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Nimbu Pani Margarita
This classic Indian refresher just got an adult twist. The lime is cooling and perfect for the summer while the chaat masala, kala namak and pepper seem odd they are traditional to Nimbu Pani.
Nimbu Pani or Shikanjvi or Shikanji is basically a lemonade made of lime, ergo its a limeade drink that is made in India. Nimbu Pani translated from Hindi to English is Lime water. It is mandatory during the scorching summers. I still remember when I was younger, I would go down to play with my friends in the building and come home to a glass of this sweet and salty limeade that was refreshing, cooling and thirst quenching, Even though mum wanted me to shower first, I couldn’t wait and would tiptoe into the fridge to have my glass and sneak myself a sip or two of my brothers share.
This is a drink that doesn’t need the alcohol, in fact it is had without any alcohol you can serve it sweetened with sugar or salty with “kala namak” which is Himalayan Black Salt. It consists of water, fresh lime juice and or sugar/salt but I also add a little crush black pepper and chaat masala into my Nimbu Pani. The basic recipe mentioned below allows you to make two glasses of nimbu pani, you just need to mix the ingredients together and add 400ml water. Sometimes Papu (my grandfather) would like to have it with soda or carbonated water for that fizzy factor. I prefer it without the fizz if I am honest.
Now, even though I say that I am hooked on the Margarita twist. Lets quickly understand what is needed to make a margarita, it is a cocktail that is made up of tequila, an orange liqueur (Cointreau or Triple Sec, etc), lime juice and salt. I will be sweetening this up with some sugar for that true Nimbu Pani taste and I have adjusted the quantities to get that authentic flavor even though there is alcohol in it. Ideally I like shaking this, serving it chilled over ice however I have made a blended version with ice and served it immediately as a slushy but that does mean its not really a margarita anymore.
This drink is usually served in a margarita glass that is elegant and very fancy but this is more of a Nimbu Pani drink than a margarita hence I served them in short glasses, use whatever you like and have. If you don’t want to use tequila you can used vodka but then its not a margarita any more. This can also be made with lemonade instead of limes but then its a lemonade and not limeade. If you don’t have the black salt you can use any fine salt to rim the glass. Chaat masala and pepper is essential for the nimbu pani flavor but you could use a pinch each of cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger powder, pepper powder and paprika powder.
It is a lovely refreshing cocktail that pairs well with grilled shrimps, tropical salads, Kachumbar (Indian chopped salad), wraps, tacos including but not limited to Baja fish tacos and Carne Asada tacos, ceviche among others. You could also serve it with some tandoori prawns and paneer, steamed green beans with a lentil salad and crab cakes or potato cakes.
Now that we have cleared all the major points, lets make some margaritas, click here to watch how I made it. Happy Cocktail Sunday Ninjas!
Nimbu Pani Margarita
- Margarita glasses
- 40 ml Lime juice fresh
- 5 gm Sugar
- 2.5 gm Black Salt plus more for the rim of the glass
- 2.5 gm Chaat Masala
- 2.5 gm Pepper powder
Nimbu Pani Margarita
- 90 ml Tequila
- 60 ml Triple Sec Orange Liqueur
- 8-9 Ice Cubes
- Black salt
- Lime wedges
- Mint leaves optional
- Mix Nimbu Pani ingredients together in a shaker and set aside for a few minutes.
- Add 4-5 cubes of ice, the tequila, triple sec and shake well.
- Get your serving glass and wipe the rim with wet cloth. Place the glass (rim side down) in a plate filled with salt. Rotate the glass until the rim is covered in salt.
- Add 2-3 cubes of ice into the glass and pour the cocktail mixture over.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
- To make nimbu pani without any alcohol don’t add the margarita ingredients and add 400 ml of water with 5-6 ice cubes instead. You could also do 200 water and 200 soda.
- Adjust the taste with more or less seasoning if needed.
- You can use Cointreau instead of triple sec.
- To make your own chaat masala, mix equal quantities of: cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger powder, pepper powder and paprika powder
- A little lime zest at the end on top could go a long way.