Seemingly counter-intuitively, many Indian summer drinks come with a ripple of spice. But there is science behind this. The stab of the chili (or the ginger or the garlic or the cardamom) raises the internal body temperature to match that of its surroundings, thus generating sweat which wicks away the heat from the body. This practice also draws from ayurveda, in which every ingredient is imbued with either cooling or heating properties. My grandmother, who spent much of her life in Gujarat and Rajasthan, would never accept a glass of chaas without a temper of salt, mustard seeds, and a green chili—a marriage of ingredients she believed was ideal for dispelling heat. Similarly, in Delhi, jaljeera vendors line the torrid streets, streaking huge earthen pots of cumin-water with amchoor, jaggery, mint, black salt, and pepper. Across India, a galaxy of spice-led cordials (clove, cardamom and such) has quenched the thirst of my parents and grandparents. The spice pricked, then numbed, then pacified.