Mulberry trees are very common to Iraq and the region in general, from the Levant to East of Iraq. While today we covet imported blueberries and raspberries and buy them at outrageous prices per punnet, the mulberry is strangely neglected and undervalued. Anything an imported berry can do, a mulberry can do (better).
Mulberry syrup concentrate is very popular in Iraq, but also in the Levant region. YouTube has plenty of Lebanese and Syrians showing you step-by-step videos of it in the making. The natural counterpart to Vimto, it is simply simmered sweetened berry juice preserved in bottles. To drink, pour the concentrate in a ratio of about 1 part to 3 parts iced water. Some might prefer a lemon soda instead of water, but for me the result is too sweet, so I use sparkling water instead. Note that while mulberry is the true Iraqi fruit used for this syrup, you can also apply the same principle to any other berry. Some points to keep in mind in regards to ratios: the ration of berry juice to sugar is 1:1. The ratio of concentrate to water is 1:3, but this can be increased or decreased according to taste.
2 cups fresh berry juice (from about 4 cups fresh berries)
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
To make the berry juice, puree the fresh berries in a blender until completely pulverized then pass through a fine-mesh strainer to separate the juice from the pulp. Measure the juice to equal 2 cups.
The ratio of juice to sugar is 1:1.
For each cup of berry juice, add a cup of sugar to a medium saucepan.
Add the fresh lemon juice to the berry juice and sugar.
Over medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar.
Skim the foam off the surface as the mixture nears boiling.
Just before it boils, remove from the heat and pour into clean glass bottles.
Seal tightly while the mixture is still hot to create a sterile vacuum.
Once completely cooled, store in the refrigerator.
To serve, pour about one part concentrate to three parts iced water, flat or sparkling as per preference.
The ratio of concentrate can be increased or decreased according to taste.