Nimbu ka Sharbat (North Indian Spiced Limeade)
In Lucknow, India, the hakims—local practitioners of Yunani medicine, derived from ancient Greece and focused on balancing the humors in the body—concoct cooling drinks to beat the heat. Called by the Persian name sharbat, the iced drinks often contain sweet and tart fruits and pungent and fiery spices. This refreshing cooler gets a carbonated lift from seltzer and a pleasantly saline tang from black salt and dried mango powder. It first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
- 3⁄4 cup fresh lime juice, plus sliced lime for serving
- 1⁄3 cup packed mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp. grated kala namak (black salt; optional)
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. amchoor powder (dried, green mango)
- 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground cumin
- 4 cups seltzer or water, chilled
- Purée lime juice, mint leaves, sugar, black salt, if using, the kosher salt, amchoor powder, pepper, and cumin in a blender until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and top with seltzer; garnish with lime slices and mint sprigs.