Thursday, 28 June 2012

Summer drinks

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The weather has been incredibly good the past couple of days and we have resorted to keeping a bottle of chilled water in the refrigerator and taking glugs from it when needed. Ro's hay fever has flared up and he's irritated with it most of the time, but still refuses to stay indoors, and takes the cycle out for a spin to the nearby parks and such whenever possible. As much as I'm enjoying the heat and sunshine, it sometimes gets to me, especially at night when it gets too stuffy and warm, in spite of leaving the windows open. I should probably take off the duvet and use a normal sheet, but we are always jinxed when we do that, because the very next day after we vacuum seal the duvet and stash it away, it becomes cold and unbearable at night, leaving us sleepless and cranky. Same with taking the floor fan out. The day after we assemble it, it would be raining and cold and windy and we'd never have an opportunity to use it. 

Anyway's, coming to today's post, I have been making these gorgeous cold summer drinks whenever the weather is amazing (read HOT) and have been waiting for the right moment to post them. They are not really precise recipes, but more 'add as you like' versions, and so can be adapted in whichever way you prefer. Today I guess temperatures are soaring at 27C and its perhaps the best day to post the recipes for these summery drinks. I am sooo gonna go ahead and make some Pimms later in the day.

Mango Mood (serves 2 to 3) 
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The moment I saw Finla's mango cocktail recipe, I knew I had to try it. To be honest, Ro and I dont crave for mangoes during the season. I mean we will pick some up if we feel like it, but dont crave it tremendously. I like mango flavoured drinks more than the actual fruit and that's why I had to give this cocktail a go. Its perfect to serve while entertaining guests and of course, you can never go wrong with anything vodka based :)

Mango juice- 250ml
Orange juice- 100 ml
Vodka- 100 ml
Lime juice- 20 ml
Ice cubes- as required.
Caster sugar- to rim the glasses (optional)

Take some caster sugar in a plate, rub a lemon lightly on the rims of 2 cocktail glasses to moisten i,t and then turn it upside down and dip the rims in caster sugar. 
Shake off excess sugar and chuck them in the fridge.
Pour all the other ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake away to glory.
Take the glasses out of the refrigerator and strain the drink into them.
Serve immediately.

Lime mint cooler (serves 4)
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This brings back fond memories of college days. We used to hang out at this pretty popular juice joint called 'Fruit Shop on Greams Road,' but since we were all living off meagre pocket money, we could only afford the cheapest drink on their menu- the lime mint cooler which was Rs. 10 at that time (I'm sure its gone up like crazy now) and we would sit with that drink for as long as possible. Ah good ol days.

Its not a drink everyone would like as its got a very distinct mint flavour. Ro hates it, but that doesnt stop me from making a couple of glasses for myself. Add some grated ginger for some added punch, or replace sugar with honey for a lighter version.

Lime juice- 1/4 cup
Lemon juice- 1/4 cup
Mint leaves- 1/4 cup
Sugar- 4 to 5 tbsp (depending on taste)
Water- 4 to 4.5 cups
Ice cubes- as required
Lemon zest and mint leaves- to garnish

Blend together all the ingredients, except the garnish items, in a blender till all the sugar is melted and the mint leaves have broken down.
Strain the mix into a large jug, do a taste test. Add more sugar if needed, more water if its too tart and ice cubes if its not cold enough.
Pour into individual glasses and garnish with some zest and mint leaves.

Pimms- the quintessential British fav. (makes one large pitcher)
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No summer in England is complete without a pitcher of Pimms and I for one love it. If you have a bottle of Pimms, making variations with different mixers is absolutely easy, and hardly would you have anyone say no to it. This is the basic version and recipe is adapted from here.

Pimms No. 1- 1 cup
Lemonade- 3 cups, chilled
Mint- a few springs
Cucumber- 1/4 cup
Orange- 1, quartered
Strawberries- 1/2 cup, hulled and halved
Ice cubes- as required (optional)

Into a large pitcher pour in the Pimms. 
Top with lemonade. Add ice cubes if required.
Garnish with cucumber, orange and mint and serve chilled.
while pouring it out, you may want to use a spoon to scoop out some of the fruits and add to individual glasses. 
Its best drunk with a straw and eating the alcohol soaked fruits might be a bit tricky, but after a couple of drinks, who cares if you use your hands :)

Sambharam (Spiced buttermilk- serves 2)
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This drink definitely needs no introduction. It's a staple at every South Indian household, especially during the hot and humid summers. I am ashamed to say this, but I have made sambharam only once since coming to London and I had to click pics and record it for posterity. I remember glugging down packets full of this yummy stuff during my under grad days, from this small shack just outside college. God know what all they used to add in it, but it was the most yummiest, spiciest buttermilk I've ever had. Recipe adapted from here, styling from here

Buttermilk- 300 ml, chilled
Water- 100 ml (if required)
Ginger- 1 inch piece, peeled
Green chillies- 2
Shallots- 2 small (optional)
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Curry leaves- a sprig
Salt- to taste

If the buttermilk is too thick, dilute it with the water. The ones we get here are pretty thick and so i keep adding water bit by bit till i get the slightly loose consistency.
Add enough salt, mix well and keep aside.
Grind/ crush coarsely the ginger, green chillies, shallots, cumin seeds and asafoetida either using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder.
Crush the curry leaves with your hand and all it to the buttermilk, along with all the crushed mix.
Give a good stir and serve cold.
If you dont like to bite into the spices, then let the buttermilk chill in the refrigerator for a while so the flavours get infused, and then strain before serving.

Bloody Mary (makes 1, double it if required)
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My recent fav is the Bloody Mary. If made right, it's perhaps one of the yummiest cocktails ever, but if ruined, it could taste like tomato soup with a kick. I used to make this cocktail a lot back in India because vodka and tomato juice is readily available and there is very little or no effort whipping this up for unexpected guests. You can also make a virgin version without the booze. Recipe adapted from here

Vodka- 50 ml
Tomato juice- 125 ml
Celery salt- 1/4 tsp + enough to rim the glass
Black pepper- a dash
Tabasco sauce- a generous dash (less if you dont prefer it spicy)
Worcestershire sauce- a dash
Ice cubes- as required

Take some celery salt in a saucer. Rub a lemon lightly on to the rim of a tall glass to moisten it ,and then turn it upside down and dip the rims into the celery salt. Shake off excess salt, as you dont want it to be too salty. You can use a salt and pepper mix for the rims, if you dont have celery salt. 
Fill the glass with ice.
Pour in the vodka and top it up with tomato juice. You can dilute it with some water if you think the tomato juice is too thick.
Season with the celery salt and black pepper.
Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces, stir it all in and serve.
If you can get hold of celery sticks, use that as a decoration (and a stirrer).

PS: My sister-in-law (brother's wife) is getting into London on Monday and she's with us for about 3 weeks. I am sooo looking forward to some girly time with both my sisters-in-law (Ro's sister is also in London) and so blog posts may not be that regular. 

12 comments:

Gauri said...

Love the summer drinks, love the clicks!!
Enjoy the sister time, make the most of it!
Cheers

Priya said...

Seriously wat a lovely array of mindblowing summer drinks. Dunno wat to choose, everything looks damn irresistible.

Vineetha said...

Atlast rain is gone !! Its too hot today isnt it ?? , u r right about duvets,we too never pack it ,dont want to do extra work by taking it out again :)
Loved ur summer drinks...especially the mango one..never tired bloody marry,as i m not a tomato fan but have been thinking lately that I should try that atleast once..and now after seeing this i will have to try this soon..if I dont try till august will defintely try in flight while going to India if they serve this :)

Spice up the Curry said...

all of them are very good. beautiful photos

Suja Manoj said...

Refreshing,love all the summer drinks,beautiful pics.

Kadhyaa said...

love the drinks and the awesome clicks

Archana said...

Love them all. Bookmarking them any substitutes for the alcohol?

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Lovely set of summer drinks...Beautiful clicks..

Sunshine And Smile said...

Every other day a new drink. Yes, that's the way I am enjoying this summer and now I have more to try :)

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Rose from Magpies Recipes said...

wow what an awesome post! I have LOTS of greams road memories too :) my regular was the carbuncle and then there was this shawarma place that opened down the road which we loved too. College days! fun times :)

speakoutnow said...

I love those drinks with the little chocolate straws, wish there were more places to get them around Manchester, there only a special treat for me at the moment.

Sam Apex
www.lounge10.co.uk