Another great Summer Cooler is made with tamarind – that sweet-sour and ubiquitous Indian souring agent. If you can find fresh tamarind, go the whole way and make your own tamarind paste – it is worth the effort.
The tamarind paste is mixed with sugar syrup and tasted to get the perfect balance of sweet and sour. In the photo, we have also used dried barberries that have soaked in the sugar syrup. Not only do they look festive, they also have a delightful sweet-sour flavour that compliments the drink very well.
It is interesting how tamarind coolers feature around the world, from the Nam Makham of Thailand to the Agua Fresca de Tamarindo from Mexico.
You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.
Tamarind Summer Cooler
Make a sugar syrup by mixing 100g sugar in 1 litre water, bring to the boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved, and remove from the heat. Add the juice of half a lime, and cool. This will make about 4 – 5 large glasses of cooler. Scale down if you want to make less, or store left over syrup in the fridge for a couple of days.
In a jug, add about half Tblspn home made tamarind paste per glass – use less for paste made from dried tamarind blocks and about half a tspn only if using tamarind concentrate.
To this, add 0.75 cup sugar syrup per glass. Mix well and taste. You want to balance the sweet and sour flavours. If it doesn’t taste sour enough, add more tamarind paste. If it is too sour, add more sugar syrup. Tamarind pastes varies, so this step is necessary.
Add lots of ice, stir well and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Top your glasses up with lemonade, tonic water, soda water or mineral water for a little sparkle.
Add some mint leaves. Or garnish with slices of lemon.
Grated ginger or minced crystallised ginger can be added to the sugar syrup as it is taken off the heat. Allow to cool and then strain before using.
I love to soak dried barberries or cranberries in the sugar syrup – add as it comes off the heat – and spoon some into each glass.