Berry Blast Nimbu Pani

Nimbu Pani. Translation: Lemon Water. Pronunciation: Nim-boo Paw-nee. Verdict: Poppy and Refreshing.

Through my teen years I traveled abroad extensively. Every summer break I was off gallivanting through China, Cameroon, Thailand, and on several occasions India. These summer mission efforts involved a LOT of sweaty work and hard floors to sleep on, but they also produced an invaluable work ethic, a great deal of fun, and truly adventurous meals.

On these trips, eating guidelines were always set in place to keep our team healthy. The basic rules were:

Only eat fully cooked vegetables and meats.

Only eat fruit with a very thick peel.


And Rule #1, Don’t Drink the Water… EVER. (Only sealed bottled water was allowed.)

One summer, we lived in a remote Indian village with no bottled water for sale. Luckily I had purchased a high-tech camping water purifier and was able to pump MUD from a water-buffalo pond into clean crisp drinking water. Our only alternative was to boil the mud and add iodine tablets–Phlck! That was probably the best $200 I ever spent.

The “water rule” was also bent at the Indian markets, for a refreshing glass of Nimbu Pani.

Nimbu Pani is the Indian version of lemonade (or often Limeade,) so of course it contains lemon or lime, sugar and WATER. Nimbu Pani also has a special ingredient that takes it a step beyond plain old lemonade, SALT. This sweet and salty citrus drink is astonishingly refreshing and the salt intensifies the lemon or lime flavor. It’s an extremely popular street beverage; only overshadowed by Indian’s beverage-of-choice, Chai.

I consumed quite a few Nimbu Pani in the three summers I spent in India. Often I would stand drinking this lemonade out of dingy communal glasses next to a rickety street cart. What can I say, I like to live on the wild side. In the blistering Indian heat, conventional wisdom (and thoughts of parasites) were clouded by this sweet invigorating drink.

Nimbu Pani is something I crave each year as the weather warms up. It’s zingy essence brings back priceless memories of bustling streets, rickshaws, and old friends.

Today I’ve made Nimbu Pani with lime juice; then muddled strawberries and blackberries into the mix for a bright and zippy spring-time beverage. Its intense and alluring flavors will have you muddling and squeezing limes all season! Plus, it’s much more fun to say “Nimbu Pani,” than salty berry limeade! *wink*

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46 comments on “Berry Blast Nimbu Pani

  1. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Growposted June 2, 2011 at 7:30 am Reply

    Yum that looks fantastic! I love the traveling tales! What an exciting childhood!

  2. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchenposted June 2, 2011 at 6:18 am Reply

    I want to hear more about your traveling days. It sounds like you must have a lot of great stories to tell! But first I’m going to need a glass of this refreshing drink. :-)

  3. Maris (In Good taste)posted June 2, 2011 at 6:33 am Reply

    If this tastes anywhere as near to how pretty these photos are then it must be spectacular.

  4. Kulsum at JourneyKitchenposted June 2, 2011 at 6:44 am Reply

    ha:-) I loved loved reading this. My dad had this rule too when we went on vacation to India – not drinking any water except bottled. But two things that I could never say no to were Nimbu pani and Pani puri. lol and I think overtime we get immune to bad water :-) . Loved the berry addition.

  5. Erinposted June 2, 2011 at 7:45 am Reply

    Great post – how fun you got to travel all over like that! This drink looks fantastic – what a great color!

  6. Alisonposted June 2, 2011 at 8:47 am Reply

    Can’t wait to try this! I love all variations on lemonade and limeade but never thought to add salt. I know it makes all the difference in a good mango lassi.

  7. Priya Sreeramposted June 2, 2011 at 8:55 am Reply

    lovely read capturing INDIA at her very best ! cheers ; btw loved the addition of berries

  8. Heleneposted June 2, 2011 at 8:59 am Reply

    I love those glasses so much. Sounds like such a great drink.

  9. Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife}posted June 2, 2011 at 9:32 am Reply

    That is so interesting. And the drink looks divine too!

  10. My Kitchen in the Rockiesposted June 2, 2011 at 9:46 am Reply

    Great pictures, Sommer! Yes, I remember all the safe traveling food rules and brushing your teeth with bottled water. Thanks for a refreshing drink recipe. Kirsten

  11. Suzanneposted June 2, 2011 at 11:02 am Reply

    Love, love, LOVE this! I think I’ll put a little Tito’s Vodka in mine just in case . . . ;) Gotta run to the store.

  12. Belinda @zomppaposted June 2, 2011 at 11:18 am Reply

    India is such a wonderful, beautiful place. This is so refreshing – would brighten up any day!

  13. Saee Koranne-Khandekarposted June 2, 2011 at 11:19 am Reply

    OMG, that is one sexy nimbu pani! LOVE the colors!

  14. CLAIREposted June 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm Reply

    looks gorgeous and refreshing! perfect for out by a pool this summer!

  15. Lisa @ Tarte du Jourposted June 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm Reply

    Refreshing, colorful, and beautiful! Summer is here!

  16. Lindaposted June 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Gorgeous photos and what a beautiful colored drink! I was glad to see someone else comment on adding in a bit of vodka as that was my first thought! How lucky for you in your teen years to have had the opportunity to travel and experience so much!

  17. Feast on the Cheapposted June 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm Reply

    That is one stunning cocktail. Almost too pretty to drink!

  18. Jennifurlaposted June 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm Reply

    I am so in LOVE with all of your dishes and glasses, and these pictures are so striking with vibrant color. How can I resist?

  19. Christine (Cook the Story)posted June 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm Reply

    The salt makes SO MUCH SENSE. Much like on a margarita. Salt with sweet, salt with citrus – both work. You can bet my next batch of lemonade will have that unexpected kick.

  20. sweetlifeposted June 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm Reply

    stunning color…I love color, color when presenting refreshing glass of cool drinks!! thanks sommer!


  21. Tricia @ Saving room for dessertposted June 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm Reply

    I’d love to hear about your travels too! I want to travel more and taste what there is to be enjoyed in the world! Lovely drink and it does look so refreshing. Great photos too – you can almost taste and smell it through the screen!

  22. Nelly Rodriguezposted June 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Yum, this looks so refreshing!

  23. Tiffanyposted June 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm Reply

    STUNNING! And just what we need in the Piedmont right now!

  24. Lizposted June 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm Reply

    Gorgeous, unique and refreshing! So glad you came through your trips without parasites…I think it was worth the risk for this beautiful drink :)

  25. The Steaming Potposted June 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm Reply

    I am a big fan of nimbu pani, how creative to combine it with berries. The color and the photos look so beautiful, I can’t bring myself to look away!

  26. Angie's Recipesposted June 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm Reply

    wow this looks so dreamy and heavenly! Really love its colour.

  27. elle marieposted June 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm Reply

    Props to you… I like hard work and the character it builds…not sure I could do hard floors though, I have yet to see the REAL India = )

  28. kankanaposted June 2, 2011 at 11:27 pm Reply

    WOW had no idea you had been to India :) My Dad too had rules all the time .. and mom’s rule was no road side food. She would try to make those at home !
    I must say you raised Nimbu Pani to a whole new level. In those horrible heat and humid nothing can make you feel better than nimbu pani and i always preferred it salty. have to try making this version and surprise my freinds :)

  29. Carolynposted June 3, 2011 at 5:12 am Reply

    I’ve never heard of it, but it certainly looks, and sounds, delicious!

  30. Lana @ Never enough Thymeposted June 3, 2011 at 6:29 am Reply

    Very beautiful and interesting beverage! I’d love to try this very soon.

  31. Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks!posted June 3, 2011 at 7:02 am Reply

    Your photography is stunning. Now if I could figure out a sugar free version!

  32. Parsley Sageposted June 3, 2011 at 11:13 am Reply

    Must try this! It looks so yummy and refreshing. Great memories to associate with it as well, that always makes a recipe taste better :)

  33. Melissa Finnposted June 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm Reply

    Hey, I learn something new. Thanks for sharing your travels. I wish to do the same when I have time and a great deal of funds lol. The recipe seems interesting

  34. [email protected]posted June 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm Reply

    This looks wonderful! I am so curious about teh salty/sweet thing… I am sure it is wonderfully tangy and intense. I have to try it out on the next really hot afternoon!

  35. Jenposted June 3, 2011 at 9:30 pm Reply

    Those pictures are gorgeous! I love the contrast with the black in the background.

  36. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagelsposted June 4, 2011 at 7:56 am Reply

    What a gorgeous drink! I love the bright color. :)

  37. pachecopattyposted June 4, 2011 at 8:52 am Reply

    Just beautiful Sommer! Wow, you’ve had some adventures in your time, I’m glad you found Nimbu Pani and shared it with us- love the fresh berries;-)

  38. Hester Casey - Alchemyposted June 4, 2011 at 10:19 am Reply

    Gallivanting! I love that word. Sounds like you had a blast and picked up some valuable experiences at the same time. Your photos are beautiful – I feel refreshed just looking at them – and I think you have taken Nimbu Pani to a whole new level by adding the berries.

  39. Julie M.posted June 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm Reply

    This sounds like a perfect summer drink Sommer. And I’m with Sylvie, you should share a bit more about your travels; I’d love to hear about them!

  40. Rachel - A Southern Fairytaleposted June 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm Reply

    This sounds quite heavenly! Love your traveling tale, too.
    Thank you for sharing both the stories and the recipes.

  41. SMITH BITESposted June 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm Reply

    absolutely stunning! i too wanna hear more about your travels!!

  42. Radhikaposted June 10, 2011 at 11:10 am Reply

    Loved reading this.
    Loved how you say ” What can I say, I like to live on the wild side.” and the finishing *wink*, which perfectly complements that statement.
    Your precise description of the water-buffalo pond, rickety cart, rickshaws and bustling streets transported me for a minute to my own good old days..
    That berry nimbu paani looks so zesty and refreshing in color, got to get squeezing some limes/lemons now..

  43. Stevieposted June 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm Reply

    Nimbu Pani sounds amazing. Certainly you make it seem so. I wonder how it would go with a splash of vodka added to the mix?