Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Persian Word in English: Julep

Most people have heard of "mint juleps" (even if you've never actually had one to drink). The English word "julep" originally meant a sweetened liquid, often used for medicine. In the United States, it has come to refer specifically to a drink made of bourbon (or some other liquor) with sugar, water, and ice, along with some kind of flavoring, such as mint.

The English word is borrowed from French julep; the medieval Latin is julapium. This Latin word is from the Arabic julāb, which is in turn from the Persian gul-āb rose-water. You can see the root "gul" in the title of a famous work of medieval Persian literature, Gulistan - "The Rose Garden" - by Sa'di.

Below is an image of a mint julep in a silver cup:

Now, truth be told,  while I am not a big fan of mint juleps, I am a very big fan of the Indian sweet called gulab jamun (you can see gulab/golab word in there) which has a rosewater syrup as one of its ingredients. Yum!

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