“It was so hot!! That I had a coke to cool down….
“I just can’t do without chilled juice in this heat “
Yes, we are in the middle of April and it’s getting hotter by the day. As the heat wave increases, we have this constant feeling of being completely sapped out of our energy. This feeling lingers through the day making us lethargic and lazy.
When the temperature soars and sweat pours, we are unable to satisfy ourselves with just chilled water, and want something more? The reason being increased sweating leads to dehydration. Sweating depletes the electrolytes in the body, and hence plain water does not quench our thirst and the body craves rehydration through soft drinks and juices.The downside, however, is that these drinks and juices come with loads of sugar and chemicals.
Having carbonated beverages or powder based refreshment doesn’t actually serve the cause of dehydration. These hardly contain any electrolytes and contain high amounts of sugar, which we need only in a small amount, as glucose does help in carrying the electrolytes into the blood.
Here is the solution!! I have tried to put together a few of my favourite healthy and refreshing drinks, to enjoy all through summer, these beverages are still high in sugars, but do not contain any white sugar, they are made instead with natural and unrefined sugars like jaggery, honey, and naturally sweet fruits.
- Jaggery Lemonade
Let me start with my all-time favourite, jaggery juice or lemonade made with jaggery
Some will say it’s the same as adding sugar, But NO !! Although the glucose content in both may be similar, jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium. Mixed with water it has a cooling effect on the body in the summers, and also aids in digestion.
25 gm jaggery, crushed
1-inch piece ginger, grated
Soaked Basil seeds (optional)
Soak crushed jaggery, add grated ginger in 4 glasses water, for 2 – 3 hours (I usually keep it in the fridge while soaking, so that it soaks and chills at the same time). After 2 hours, mix and dissolve any lumps of jaggery that might be present. Squeeze juice of a lemon in it, strain the mixture, add soaked basil seeds to have a further cooling effect, and serve.
2. Aam Panna (Raw mango cooler)
Raw Mango is an extremely healthy fruit, a godsend for the summer that is high in Vitamin C, prevents dehydration, sunstroke, reduces body heat, relieves diarrhoea and constipation and activates the liver too.
A traditional recipe, one of my favourites, since summer also brings seasonal raw mangoes with it.
Serves 4 – 6
1 Raw mango
10 – 15 g of black jaggery.
Water – to dilute.
Boil the raw mango in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Retain the liquid. Peel the raw mango and scoop out all the pulp, discard the seed, and blend the pulp in a mixer with jaggery and mint leaves, strain and mix with the remaining liquid. At this point, the raw mango concentrate can be frozen into cubes and used as per requirement, 2 cubes in a glass of water. Or diluted with chilled water and served immediately.
3. Iced Green Tea with Ginger, Mint, and Honey
We already know how healthy a cup of green tea is, but what if you are not in the mood for anything hot? Let’s just make iced tea with green tea!!
Serves 6 to 8
6 cups water
1/4th cup ginger, peeled and sliced
3 to 6 bags green tea (depending on how strong you like your tea)
1/2 cup mint leaves, tightly packed, plus extra to serve
1/4th cup honey
1 lemon, divided
In a medium-sized pot, combine the water and ginger slices. Bring to a boil. Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the tea bags and mint leaves. Cover the pot and steep for about 15 minutes.
Strain the brewed tea; separating the liquid from the mint leaves and tea bags. Mix in the honey and juice from the half lemon into the tea. Transfer to a pitcher and cool at room temperature before refrigerating.
Slice the second half of the lemon. When ready to serve, add 1 to 2 lemon slices into each glass, along with a few mint leaves and ice cubes. Once the tea has cooled, pour it into the glasses and serve.
4. Muskmelon, Coconut and orange drink.
Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat the torching tropical summer thirst. Its liquid is packed with simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish dehydration conditions inside the human body, combine it with a few fresh fruits and you have a designer tropical drink.
Serves 3 -4
2 cups or ½ a muskmelon, cubed
1 orange segmented
1 ½ cups coconut water (1 large tender coconut)
¼ tsp black salt
Mint leaves for garnishing.
Combine all the ingredients in a mixer, and blend until smooth, pour into glasses, and serve immediately garnished with mint leaves. We don’t strain this juice as we would like to have it with all the goodness of its fibres.
5. Kokum Juice.
Another gem to have in your kitchen in the summer, the benefits are endless and better explained here, but, most commercially available kokum syrups are loaded with sugar and preservatives, hence a fresh version would be more beneficial.
Serves 4 – 5
150 gms kokum
4 glasses of cold water
1 pinch salt
2 tsp black salt (pink salt)
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
15 – 20 g jaggery
½ tsp black pepper powder
mint leaves for garnishing
Soak kokum and jaggery in ½ a glass of hot water for 5 minutes. Blend it with blender, drain & keep aside. Mix all ingredients together in 4 glass of cold water and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
6. Fruity lemon fizz
For all those fizz lovers, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about you. And YES!!! Fizz can be made healthy too.
Serves 1 – 2
1 Tbsp any mashed fruit (strawberry/peach/kiwi/cucumber/pineapple/sweet melon/watermelon)
2 Tbsp whole sliced fruit
3/4 cup sparkling club soda/sparkling mineral water
¼ cup mineral water
1 Tbsp lemon juice/orange juice
1 lemon slice/orange slice
honey or stevia if needed.
You will need a good amount of fruit per glass since this will be what flavours your water. Adding frozen fruit can be very helpful because as the frozen fruit melts into the water it easily saturates the water with flavour. Frozen fruit also chills your beverage nicely. Another trick is to gently mash some of your fresh fruit to release the flavour.
Add your fruit, sweetener (if using), mint leaves, lemon juice and water to your serving glass. Stir/mash briskly and allow it to chill in the fridge until ready to serve, add chilled club soda to the glasses just before serving.
NOTE: I have tried to use natural sugars in my recipes, for diabetics, you can enjoy the same drinks with stevia instead of natural sugars if you are looking for optimum sugar control.
Overdoing anything, even if healthy will do no one good. Hence, the ideal serving size for these drinks would be 1 glass a day. Chilled to perfection!!
So Let’s enjoy every sip of these healthy coolers!!