A Recipe for sharāb al-khawkh (Peach drink)

SOURCE: Original is from al-Kitab al-Tabikh, as translated by Nawal Nasrallah, in Annals of the caliphs' kitchens: Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's tenth-century Baghdadi cookbook., p. 478. Modern version by Mathilde Eschenbach.
ORIGINAL: In a clean pot, put 10 qists (30 cups) juice of peach and 3 qists (4½ pounds) honey, which has been [boiled and] skimmed of its froth. Prepare a bundle of thin cloth containing saffron, spikenard, cloves, Ceylon cinnamon, cassia and mastic, ½ dirham (1½ grams) of each, and let them be crushed. Put this bundle in the pot and bring it to a vigorous boil. After you put it away from the heat, strain the liquid, empty it into glass jars and use it, God willing.
NOTES: I used Simply Peach brand drink, because I use Simply Orange orange juice, and assumed this was also a pure fruit juice. However, the ingredient list is: "Pure filtered water, peach juice, cane sugar, lemon juice (for tartness), peach puree, natural flavors". It does have a good flavor, and was a lot easier than juicing my own peaches, not to mention being available when peaches aren't in season.
Since I was using modern, finely ground spices, I didn't bother with putting them in a bag. I also didn't strain the cooked liquid since there was no significant amount of pulp to be removed.
The proportion of honey to juice is a bit off, this time because I assumed the bottle was a full 2 liters, but even so, it did not turn out as overly sweet as I feared, and was quite tasty. Still, this isn't something one would wish to consume in large quantities--half a cup would be a generous serving.
  1. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer 10 minutes or so, stirring and skimming as needed.
  4. Cool (or refrigerate, if you prefer) before serving.

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