Note: this was split by the Moderators from this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/358011
To those that mentioned sweetened vinegar, this is actually a several hundred year old idea. Sekanjabin is an lovely refreshing Persian drink, who's key ingredients are vinegar, mint (or other herb), and sugar. You basically boil the 3 together till you get a shelf stable concentrated syrup (lasts for years when you're done). Add a few teaspoons per glass of water and voila, ancient Gatorade with a lot better flavor!! I have made lemon, mint, chamomile, ginger, and lavender, all with great success!
Basic Mint Sekanjabin
4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup vinegar
handfull of fresh mint
Dissolve the sugar in the water. (Yes, four cups of sugar _will_
dissolve in two and a half cups of water.) Bring to a boil. Add
vinegar. Turn down to a simmer; let simmer for about twenty to
thirty minutes. Remover from heat. Toss in mint leaves. Let
cool. When it is completely cool, remove the mint leaves and bottle
the syrup. To drink, mix syrup with water to taste (for most people,
one part of syrup to anywhere between five and ten parts of water).
My favorite: Lime Ginger
Simmer 2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 pint of lime juice for 20 minutes
Steep several slices of fresh Ginger in the syrup while it
cools. It will be a lovely very pale green which can be enhanced
by storing a curl of the lime skin in each bottle. The flavor
can be increased by leaving a slice of ginger in each bottle too.
Clove Lemon: ( a scadian variant of lemonade)
2 cups of water
4 cups of sugar
1 pint of lemon juice simmer as above
Steep a half dozen cloves in the syrup. If you leave any in
the bottle, you may have to pour it through a strainer.
2 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 can orange juice concentrate
2-3 sticks of cinnamon.
Note this is less sugar than in the others because of
the sweetness of oranges. This will be cloudy. I haven't figured
out how to get rid of it, if anyone else knows how -- please post.
This is not a syrup -- the honey IS a syrup. You just
make it up as you need it.
1 gallon water
1 cup honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 cup cider vinegar
Note, it will take some effort to mix it properly if
you are using cold water. try mixing the honey and vinegar first
and gradually adding the water, mixing all the while.
Note: please use good white or red wine vinegar or cider vinegar, not white distilled vinegar as the flavor is too harsh (use it only for easter egg dye).