Mumbai Food: Remixed Nimbu pani to add in your must-try summer coolers list
Keep cool, by sipping on these quirky new versions of the humble lemonade this summer
When life gives you lemons, make nimbu pani, especially in this heat. Lemon, water, sugar and a little masala — the simple desi lemonade is the muse for restaurants and bars across the city this summer. From variants using activated charcoal to colourful berries, nimbu pani, version 2.0, should be on your must-try summer coolers list.
The beauty of the lemonade is such that an extra ingredient can completely change the flavour of the drink, which in this case is tamarind. The Indian masala lemonade at this restaurant is made with chaat masala, roasted coriander seeds, lime, sparkling water and the star ingredient, tamarind syrup. The restaurant also serves a bael and jaggery julep, made with vodka, bael concentrate, red jaggery, lemongrass syrup, lime juice, fresh mint and soda. “The use of bael, tamarind, coriander seeds and jaggery has been integral to our culture since ancient times. These ingredients keep us from using readymade syrups and artificial flavours, and add to the aroma of the drink. The natural sugar makes the flavours more robust,” says Pankaj Gupta, owner and bar mixologist at Taftoon Bar and Kitchen.
At: Taftoon, G Block, BKC, Bandra East.
Time: Noon to 12.30 am
Cost: Rs 299 plus taxes
If you love every-thing pink, call for the pink lemonade where cranberries lend a beautiful colour and flavour to the usual drink. Monaz Irani, co-founder and chef of Plate & Pint, says, “With the onset of summer, constant hydration is a must. The pink lemonade can be a saviour, as it helps re-energise the body that gets drained of minerals in the heat.”
At: Plate & Pint, Dhunabad, Bhulabhai Desai Road.
Time: 8.30 am to 11.30 pm
Cost: Rs 170
Love strawberries? Call for the strawberry lemonade at this restaurant, made with Sprite, soda, lime juice and strawberries. “Nothing screams summer more than a mix of the fresh flavours of strawberry and lemon. The sweet and tartness of this drink makes it a favourite, especially during warmer days,” says Garrimella Vishwanath Venkat, senior mixologist, Farzi Cafe, Mumbai.
Garrimella Vishwanath Venkat
At: Farzi Cafe, all Outlets in Mumbai.
Call: 8433942801 (Kamala Mills)
Cost: Rs 245 plus taxes
Butterfly pea iced tea
For this cocktail, the butterfly pea flower is roasted with cinnamon and star anise, and then added to the lemonade. “The colour and splendour of the flower add a magical twist to the lemonade. When the exotic flowers come in contact with the lime in the lemonade, it turns their natural blue colour to a pretty purple,” says Sachin Tushmad, bar manager at Nara.
At: Nara, Raheja Tower, BKC.
Time: Noon to 4 pm, 7 pm to 1 am
Cost: Rs 350 plus taxes
This black lemonade is naturally sweetened with local organic honey, and it gets its colour and goodness from activated charcoal. “We believe in food that nourishes the body without compromising on the taste. When it comes to the lemonade, activated charcoal has detoxifying properties and its flavour does not affect the taste and satiety level. So, you get the flavours of a traditional lemonade but with added benefits,” says Vijay Mohit, restaurant manager, The Pantry.
At: The Pantry, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Time: 8.30 am to 11.30 pm
Cost: Rs 145 plus taxes
From the Malabar coast
When Darren Crawford, beverage director at Americano, wanted to have a vodka-based drink for Mumbai’s heat on the menu, the simplicity of nimbu pani inspired him to create Malabar cooler. It’s made with vodka, cucumber, mint, lime, muskmelon, soda water and pebble ice. “Yes, many bars are crushing ice, but none have an amazing Japanese machine [Hoshizaki]. The act of crushing ice produces friction, the heat from which ultimately causes the ice to melt slightly and then refreeze onto itself, and clump together. The cocktail was designed to appeal to a wide range of people and keep them cool during these warmer months,” says Crawford.
At: Americano 123, Nagindas Master Road, Kala Ghoda.
Time: Monday to Saturday, 7 pm to midnight; Sunday, noon to 5 pm and 7 pm to midnight
Cost: Rs 700 plus taxes
A fruity martini
While Bond might prefer his martinis shaken, Mumbai’s summers urge us to take the fruity route. The lemonberry martini is made with raspberry and cranberry, in addition to vodka, vanilla and lemon. “Our mixology programme is based on the philosophy of fresh and eclectic. In this cocktail, we’ve added a fruity, refreshing twist to the quintessential summer drink. The berries and vanilla that act as natural sweeteners, balance out the sourness of the lemonade,” says Merwyn Alphonso, bar shift manager at Yauatcha.
At: Yauatcha, Raheja Tower, First Floor, BKC, Bandra East.
Time: Noon to 1 am
Cost: Rs 950 plus taxes
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