It is hot hot hot HOT weather here. Summer. Dry. Today, as I write (a couple of weeks before posting), it is over 40 C for the third day in a row. Last I heard it was 42C. The forecast was for 44. Now that is hot.
But is so quiet in the mornings. There is something about hot weather that subdues noise. Have you noticed? The morning is so peaceful – but still full of joy and expectation for the day.
In those peaceful couple of early morning hours, my thoughts turn to what to drink during the day. Is there ice in the freezer? Spring water available? What flavour of drink for today?
Here are some of the beautiful things that I drink in summer. Some simple, some sweet, some salty and some spicy. Enjoy.
Simple lemon, lime and mint
Fill a large jug with water. Add two large branches of mint, 2 slices of lemon (no need to peel) and/or lime.
If you have a gorgeous unblemished red chilli, add that as well. It gives the water a lift but does not make it chilli hot.
If you have any around, add a little lemongrass, lemon verbena or kaffir lime leaves.
Chill and drink in the hot afternoon while lazing over your blog.
When watermelons are cheap, throw a heap through the juicer with some mint. Add some ginger too if you like. Serve over ice.
Any summer fruit combination through the juicer is wonderful. Herbs that can accompany the fruit are parsley, mint, lemon verbena, kaffir lime leaves, basil. Ginger. Slowly with the herb quantities at first until you are used to the combinations.
Peel oranges and lemons before juicing. Everything else goes in skin and all.
Make any herbal tea, make it quite strong, pour it over ice in a large jug and put into the fridge to chill. Serve with mint in the glass.
- Green Gourmet Giraffe has a great Green Tea Cooler.
Passionate About Baking put me onto the joys of making coolers out of ginger. Have a look at her post. Ginger is SO SO healthy, you wouldn’t believe. Have a look at just how healthy here. Then there is Cook Almost Anything, who wonderfully posted a ginger and barley cooler.
To make a hot day drink, simply seep a lot of ginger and some lemon grass in boiling water, add sugar, black rock salt (a pinch), water or sparkling mineral water, jaggery or sugar and the juice of 0.5 – 1 lemon or lime. Chill and sip in the heat.
The black rock salt really does make a difference, but is not strictly necessary. If you have some sea salt add a pinch of that. Salt will help to replace your electrolytes that you lose in hot weather.
You can add to this any fresh tasting herb – mint, lemon verbena, kaffir, basil, even a pinch of fresh parsley will be nice. A fresh unblemished chilli as above.
Or for a twist, add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, even cumin. Star anise, fennel, liquorish root.
A pinch of ground black pepper.
Or just keep it very simple. Ginger. Black Salt. Jaggery. Lemon.
- Green Chef has a quick Ginger Beer using spices (really a ginger drink with lime and orange juices). Yum – leave out the rum for a wonderful hot day hydrating drink.
Back last autumn when the quinces scented my house most wondrously, I made some quince syrup. Now it has come into its own – with tonic water or soda water and a slice of lemon or lime. Luxurious. Pink. Delicious.
Here in Australia everyone knows the Mango lassi, but salt lassi is so unknown. I love it, and it has grown on me over the years so that I can’t drink mango lassi any more. I love my salt lassi. This is how you make it.
Take some yoghurt. If yoghurt in your region is thin, let it sit in some muslin for 30 minutes to drain off some moisture. If yoghurt in your region is sour, you might like to add a tspn of sugar to this recipe.
To the yoghurt, add a few mint leaves that have been chopped, and blend them together. Add 0.5 tspn of cumin seeds that have been dry roasted in a frying pan. Add salt, 2 pinches black pepper, 0.25 cup mild and mix. Add ice cubes and serve cold.
Take some mint leaves and grind them to a paste.
To 4 cups water, add salt, 2 tspns dry roasted cumin powder, 1 tspn garam masala, 0.25 tspn black salt, pinch red chilli powder, 1 tspn amchoor powder, and the juice of 1 lemon. Stir well. Add ice cubes and serve cold. Yum.
Some optional additions to Jal Jeera are jaggery or brown sugar (1 tspn), green chillies, fresh ginger, coriander leaves (cilantro) added to the mint when making a paste, curry leaves, replace the water with watermelon juice.
Other Great Coolers
- See the article in The Hindu for other great summer drinks.
- Passionate Trials has a great grape and pineapple cooler.
- Dil Se has a tangy Cardamon, Ginger and Lemon summer sizzler.
- Tangerine’s Kitchen has a great Pomegranate Tea Cooler.