Although it may be September, it doesn’t mean it’s still hot outside. A heat wave is sweeping the west U.S. It’s best to sit poolside with something cool to drink to beat the heat. You may not have the luxury of a pool, but I will do my best to help you make a refreshing late-summer drink that is more interesting than the usual lemonade. Refreshing nimbu panni will transport your mind to the poolside cabana.
A typical South Asian citrus drink is Nimbu Pani. The recipe will vary depending on where you live or how you like flavoring it. However, the essential ingredients are lemon or lime, sugar, and an herb. You can add fresh ginger, cumin, black pepper, or volcanic salt. Mix the ingredients and add soda water or plain water to finish.
This beverage is a stimulating mix of flavors and aromas that will delight your taste buds with new spice combinations. Bollywood provided a canned version of Nimbu Pani, which I tried first. Its lime/basil/cumin flavor surprised me, so I decided to make my own. Once you’re comfortable with the process and can find your balance of sweet/tangy, it will be easy to become a nimbu-pani mixologist. You only need a few ingredients to create a lot of flavors. It doesn’t take much, and you can make it as complex or simple as you like. (The temperature directly affects my energy levels, so the hotter it is, then I will make this drink simpler.
Nimbu panis can be customized in many ways
You will need approximately a quarter cup of citrus juice to make your own. You will need about a quarter cup of citrus juice. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the mixture and stir until it dissolves. You can decide if you want to add muddled herbs or their smell. Muddled herbs are a favorite. Add the spices to a glass and add half a teaspoon of sugar. Stir the mixture to extract the oils. I don’t like particles in my drinks much, so I bruise mint and basil by stacking two to three leaves and twisting, rolling, or rolling them vigorously without breaking them. Place the beaten herbs in a glass. Add ice to the glass. Add the sweetened citrus juice to the ice. You can fill the glass with as cold water as you like or use seltzer water if you prefer to fizz.
You can spice up your nimbu panni by adding some spices. Add a pinch of sea salt when you are adding the sugar to the mixture. Use volcanic sea salt if you have it. The subtle essence of sulfur from volcanic sodium adds a layer of interest and balances the sweetness of the fruit.