Ayurveda Inspired Summer Drinks to Cool Off Today: 9 Recipes Included

By Anuradha Gupta | Posted: July 27, 2020

Ayurveda teaches us that our diet should be based on our body constitution (composed of Doshas or energy principals), or our imbalances to restore health. We also honor natural daily and seasonal rhythms. Summer is hot Pitta Season; we must hydrate enough to beat the heat. A fun fact; coconut water, an electrolyte-rich Pitta-pacifying drink was used temporarily on some patients as an intravenous solution during World War II! Not normally a safe IV alternative, this wonder drink is sometimes used in oral rehydration therapy!

Other natural, beneficial summer drinks are the immune-boosting Amalaki juice (Indian gooseberry), aloe vera, watermelon, grape, cucumber or bottle gourd (lauki) juices and vetiver sherbet (generally sweet, bitter and astringent tastes in the Shadrasa or cooling ingredients do good with Pitta). Be creative! Mix in spices like coriander, fennel, mint, cumin, turmeric, small quantities of pepper, saffron, and cardamom and garnish your drinks with mint or cilantro. Sweeten with unrefined sweeteners in moderation like agave nectar, rice syrup, maple syrup, turbinado sugar, and unrefined cane sugar. (Go easy on honey, molasses, and jaggery in the summer; always avoid white sugar). Mishri (organic rock sugar) has a low glycemic index, is used in Ayurvedic formulations, and is a great cooling alternative.

Here are some refreshing summer drinks!

1. Buttermilk, Chaas or Takra

Recipe: In one cup of organic homemade or Greek yogurt add two-three cups of water, churn them in a blender really well for 3-5 min. Remove the top, heavy, buttery foam. Add ½ tsp of roasted cumin and Himalayan Salt (to taste;  a pinch of dry ginger is optional).  Garnish with cilantro or mint leaves and serve. 

Benefits: Packed with probiotics and electrolytes, Takra is useful in many health conditions, particularly digestive disorders. Go easy if you have a highly aggravated pitta disorder like hyperacidity.

2. Unripe Mango Drink or Aam panna

Recipe: Take 2 unripe green mangoes, boil them in water, simmer (for about 15 min) till you can take the peel off. Cool, peel, remove the pulp from the seed and grind with enough water to make a thick paste. Mix in unrefined sugar (1 part of pulp:2 parts of sugar) simmer on a stovetop till the sugar dissolves taking care to stir so the pulp doesn’t burn. Cool and mix 2 spoons of the sweetened pulp in a cup of water; add roasted cumin and Himalayan salt. Garnish with mint and serve!

Benefits: Rich in micronutrients, it replenishes the body’s mineral levels, is cooling, and good for gastrointestinal complaints.

3. Thandai

Recipe: Soak (for 4-5 hours) and blend about 10 (blanch and peel later) almonds,  cashews, 10 pistachios, 3 tsp each melon seeds, 2 tsp khus khus (poppy seeds -optional), 2 tsp fennel, 1 tsp peppercorn (cumin seeds 1 tsp optional) and a couple of cardamoms with a little milk. 

Boil 2 cups of milk and add a few strands of saffron. Add 2-4 tsp rock sugar with ½ tsp cardamom powder, 2 tsp rose water, some strands of saffron and a pinch of cinnamon (optional). Mix the paste into the milk and simmer for a few minutes. Cool, garnish with pistachios and saffron and serve!

Benefits: Popular during the Indian Spring festival Holi and Mahashivratri, this nourishing drink aids digestion and is an energy, mood and immune booster.

4. Rose Sherbet

Recipe (Sweet alert!):

Rose Sherbet (here sherbert refers to the oriental “cooling drink of sweet diluted juices”) can be made from rose essence and sugar syrup; add 4 cups of sugar, ½ tsp cardamom powder in 3-4 cups of water; keep stirring on medium heat till the sugar dissolves. Let the solution simmer for 10 min till it forms sugar syrup and then let it cool. Add 4 tsp of organic edible rose essence (Natural pink or rose color is optional. Can also add lime juice to taste). You can also use fresh rose petals to make rose water and enhance the flavor. 

To make a fragrant, flavorful sherbet, add 1/4th cup of this concentrate to 3/4th cup of water. Use milk instead of Rose Milk (but avoid lime).  

Benefits: Rose sherbet has cooling, hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and stress alleviating properties, which can reduce bloating, hyperacidity, colds, and sore throats.

5. Sweet Pomegranate Juice

Recipe: While different parts of the pomegranate fruit can be used(it’s called a pharmacy in itself), pomegranate juice made from sweet (and not sour) fruit seeds is a wonderful pitta pacifying summer drink. Pick the juicy, heavy, sweet, and deep red pomegranates. Cut the top crown and make 4-5 vertical slits to open up the fruit and separate the seeds in a bowl of water. During this process, some juice will squirt out (caution, it stains!). Now blend the seeds just enough to be able to strain the rest. For two cups of seeds, add one cup of water. You can add some Himalayan salt to this super drink!

Benefits: Sweet Pomegranate is rich in iron, Vitamin C, and many micronutrients; it is Tridosha pacifying, cleansing, and immunity-boosting. Easy to digest, it can be taken during fevers and helps alleviate cardiac and digestive disorders.   

6. Alkaline Water 

(Recipe by Gurudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living)

Recipe: Take one liter of water; add four slices of cucumber and two small pieces of lemon in it. Keep this overnight and the water turns alkaline. Drink a glass of the alkaline water two to three hours after your food or at least one to two hours before you have eaten your meals (not right before or after).

Benefits: All vegetables are alkaline, while fruits are mainly acidic. Spices, rice, and even milk are acidic. The kind of food that we eat can be acidic in nature which causes joint pain, lethargy, and diseases in our body. Drink alkaline water and see how it brings a change in your health. 

7. Herbal Tea – Lavender Fennel Mint Herbal Tea

Recipe: Boil 1/2 tsp of lavender, 1 tsp fennel, and 1 tsp of mint in 2 cups of water (can add a few dried edible rose petals). Other herb suggestions include licorice, cardamom, chamomile, hibiscus, basil, tulsi (holy basil), and lemongrass. Let the herbs brew in boiling water for about 10 min, cool and enjoy the tea hot, lukewarm or at room temperature.

Benefits: Many of these herbs have digestive, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. Lavender alleviates anxiety and insomnia, fennel helps with metabolic health and mint with respiratory and skin conditions. 

8. Sattu

Recipe: Sattu is flour that can be found in Indian stores or online. It is prepared by dry roasting Bengal gram, garbanzo beans, or barley; often millets, cashew, or almonds are added. (traditionally in an iron vessel in the sand, sieved and ground). Add two teaspoons of Sattu flour in one glass of water with 1/4th tsp roasted cumin powder and Himalayan Salt to taste. Squeeze in lime and garnish with mint leaves.

Benefits: Sattu is cooling and high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and insoluble fiber with a low glycemic index, is good for diabetics, athletes, or those that do heavy work and aids digestion and bone health.

9. Lemonade

Recipe: Bitter lime has a sweet post-digestive effect (vipaka). Squeeze ½ a bitter lime into 1 cup water, add 1/4th tsp cumin powder and sweetener and Himalayan salt to taste, garnish with mint and add a slice of lime!

Benefits: A super immune booster; this helps in detoxifying the system.

Stay hydrated and ensure you’re drinking enough water the right way! (Read more here). Remember, you don’t need to chill your drinks unless you have a strong Agni (digestive and metabolic fire). 

Dairy is Pitta pacifying (unless you’re intolerant) so don’t forget the goodness of milk this summer! Mango milkshakes with ripe, sweet mangoes are nourishing and delicious (add in chia seeds to make a pudding!); dates, figs, raisins, and avocados can also be mixed in, but other fruits are incompatible (viruddhahar). Alternatively, you could use coconut, rice, or almond milk in your milkshake recipes to make them vegan. Turmeric Milk is a wonderful anti-inflammatory drink to boost immunity. Ojasvita, another delicious Ayurvedic drink made by Sri Sri Tattva can be mixed into warm or cold milk or water and has the goodness of many herbs including Ashwagandha

Stay safe and focus on your immunity as we navigate this summer. There are other ways to cool off and boost immunity and meditation helps all year long; here are the details of a free breath and meditation workshop, Beyond Breath!

Anuradha Gupta is an Engineer, MBA, writer and Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner. She has a corporate background and volunteers for Art of Living and other nonprofits. You can find her on Facebook or  LinkedIn

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