We all fancy international aerated drinks, mostly because there aren’t any Indian beverages of our choice. Wait! There aren’t? Those of you who think so are mistaken. In fact, India has a lot of exotic drinks, just that they cannot be bottled up and sold at any retail store. If you want a taste of any of these, you have to go to the local area the drink is indigenous to for the other ones, you can always end up at your grandmothers! She would make sure you try a few of the great recipes for beverages she has to share. But for now, these are the 23 Most Exotic Indian drinks you must try today!
What is Holi without Bhaang? I mean how many of us would have spent Holi without seeing or drinking or hearing about Bhaang? As an essential part of the Indian festival of colour, Holi; Bhaang is an edible preparation of Cannabis. It is ground in a mortar and pestle, and the paste is put into Thandai or Lassi, for the occasion.
Prevalent in the coastal regions, Nariyal Pani is tender coconut water. It can be intensely refreshing on a hot day, and in fact, if it has started to form the coconut inside, it can even suffice your hunger too.
Rooh Afza is an Indian Sherbet mixture that has survived generations. Back in the days, when aerated drinks were not so much in the fashion, Rooh Afza was the alternative to a cold drink on a hot summer day. Usually served to guests, it would be a regular drink for the family for holidays too. It can be made in cold water or even added to milk.
Jigarthanda literally means ‘to cool your heart’. This beverage does exactly just that. the specialised beverage from Madurai is prepared and available at any roadside stall on the street. They say a summer isn’t over unless you’ve had a Jigarthanda in Madurai.
This beverage originating from Pune, is a typical thickened mango milkshake with fruits, dry fruits and whipped cream. It has many variants across the country such as the Mango Shake in Delhi which even though lacks the whipped cream but has ice cream instead, with raisins on top.
Jal Jeera is probably the easiest drink on this list but is a favourite amongst all ages. The drink is mainly just water and the constituents of the sachet of Jal Jeera Masala. This simple drink is the best to beat indigestion as well as the heat. It can be improvised with the addition of lemon and soda.
Kala Khatta is a name inspired by the jamun plant, the Indian blueberry, whose juice is dark and sour ( Kala Khatta means ‘black and sour’). Although technically the fruit is the colour of wine, the juice is so dark that it gives a blackish tinge which is how it gets its name. Kala Khatta, the drink made from the fruit and a couple of other ingredients, has grown to be a huge household favourite. The tanginess and sourness of the flavours of the drink are loved by all.
Kanji is another drink prepared during the Indian festival, Holi along with Bhaang. It is made with beetroots, seeds of mustard. black carrots and asafoetida and the final product is garnished with boondi.
Falooda is a sweet and cold beverage made with many ingredients such as vermicelli, rose syrup, basil seeds, etc. It is often served with kulfi, but in itself is a popular dessert/ drink in the Indian sub-continent.
Neera is a drink made from the nectar extracted from the palm tree, in fact, the nectar itself. It is collected from various species of Toddy palms. It has a high nutritional value, and being the nectar is the extremely sweet and translucent in colour. Once extracted, it is prone to fermentation unless consumed.
A popular yoghurt based drink from the Indian subcontinent, Lassi is simply made by blending yoghurt water and spices. If it’s meant to be sweet, sugar is added. If it is meant to be salted salt is added. there are other varieties also, like the Bhaang Lassi, or the Salted Mint Lassi in Bangladesh.
Badam Milk refers to an almond flavoured drink which has the creamy texture of the milk and the nut-like flavour of almond. Extracted from almond, it can be easily made in the blender of a kitchen and has high nutritional content.
Sugarcane Juice is another very common yet beloved drink of the people of the country. The juice extracted from the sugarcane is sweet which is topped with some black salt to make it the right combination of sweet and salty, making it yet another favourite Indian summer drink.
Toddy is an Indian beverage popular in the Konkan belt. It is widely available in Kerala at any liquor and is indigenous to the Konkan plains, due to the presence of Toddy palms. The drink is made by the fermentation of the nectar of the Toddy palms (Neera).
Kallu is made in a similar process as that of Toddy. The drink is prepared by the fermentation of the sap of palm trees. Popular in eastern coastal states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, it has a sugary taste to it.
Chaang is formed by the fermentation of millet. The perfect drink for the winters, it is a local beverage of the Himalayan belt and is quite commonly available in the northern-most part of the country.
Handia which is served cold, made from ranu tablets. Ranu tablet is a tablet made up of a combination of 20 to 25 herbs) It is a local beverage of the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha.
Aam Panna is a delicious sour-sweet drink made from the pulp of raw mango and jaggery. Extremely helpful for indigestion or any gastrointestinal problems. It also helps revive the after effects of scorching heat during summers.
Shikanji is a slightly different version of the regular lemon juice. The constituents include cold water, lemon juice, cumin powder and salt along with mint leaves which are shaken with ice to produce desired results. Occasionally, soda is added too.
Who doesn’t love a minty drink? Pudina Sherbet is the Indian variety of a mint infused drink. It can help one with nausea and even increase appetite. The Pudina Sherbet is truly a saviour for summer indigestion. Also, the benefits of this drink don’t just end here, it can even be used a cleanser for the skin.
Chaas or Buttermilk is a salty drink made from yoghurt. It is made by churning yoghurt with cold water. The difference between Lassi and Buttermilk is that the latter is a watery and salty drink.
Thandai is an exquisite Indian drink which is made especially for occasions. With quite a few exclusive ingredients, Thandai the usual base for Bhaang is no less than a royal drink.
Kokum Sherbet is a drink made from the kokum fruit. It is a drink commonly served to encourage building up of the appetite. Not only that, it is a drink that is extremely healthy for the body as it not only helps with body heat but also reduces excess bile.