We’re now in the midst of the summer, and that means we’re looking for the most refreshing drinks around. And who better to turn to than local Indian street vendors for inspiration? Their mouth-watering drinks have been quenching thirsts for hundreds of years. This season, it’s time to experiment when it comes to beverages. Here are a few Indian-inspired drinks that are guaranteed to bring a welcome refreshment from the heat of the summer sun…
This popular drink is made from poppy seeds, almonds and ‘char maghaz’ – a blend of pumpkin, watermelon and sunflower seeds. These ingredients are hand-grinded and mixed into water and sugar. The seeds and nuts provide a nutritious boost; it’s almost like having a meal and a drink in one.
This is one of the most popular refreshing beverages; vendors can be spotted a mile off with their huge baskets laden with bright yellow lemons and big canisters of sugar. Perfect for the hottest of days, it is made with iced cold water, lots of lemon juice, sugar and an all-important pinch of salt to replenish electrolytes lost from perspiration.
Everyone has heard of a lassi – it’s the go-to summer drink. The yoghurt-based beverage is sweetened with sugar and is considered a trademark of Punjab. For the ultimate refreshment on a scorching day, gulp down a lassi and follow it with a power nap.
Aloo Bukhary ka sharbat
A truly soothing drink to help with the blistering heat, this one is made with tamarind (known for its many healing properties), plum pulp, sugar and black salt. Very tangy but also perfectly sweet, there’s nothing like it to quench your thirst and make you feel revitalised.
Essentially, this nutrition-rich drink consists of dry-roasted barley grains that are ground down into a coarse powder. Some recipes use regular sugar, while others opt for brown sugar; either way, the drink is consumed by thousands of people across Uttar Pradesh each day, particularly by the farming community who spend hours in the hot sun.
Ganne ka ras
The streets of Mumbai are full of gannekaras (sugarcane juice) sellers. They extract it simply by juicing the “ganna”, or sugarcane, and it’s known for providing a real energy kick. In the UK, seeing a sugarcane juice seller would be something of a novelty, but in India it is an everyday, familiar sight.
Elaichi ka sharbat
This has to be the perfect summer coolant. It is made by boiling cardamom before making a sugar syrup, adding it to the lemon juice and serving it chilled. The cardamom gives it a beautiful aroma, whilst the sugar and lemon juice refresh the senses.
Otherwise known as the “heat buster”, this drink is designed to beat the heat. The basil seeds are soaked in water overnight and mixed with sherbet, milk or water. The seeds absorb the liquid, which transforms them into jelly-like balls, similar to tapioca.
If you are looking for a refreshing, authentic Indian drink, pay a visit to one of London’s top Indian restaurants. From cocktails to lassis, there is something to suit every taste and every occasion.