Summer tans, lazy noons, old books and colourful coolants — these are a few of my favourite things when Indian summers get harsh and draining. There’s no time better to whip up some delicious drinks and treats, even though you are sitting in your home getting through the times of the lockdown, as a good drink never fails to lighten up your spirits. A perfect non-alcoholic drink works out for a movie date with kids or while you are just curled up in your patio with a book as you finish a lazy summer day. The crisp refreshing flavour of mocktails definitely jazzes up a sultry and dull day.

Summers are a time to quench your thirst and stay hydrated to save yourself from the sweltering heat. Here are a few drinks you cannot miss out on. When the temperatures are soaring high, all we need is a stellar drink to beat the heat. You can divide your drinks into regional/ desi and coolers or mocktails.

Aam panna: This drink is to savour as it’s made out of raw mangoes — the king of fruits for the season. Its pulp topped with cumin, black salt and mint leaves is a relief in the hot summers of Lucknow and Uttar Pradesh and eastern India.

Chaas/buttermilk: A perfect way to make a hot day refreshing is by having a masala chaas. It also acts as a digestive as curd makes a great coolant and cumin keeps the tummy soothed. Known as majjige in Karnataka, chaas in Punjab and Haryana, this drink is very popular.

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Bael ka sherbet: A lifesaver in the ‘loo’ prevalent areas of North India, bael or stone apple or wood apple is a rich source of flavonoids and is abundant in vitamins. Bael panna is the Kolkata version when sugar and lemon juice is mixed. Another popular version in eastern UP is a sherbet mixed with sugar and milk.

Ragi Ambli: This is a north Karnataka drink specially made in summers to keep up the energy levels Ragi or finger millet powder is mixed with buttermilk and served cool.

Sattu sherbet: Typically made of roasted black chickpea flour in Bihar, the powder is mixed with water or milk and sugar and boiled and cooled. It is nutritious and filling and and convenient to prepare.

Mint & mango iced tea: Blend the flavour of green tea with mango, fresh mint, lime and ice to make this iced tea. It makes a wonderfully refreshing summer drink at any time of the day.

Elderflower cordial: It is fragrant and refreshing, and easy to make. Mix with sparkling water to create elderflower pressé, or add to wine, prosecco or champagne to begin a party in style.

Watermelon lemonade: If you want a blend of the absolute refreshing flavours of lemon and watermelon, then this is for you. Freeze watermelon cubes for the drink to make it more enticing for kids.

Pomegranate, beet smoothie: It’s that time of the year when all of us are trying to stay healthy. This is one such smoothie wherein you blend apple, spinach, beet and pomegranate. You can throw in a few mint leaves as they are a natural coolant.

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Popsicle punch: It’s fun and colourful. Using popsicles is the best idea to rock ‘n’ roll with family. In a large pitcher, stir together strawberry, lemonade, soda and sliced mangoes and strawberries. Add popsicle fruit pop (either of the fruits).

Thai iced creamy tea: Thai tea has to be authentic to get the real flavour of this drink. Usually, Thai tea will have yellow food colouring added to it that imparts it the bright orange colour when brewed and it has a vanilla flavour to it. So brew, cool and pour in a glass, top half of the glass with whole milk, coconut milk or condensed milk, depending on what stimulates your taste buds. Savour, sip and share the drinks as you appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

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