Those of you who have never been to Rajasthan do not know how cruel the Indian summers can get. Hot winds blowing at 45 degrees Celsius combined with the arid dust blown in from the nearby Thar Desert can easily cause heatstroke and other illnesses.
There are many commonly known techniques recommended to those visiting the royal desert for the first time. These include the right diet, the right choice of wardrobe and skin care tips, all designed to minimize the impact of the heat. However, one of the most important aspects of surviving the heat is consuming the right beverages.
Summer, the only time when ice-dipped ales and mocktails are relished, refreshing our minds and smoothing out the sweat lines. Surprisingly, the heat has never affected nature’s bounty, so why let it impede our summer plans. Making most of the opportunity, we relearn new ways to cope with the sweltering 45-plus-degree temperature by enjoying some natural summer drinks. The season’s fresh produce can do wonders for skin, nails, and hair. Simply, use these nutritious and delicious fruits to conjure the ultimate summer coolers. They not only replenish lost minerals and vitamins, but they are quick fixes for heat strokes and bad moods.
Beverages are a combination of three things – condiments (sugar, spices, salt), the main ingredients and of course, the temperature and these summer drinks are no exception. With the exception of green tea (which is not native to Rajasthani cuisine), they are all served at ice-cold temperatures to instantly cool the body down.
A word of advice, replace your packeted white sugar granules with brown sugar or desi khand in your summer drinks. Desi Khand is a healthier substitute, it is traditionally made from sugar cane juice without adding chemicals like sulphur or lime to bleach it, hence it is natural and sweet. This local substitute is a beige-brown powdery sugar, readily available in your nearest grocery store or online on your preferred shopping platform.
Makhaniya Lassi – milky summer drinks
This blended yogurt drink is a popular thirst quencher for those who have survived the day’s heat. Yogurt is blended in sugar and iced-water. After it becomes creamy (and therefore the name “Makhaniya”) cashews, pistachios and more cream is added to it. Rose water, known for its cooling properties, can also be added. As it is very thick, it often serves as a substitute for desserts!
Yoghurt drinks are routinely made in India’s states, some consider it a staple diet. It can be served sweet as Makhaniya Malai Lassi and salty as a buttermilk drink called Chaach. Full of probiotics, it has all the good bacteria our gut health needs. No wonder, it also reduces stomach bloating and aids in digestion. Yoghurt is beneficial for bone health and helps to strengthen the immune system.
Add a cup of curd and 4 tablespoons of milk, 1 tablespoon rose water or kewra, a straw of saffron, some pistachios, and sugar as per the requirement to the blender. Pulse for 5 seconds. Top with a dollop of fresh cream or malai for a sweet creamy summer drink.
The world’s favorite thirst quencher is not Coke, Gatorade or beer- it is the lemonade. Locally known as Nimbu Shikanji, it is a hit with those who frequently venture out in the sun. While lemon’s Vitamin C is vitalizing, the ice cold water instantly cools you down, and the presence of black rock salt immediately replenishes the electrolytes that your body might have lost in the summer heat. Variants made with carbonated water are also popular.
It is commonly made in Indian households as it is the easiest summer drink to concoct. Helps to release gas, increases digestion, and thus reduces bloating. Lemon is an antioxidant-rich Vitamin C that also helps to ease cramps. It hydrates the body and replenishes electrolytes lost in the summer heat.
A pitcher of cold water with an adequate amount of sugar should be mixed well, till the sugar dissolves. Then freshly squeezed lemon juice can be added as per taste. A pinch of black salt and mint leaves can be supplied for those who enjoy it. Drink this sweet and sour summer drink, chilled.
Not only is it commonly recommended for heat strokes and dehydration, but the medical properties of Bael make it an essential summer drink. The antimicrobial properties of Bael (this includes not only the fruit, but also the trees leaves and roots) check infections resulting from viruses. As a summer thirst quencher, the fruit’s pulp is extracted, blended in water, and served with jaggery and salt. Its high calorific content (100 grams of fruit offers 140 calories) and chemical properties boost metabolism, helping the body in rapidly fighting off any damage caused by heat stroke.
Take a ripe mustardish bael and break into the hard layer to scoop out the fruit’s insides. Soak the fruit pulp in cold water for an hour. After that run your fingers into the soaked fruit to further reduce it. Sieve this mix and add water to it till a juicy texture is formed. Add sugar or desi khand, as this is a sweet summer drink. Without sugar, bael can be hard to swallow.
The sherbet of rose (known for its cooling properties) served with crushed ice. It can be had with water, milk, or even added to other preparations for flavor.
Literally a bed of roses, it smells divine! Rose petals are known to reduce stress and anxiety; certainly a mood uplifter. They are also added in betel leaf preparation as they aid in digestion. Anti-inflammatory by nature, they reduce acidity and bloating problems.
It is convenient to use the ready-made grocery bottle available to drink this royal ale with iced water. But to prepare this organically endows a certain freshness to this summer drink and renders it pure, free from class preservatives.
Pluck fresh rose petals (Desi Gulab variant) or purchase petals from a vendor. Soak them in clean water overnight. In the morning, blend the petals with little water till it becomes pulpy. Further, crush them with your hands to release their incense. Separately, boil a cup of sugar in water and reduce it, till it thickens. Add the crushed pink petals pulp to the thickened sugar and let it simmer together. A marriage made in heaven! Lastly add liquid glucose for the sweet taste and gleaming shiny texture. It demands little extra work but this preserve can last for months on your fridge shelf. To serve, add two spoons of rose preserve to a glass of cold water and stir.
This soothing salty butter milk drink is similar to a lassi but a lot less thick. It is very good for digestion and acts as a coolant for the body during summers. Salt and cumin seed are usually added with fresh coriander as a garnish.
This tiny purple berry can thrive in poor soils; the shrub is drought-resistant thus it can survive high temperatures. It is consumed to beat the dry and hot loo winds that are common to the Northern Plains and the Desert states. Despite its humble origins, it is a tiny power-packed superfood. It has cooling properties and is packed with antioxidants. This berry fights acne, and mosquito bites; notorious for skin rejuvenation!
Grind Falsa with little water till it’s broken down into a gorgeous mess. Sieve it and keep adding cold water till a juice-like consistency is reached. Remove the hard seeds that will be left over after sieving. Add black salt and a sweetener to the mixture. Serve chilled with a sweet and sour taste.
For those high and hungover on the vegan trend, coconuts are the perfect substitution for cow’s milk. These tough nuts are high on electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus; benefitting the human heart and nervous system. The fruit’s pulp has a creamy taste and texture making it versatile. Interestingly, coconut milk reduces joint pain and inflammation; a healthy alternative for those that are lactose intolerant or suffer from arthritis.
Use the green coconut to scoop out the ‘malai’. Then after cleaning it, chop it into small pieces. Grind these pieces with cardamom powder and two pieces of cloves. Keep adding cold water to the grinder, till the mixture becomes milky. After filtering it with a sieve, add sugar or desi khand for a healthy milk substitute.
This seasonal fruit needs no introduction, raw mango or Ambi adds a tangy flavour to chutneys and pickles in the summers. Ambi helps the body in fighting dehydration, which is a regular problem during May and June. It hydrates the body as it is a coolant and is good for digestion as it boosts the metabolic system. Abundant in Vitamin C, it also repairs body tissues and improves intestinal infections caught in the summer like dysentery and cholera. Luckily, it is an instant mood uplifter.
Peel a handful of ambi’s and cut them into smaller pieces, leaving out the seed. Add a full cup of water till the raw mango is soaked in the pressure cooker. After 3 whistles, let it cool. Release and voila! Now we have a mango pulp that can be ground in a mixer with little water. After a flowing consistency is reached, we can keep adding water till it resembles a mocktail. Then add black salt, roasted cumin powder, sugar, and mint leaves. This concoction tastes best when it is sweet with a tangy twist! For the sugar-conscious folk, jaggery can replace your normal sweetener.
The betel leaf is served as a mouth freshener as it wards off bad breath and cough; paan has been part of India’s hospitality for centuries. Eaten after meals as a digestive, it stimulates bowel movement and helps to avoid constipation. The normal sweet paan is also known to reduce chronic headaches, and uplift moods. A sweet drink made from the green leaf invigorates the body and releases absorbed heat.
There are two ways to make this royal drink.
- Buy two ready-made sweet paans sans the hard supari. At home, mix them in the grinder with a cup of cold water and blend till a thick consistency is reached. Add two spoons of almond milk or cow’s milk. This quick fix is a faster technique.
- The more organic procedure is to take fennel seeds, cardamom powder, rock sugar, soft betel nuts, betel leaves, and gulkand (sweetened rose preserve); grind it with 2 tablespoons of almond milk. Add water till a creamy texture is reached.
Note: Both these mixtures can be frozen and enjoyed as Paan Ice Cream!
This burgundy fruit has been blessed with promising looks; gladly it has been known to lower inflammation that triggers heart diseases. Eating plum can help reduce anxiety and stress, thus excellent for those with high blood pressure. Since it is rich in antioxidants, it relieves constipation.
Deseed plums and cut into smaller halves to grind in the mixture. Add black salt, roasted cumin seeds, two spoons of lemon juice, and desi khand. You can store this for days in the refrigerator. To serve, add 2 spoons of thick plum conserve to a serving glass and pour club soda or water (as preferred) into it. A similar method can be used to make black grape juice.
This poor man’s thirst quencher is a healthy summer drink! It is rich in calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Found easily everywhere, as it is made from roasted ground black chickpeas, bajra, and wheat. Sattu is considered beneficial for diabetics as it has a low-glycemic index. It is helpful for those trying to overcome skin and hair problems.
A scoop full of Sattu powder is to be mixed with cold water, blend this with roasted cumin, fresh mint leaves, rock salt, and a dash of lemon. Add desi khand or jaggery and stir well. It tastes sweet with a freshness of mint on the palate. For sugar patients, sugar can be excluded.
To experience some of these delicious summer drinks of India & Rajasthan, visit Mana Hotels in Ranakpur today!
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