousin to lemonade/limemade or, a desi-gatorade if you will. Sharbat is actually a Persian word which means sugar and water but over the decades, it has morphed into sharab, sherbet, shrub, or sorbet depending on who you talk to. Here are two really interesting articles on the history of sharbat :





In Nepal, sharbat used to be a pretty standard drink served to guests until we started stocking up on pre-made squash bottles & tang drink-mix. Unlike Western lemonade/limeade, sharbat has that sweet-salty-tangy number going and can be flavored with spices and herbs like mint, cucumber, cumin, black pepper etc. Grapefruit Sharbat {Grapefruit Shikanji} is my elevated take on kagati-ko-sharbat; personally I think it’s slightly more interesting with the use of grapefruit and technique from Priya’s shikanji.



I used freshly squeezed grapefruit, lemon, and limes and while it’s a little bit time consuming, it’s very much worth it. Regular salt works fine here but if you have Himalayan black salt, let it shine in Grapefruit Sharbat {Grapefruit Shikanji}.

Himalayan black salt (bire noon in Nepali, kala namak in Hindi) is widely used in South Asian cuisines for it’s distinctive sulfurous smell and it adds a nice punch of salty/umami to lots of vegetable and lentil-based dishes and beverages. PS. it is also considered a digestive aid!

Himalayan black salt is a rock salt that comes from the salt mines of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. It starts as a Himalayan pink salt which is then heated to extremely high temperatures and mixed with spices and herbs including the seeds of the harad fruit which contains sulfur. It also contains trace impurities of sulfates, sulfides, iron and magnesium which all contribute to the salt’s color, smell and taste.

The salt is usually a dark pink/purple color which turns to a pale pastel pink color when ground. You can easily find Himalayan black salt in most Indian grocery stores in the spice aisle.



Grapefruit Sharbat (Grapefruit Shikanji)

The recipe makes about 28 oz (5-7 servings) but you can adjust the quantity as needed. Also, I would suggest blending the juices with ice and water right before serving. You can squeeze the juices and mix in sugar, Himalayan black salt, and black pepper in a pitcher or your blender jar in the refrigerator. The mixture will be tart to taste but you will be blending it with ice and water, which will balance out later.

1 large grapefruit, freshly squeezed (about 8 oz)

3 medium lemon, freshly squeezed (about 4 oz)
4 small limes, freshly squeezed (about 4 oz)
4-6 tablespoon sugar (adjust per taste and tanginess from the juice)
1/4 teaspoon Himayalan black salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups ice
2 cups cold water


  1. In a blender, add freshly squeezed juice from grapefruit, lemons, and limes. Add sugar, Himayalan black salt, black pepper.

  2. Add cubed ice and water and blend until you see a little froth on top.

  3. Fill a glass half way with ice and pour about 4 oz in each glass.

  4. Serve it chilled.



Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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