It’s already ridiculously hot in Calcutta where I am currently (the temperatures are hitting 36-37C this week!). And it’s not even really the summer just yet. I wanted to come up with a drink that’s fresh, energizing and not overly sugary. And that’s how this ginger lemon summer spritz came about.
If you grew up in India, you might remember a concoction of ginger, lemon, honey and hot water given to you if you’re sick with a fever or cold. This ginger lemon summer spritz is a spin on that – plus mint for its freshness and cooling properties. The combination is packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
You can make the ginger-lemon-honey concentrate in advance or just before you’d like to serve it. I’m the kind of person who loves doing as many things in advance and refrigerating or freezing in small batches. It’s time-saving, stress-relieving and when you’re tired and need a snack or drink, you always have something ready to go.
I made one batch of the concentrate a day before (to serve at a family get-together) and another just before people came over (because we thought we didn’t have enough!). Both tasted great; I preferred the previous day’s concentrate because the flavors were more melded together.
- 25g ginger, chopped finely or crushed
- Juice of 6 lemons
- 5 tbsp honey/agave for vegans
- 6 tbsp mint leaves
- 900ml soda or sparkling water
- 6 slices of lemon, to garnish
- Ice (optional)
- Combine the ginger, lemon juice and honey in a bowl.
- If using later, cover this bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate at this stage. The mixture keeps well for 3 days at least.
- Muddle the mint leaves into the ginger-lemon-honey liquid using a mortar and pestle (Indian spice grinder). If you don't have one, use any wooden spoon or spatula to gently press down on the leaves for a few minutes until the mixture is fragrant with mint.
- Divide the liquid into six glasses filled with ice. Add 150ml soda or sparkling water to each glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.
- If you or your guests prefer, add more honey or agave for a sweeter drink.
- Serve immediately. Makes six 150ml drinks.
At least I found one good way to survive this Indian summer that doesn’t involve a ticket and passport!