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Basic Information

Confusing sherbert seems to be any one of several substances - we've filed it under drinks, but it can be any of the following:

1) An iced drink, popular in Western and Southern Asia (also known as sharbat) prepared from any one of a number of fruits and/or flower petals. Occasionally these are used in Vedic medicine, but normally they are just a luxury drink.
2) The concentrated form of 1), eaten as a dessert.
3) A sweet, cake like dessert from central Asia.
4) A Western (mostly American) dessert, similar to sorbet but containing a proportion of dairy fat, also known as a dairy sorbet.
5) A sweet, fizzy powder, also known as kali containing sugar, an acid and a base, which can either be eaten as-is (often with a lollipop or liquorice stick) or mixed with water to form an effervescent drink.

Most historical sources - especially things like the Arabian Nights - will be referring to 1) or 2), 4) is mostly American and 5) most prevalent in the UK (and will only be called kali in or around Scotland).


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Cross cultural confusion is always amusing.
  • Any or all of these can be borrowed as cultural foods for your campaign.
  • 5), or similar substances, are often found in modern military ration packs although they've been on sale since the late 19th century.
  • The British may also refer to alcoholic drink as "sherbert" - as in "he's not feeling too clever, had a few sherberts too many last night" or "sod this, I'm off down the pub for a couple of sherberts, anyone coming?" - this is somewhere between euphemism and irony rather than an actual slang or dialect term.
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