A Spicy Perspective

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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Berry Blast Nimbu Pani

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This sweet and salty citrus drink Nimbu Pani is astonishingly refreshing, and the salt intensifies the lemon or lime flavor.
Servings: 4 pints

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups water or seltzer water
  • 6 juicy limes
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries or blackberries

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water with the sugar and salt. Heat over medium high until the sugar and salt dissolve into a sweet and salty simple syrup. Place in the fridge to cool. Make a little over 2 cups.
  • Muddle (smash to smithereens) the berries in the bottom of a pitcher.
  • Squeeze the limes into a pitcher and add the chilled simple syrup. Pour in the addition water of seltzer water and stir.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 332kcal, Carbohydrates: 88g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1044mg, Potassium: 158mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 78g, Vitamin A: 50IU, Vitamin C: 50.4mg, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: American, Indian
Author: Sommer Collier

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47 comments on “Berry Blast Nimbu Pani”

  1. Delicious

  2. 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?

  3. 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..

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

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

  6. Hi Sommer,

    Loving all these berry recipes. So bright and colorful for summer.

    Did you ever make it down to Malaysia?

    Best,

    Reese

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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;-)

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

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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

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

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

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

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

  18. That Nimbu Pani looks gorgeous!! Just a couple of days ago it was really hot and humid here (in India) and i could lived on these! Monsoon has arrived but it’s still not cool enough to not crave for something cold and refreshing!! thanks for the great recipe of nimbu pani with a twist!

  19. 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 :)

  20. 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 = )

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

  22. 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!

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

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

  25. Yum, this looks so refreshing!

  26. 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!

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

    sweetlife

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

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

  31. 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!

  32. Refreshing, colorful, and beautiful! Summer is here!

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

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

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

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

  37. 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

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

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

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

  41. 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.

  42. And I thought I had traveled a lot…pffff! Lucky you!
    The lemonade sounds amazing…the photos are to die for!! Spill the beans…camera, editing software, lighting, etc… pretty please! :)

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

  44. 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.

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

  46. 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. :-)

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