Thandai (Spiced Almond Drink)

  • Serves

    serves 4


This sweet, creamy milk drink is flavored with nuts and mixed with spices such as cardamom, poppy seeds, and rose water. It's a popular drink during the Indian holiday Holi, when it's often served with the addition of bhaang (a derivative of marijuana). This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.


  • 2 tbsp. white poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 12 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 12 cup blanched almonds
  • 13 cup sugar
  • 1 12 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp. rose water


Step 1

Combine poppy and fennel seeds, peppercorns, and cardamom in a spice grinder; grind into a powder and transfer to a blender. Add almonds, sugar, and ½ cup water; purée into a smooth paste. Add milk, rose water, and another 1 cup water; purée until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher; serve over crushed ice.

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