There are many herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables available in India, and many are native to that region. Because of this vast array of ingredients, India touts a great many specialty drinks that are very popular in the summer time.
For instance, coconuts are readily available in Southwest India, and the water is often used as a base for many of these drinks. This is a small collection of some of the most popular drinks that can be found in a typical Indian home in the summer.
Indian Lemonade, also known as Nimbu Pani, is a drink that can be made quickly and can be especially beneficial to those working outside. It staves off dehydration when Indian workers are otherwise susceptible to the hot sun. To prepare, add three and one half cups of water to a glass jar and add the juice of two lemons. Next, add ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, ½ teaspoon of cumin, and ½ teaspoon of chaat masala powder. To this, add organic sugar or powdered jaggery to taste. Serve over cubed ice, sprinkled with extra chaat masala.
North India is famous for a drink known as Jaljeera. It is so cooling, it is perfect for summer time, and can even be used as an appetizer because of its digestive properties. Begin by rinsing ¾ cups of mint leaves and a teaspoon-sized ball of tamarind. Next, blend together ¾ cup of water with the mint, tamarind, one teaspoon cumin seed, one teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon whole black pepper, ½ teaspoon dried mango powder and one pinch of asafetida. After mixing, strain through a strainer and add to four cups of water. Serve chilled.
Sweet Lassi is another beverage that is famous in North India. This very light drink can also be created as a salty, rather than sweet, beverage. Thicker Lassi’s are served in very large glasses and topped with 3 tablespoons of white butter. To make this drink, start by crushing 10 cardamom seeds in a mortar until you have a fine powder. Put two cups of chilled yogurt into a bowl and mix with a whisk until nice and smooth. Next, add 10 tablespoons of sugar and two cups of cold water or milk. For a thicker Lassi, add less liquid. Mix until sugar is dissolved, which can be done with an immersion blender. Pour into chilled glasses over ice.