Drinks,  Drinks (Non-Alcoholic)

Reduced-Sugar Eper Szörp / Hungarian Strawberry Soda

I’m not sure there is anything in Hungary that people refer to as “Szörp For Adults.” My mom’s cousin (and really my cousin, too, just a generation removed) Zsuzsa has told me that szörp is mainly a drink for children and that she doesn’t like it all that much herself. Even as an adult I can’t fathom this: my childhood memories of having szörp for the first time were revelatory, and every time I have gone to Hungary I wait for Zsuzsa to offer me some of her homemade szörp which — for some reason — is always better than anything I make here (even though the recipe is hers).

Check out my authentic recipe for Hungarian Eper Szörp (Hungarian Strawberry Soda) here.

But it is sweet. I do admit: It is sweet.

Reducing the sugar content in Szörp

So I started thinking how I could adapt this little recipe for a more adult palate. We’d need less sugar, for sure, but when the sugar goes away the szörp looses something special, so I needed to add something else to compensate.

The answer was a couple of sprigs of rosemary. Now, don’t be expecting a rush of woody-chickeny-herbs coming your way. The rosemary here is subtle. But it modifies the strawberries enough to make you think that you’re having something really fancy. Something that took hours upon hours to prepare. Something that should be served alongside haut cousine.

The truth is it will take you about 10 minutes to prepare, and while it will keep fresh for a week or two in your fridge it probably won’t last that long.


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Reduced-Sugar Eper Szörp / Hungarian Strawberry Soda

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 day (mostly resting)
  • Yield: About 2 cups (500 ml) 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Cuisine: Hungarian


I’m not sure there is anything in Hungary that people refer to as “Szörp For Adults,” but after creating a recipe for it I can tell you: It makes for a delicious mocktail. Strawberries, rosemary, lemon juice… what are you waiting for?


  • 1 pound strawberries (1/2 kilogram)
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar (100 grams)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary


  1. Pour the sugar into a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over it. Stir together to encourage the lemon juice to dissolve the sugar. Let this sit while you hull the strawberries and either crush them with a fork or blitz them in a blender or food processor (the latter might not be traditional, but sure is fast!).
  2. Put the rosemary sprigs into the bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Put the smushed berried in a sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth and place over your bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the juices from the berries drain onto the sugar and lemon juice.

  3. After an hour or so press the rest of the juices through the sieve and discard the pulp. Stir the mixture, breaking up any sugar lumps. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for one day, stirring when you think of it, to encourage the sugar to fully dissolve.


    After a day, remove the rosemary, pour the syrup into a 2-cup (500ml) jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


TO SERVE: Start with a ratio of 4-parts sparkling water to 1-part Szörp For Adults, and adjust to suit your taste. I like add cut up strawberries and a small sprig of rosemary. It makes for a delicious mocktail.

Keywords: mocktails,

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