Summer is upon us and the mercury is rising steadily and heavily. The afternoons are already hot, and very soon hot winds (called “loo”) will start blowing. Most people go out in sun during afternoon carrying an umbrella, while girls will be seen wearing a cotton dupatta around their head and wearing gloves. However, it still doesn’t beat the heat. Your body craves for healthy summer drinks to cool down.
Now, most people think of coconut water and Indian lemon sherbet drink as tropical summer drinks, but what if I tell you there is more to Indian sherbets than just these. Here are 6 healthy summer drinks to cool you down. Don’t worry, they are all non-alcoholic summer drinks.
Cucumber – Mint Juice
Both cucumber and mint are known for their cooling properties. So, why not combine them in a refreshing summer drink and enjoy double coolness. Grind cucumber and fresh mint leaves, strain (or not). Pour coconut water. Add a dash of lime and rock salt. And you have a soothing fresh drink in your hand.
Sometimes, I even add a wee bit (more can make the drink bitter) of fresh Aloe Vera sap. You may add aloe vera juice.
Vetiver (Khus) Sherbet
Most Indians know khus either by green khus sherbet or khus grass in air coolers. I recently purchased Vetiver grass from the Ayurvedic shop from where I buy sandalwood powder, neem leaves powder, etc. for my homemade natural bath powders. I stored this fragrant grass in a cupboard. Now, the whole cupboard smells of sweet Vetiver. Khus is known for its medicinal and cooling properties.
- To make Vetiver or khus sherbet, wash the grass with the roots thoroughly to remove all dirt. It will take at least 7-8 washes. Chop the grass and soak it overnight in water.
- Next morning, strain the water and add raw sugar or jaggary water to this water. Boil this water on the gas for 15-20 minutes till the syrup feels sticky.
- Turn off the gas. Let it cool down and store it in a sterilized glass jar.
- Add 3-4 tbsp (or as required) of this syrup to a glass of water.
- Mix and your khus sherbet is ready.
Khus sherbet is light to muddy yellow in colour as opposed to green sherbet bottles available in the market. The green colour is because of the food colour added to the syrups.
Saunf (fennel seeds) sherbet
Saunf is usually eaten as an appetizer or digestive. But we all know that Saunf or fennel seeds has cooling properties, so how about making Saunf sherbet.
- 1 cup Saunf. Grind it in a mixer.
- Soak this Saunf powder for 3-4 hours. Strain this water.
- Grind rock sugar and add 3-4 tbsp of grounded sugar into strained Saunf water.
- Mix well.
- Add rock salt and lemon juice.
Pour this Saunf sherbet in tall glasses and add ice cubes to beat the heat on a hot summer day.
Kokum is a red colored fruit, which is widely used in its dried form in Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Goan and Konkani cooking. This fruit is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant properties, stimulates appetite and improves digestion, and reduces the body heat.
- Soak 200 gm dry kokum in 800 ml water for 2 hours.
- Mash it nicely and strain the water.
- Add the leftover kokum to a pan, add rock sugar.
- Cook on low heat for 10 mins or until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the kokum water into the pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cook on low for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and let the mixture cool.
- Strain the mixture, add roasted cumin powder and rock salt.
- Store in a glass bottle in refrigerator.
Pour 3-4 tbsp of kokum concentrate and top it up with water. Add ice cubes. And your refreshing kokum sherbet is ready.
Bael or wood apple sherbet
If you are from the West or North India, you would have surely come across giant wood apple trees lining the roadsides. These trees have billipatra or bili leaves which are offered to Lord Shiva. Wood apples are huge fruits that hang on these trees.
In my mother’s home in Ahmedabad, we have two big wood apple trees and come summer, we enjoy wood apple sherbet. Apart from cooling properties, it is used to cure diabetes, respiratory problems, piles and hemorrhoids, and liver and kidney conditions.
Take a ripe wood apple. Cut it open. Scoop out the contents. Soak the pulp in water. Mash it with hands so that it mixes well with the water. Strain the water. Add raw sugar or rock sugar and roasted cumin powder. Stir well. If the bael fruit is ripe, you don’t even need to add sugar.
Watermelon is the ultimate summer fruit, whether you eat it or juice it, it’s cool and refreshing. And what’s more – it’s a healthy homemade drink for summer and kids absolutely love it.
- Cut watermelon into cubes and put it into a food processor.
- Strain it for seeds.
- Put it in the refrigerator.
- Add the chilled juice in a tall glass.
If the watermelon is sweet, you don’t need to add sugar. However, if you find the melon is not that sweet, add 1 tsp of rose syrup per glass. Believe me, it’s one of the easiest drinks to make at home.
I hope you enjoyed these healthy summer drinks. They are not only easy drinks to make at home, but are also great kid party drinks too. So, this summer enjoy these homemade summer drinks. Do let me know if you try them! Would love to hear about it.