Nimbu Pani, Indian Spiced Lemonade

Cool down on a hot day with Indian spiced lemonade, known as Nimbu Pani. Made with lemon (but also good with lime), this refreshing summer drink also calls for cumin and (black) salt for their cooling properties. Instead of adding salt to the lemonade, try rimming the glass with flaky sea salt. We also like to pour some of the Nimbu Pani into ice cube trays so the lemonade doesn’t get diluted. See variations below, including one for making Nimbu Pani popsicles.

photo by Jennifer McGovern

photo by Jennifer McGovern

RECIPE FOR NIMBU PANI, Indian Spiced Lemonade

1 cup fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
4 cups cold water
*Simple syrup, to taste
Toasted cumin seeds and crushed, to taste (optional)
Sea salt flakes, for rimming glass (optional)
Garnishes: Fresh mint or lemon verbena or basil leaves

*To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium low heat; add a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent mixture from crystallizing. Stir and let cook just until sugar dissolves. Cool.

1) Combine lime or lemon juice and water. Stir in simple syrup to taste. Run a lime or lemon wedge around rim of a glass, rim with salt and pour Lemonade over ice cubes in glass. Serve cold. Garnish, if desired, with fresh mint, lemon verbena, or basil leaves.
VARIATIONS: Add cardamom seeds or fresh lemon verbena leaves to the simple syrup. Serve with fresh mint leaves or basil leaves. For HARD NIMBU PANI, try adding gin or vodka and a cucumber slice as garnish.

Lemon verbena, Key limes, and lemon

Nimbu Pani popsicles

If making popsicles, pour lemonade into popsicle molds or paper cups; freeze for at least 1 hour 30 minutes before placing sticks in the mixture. Place back in freezer until frozen.

Recipes and Photos by Kim Sunée, unless otherwise noted.