Let's face it, the only good thing about summers in a tropical country like India, where the heat and humidity can literally suck you dry, is the array of cool drinks and treats that come with. And honestly, we find ourselves reaching out for a bottle of water or a cold drink every now and then.
And while we do miss the ice golas that are sold on the side of the streets, there's no reason to drink up even while at home. So, before summer is over, make the most of it with our pick of 20 refreshing drinks. Cheers!
Roohafza is a rich, rose-flavoured, dense squash and summers in India are incomplete without it. Add a handful of basil seeds, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and ground cashew nuts for a cooling drink that's as good for you as it is for 'Gram.
What better way to end the summers than with some juicy mangoes? Kairi sharbat is a quicker, simpler - but no less tastier - version of Aam Panna. All you require are some raw mangoes, salt, sugar and (some might call this the secret ingredient) pink salt. Stir it up and there, you have the perfect summer drink. Recipe here.
A hot favourite, this Cuban cocktail is just what you need to cool down on one of those scorching evenings when you're looking for something a tad stronger. A concoction of mint, lemon, white rum and sugar, this refreshing drink can even be made without the alcohol. What's not to love? Recipe here.
Lemon iced tea
Summer and iced tea have been two peas in a pod since time immemorial. Squeeze a slice of lemon to add some zing to your drink and it might get a little easier to survive the heat. Recipe here.
Quick lime cooler
Another great thirst quencher, this innovative summer coolers calls for a good amount of lime juice and a hint of lemon zest and water. Stir it up and stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Simple pudina chaas
Throw in a few mint leaves while churning your buttermilk and you have a glass of cooling pudina chaas. This Indian favourite is best enjoyed after a heavy lunch, or even as an evening beverage instead of chai. Recipe here.
Amla ki sharbat
This sour Amla drink is perfect for breakfast, especially when you're looking to kick things off on the right note. Have it as is, or add crushed mint leaves for that extra kick of flavour. Recipe here.
It might sound extravagant but basil punch is one of the easiest summer coolers to make. Just add juiced basil leaves to your basic nimbu paani along with a pinch of black salt and voila! Recipe here.
Love starting the day with a green juice? Soothing and with detoxifying properties, this cooler is made with coconut, spinach and buttermilk. Enjoy it during a meal or simply as a beverage, but chilled, of course.
Coke with tamarind
Most of us absolutely love the idea of a chilled, fizzy drink on a hot summer day, but who would have thought that adding just a dash (or more) of tamarind pulp would make cola even more enticing than it already is? Recipe here.
A chilled, savoury drink best relished with seafood. Solkadi is not only great for your digestive system, it is also cooling with ingredients like kokum and coconut milk. Recipe here.
Watermelon agua fresca
We couldn't not include a watermelon drink in this list. Agua frescas are unironically popular because of their simplicity. Blend together watermelon with water and sugar, add ice and your fruity beverage is ready.
Aam ras coolie
Summer in India means mangoes. It's a simple equation, really. And so is the recipe for this drink—mango pulp, jaggery and a pinch of salt, all mixed in with chilled water. Pretty sure you are already heading to the kitchen. Recipe here.
Cucumber and fresh cream shake
Fix yourself a milkshake using a few slices of cucumber, a generous amount of fresh cream and a glass of milk that also doubles up as a healthy breakfast. Enjoy it with your morning toast. Recipe here.
You're probably wondering why to add the most obvious option to this list - but this chocolate milkshake is different from your usual one. Why? Well, because it has leftover cake! Toss a slice in the blender with milk, vanilla ice cream (or chocolate if you're feeling extra indulgent) and ice. Give it a whiz and we promise that the result is as good as it sounds.
A popular drink in hot countries like Singapore, this cooler is quick to make and packed with a refreshing punch. Simply boil some lemongrass in water and cool. Add a generous amount of lime juice, sugar and a pinch of salt for balance. Serve chilled. Recipe here.
Nongu, or ice apple, is commonly found in India during summers. This mildly sweet, fleshy fruit is high in water and potassium and is great to make a cleansing drink that promotes liver health. No better way to enjoy the seasonal treat, right? Recipe here.
Best enjoyed during breakfast or post a good workout, this cooler is made using only three ingredients—raw beets, ginger and orange juice. Filled with natural sugars and a pleasant acidity from the citrus, this drink is sure to give you the boost of energy you need for the entire day.
This traditional South Indian drink is often made during Ram Navam—but believe us, you need not wait until then. Primarily sweetened and fortified with the goodness of jaggery, this cooler is as versatile as can be. It aids in digestion and tastes best when chilled. Recipe here.
Two-minute fruit smoothie
What is summer without the goodness of fruits? This recipe is quick to whip up and delicious too. Enjoy it along with breakfast, as a snack or even dessert.
About the author:
Priyal is a full-time graphic designer and part-time cat mom. She loves deep-diving into an object's history and getting the smallest details right. She finds inspiration in music, illustrating poems visually and can also, be called a budding yogini of sorts.