Just after the cool rain showers have bid adieu, the summer sun has come out, raising temperatures and the chances of dehydration as well. These days, even a slight sun shine is enough to make us feel extremely hot. And what better way to refresh our dehydrated bodies than with a glass of chilled lemon soda. However, people are turning to healthier drinks than store bought aerated drinks to nourish and refresh their bodies. Just like our good old sherbet, every state in India has unique drinks and coolers that are delicious and refreshing as well.
Aam panna is a summer drink made from cooked raw mangoes and is extremely popular in the north western regions of India. This drink, with its sweetness, spicy masala and slight tanginess create a riot of flavours inside the mouth. Meanwhile, the aam pora shorbot of Bengal is prepared by smoking raw mangoes, with the peel on, over the stove top and then pulped. The Buransh sharbat of Uttarakhand is a pleasant and fragrant cooler made using a special kind of violet hued blossoms called the rhododendron. This traditional drink has a refreshing blend of sweetness and tanginess.
The jaljeera is probably one of the most popular summer drinks in the North India. This drink prepared using cumin seeds, black pepper and black salt is stored in earthen jars which makes it cooler.
Piyush made with fresh yogurt, nutmeg, saffron and dried fruits is a rich and nutritious drink in Gujarat. Besides cooling, the nutritious ingredients added in Piyush nourish the body as well.
The Punjabi cuisine is incomplete without the sweet and cool lassi. The elaborate Punjabi meal is often accompanied by a huge tumbler full of lassi, which is available in myriad flavours. Wayside lassi shops, with crowds thronging them, are a common sight in the streets of Punjab.
Meanwhile, in Odisha, the lassi is made more nutritious by adding coconut and cherries as well.
Palm fruit juice or nonku is a natural cooler which can be enjoyed without adding any other ingredients in it. This is extremely popular in states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra.
Ragi ambali or finger millet malt made with millet, butter milk and other aromatics is a refreshing drink served in Karnataka. For Bengalis, the gondhoroj, made by mixing yogurt, sugar, black salt and cold water in fresh lime juice is the ultimate summer drink.
Panakam is another traditional drink that is popular in the southern Indian states. Black pepper corns and ginger are added in water mixed with jaggery and cardamom to make panakamm. This drink tastes great when served cold.