Monthly Archives: May 2014

Best International Summer Drinks To Beat The Heat Part 1

Well, the summer is upon us again and due to global warming or whatever, it feels hotter every year. The scorching heat is driving people insane as we seek solace in ice cold drinks to keep ourselves functioning. Everyone has their favourite drinks for summer, non-alcoholic drinks that can be consumed anywhere any time. In order to make things interesting and keep you refreshed a little bit more, let me introduce you to some cool summer drinks from around the world. Hope you enjoy them!

Lassi (India):  It is one of the most popular traditional summer drinks of India. Initially enjoyed only by the people of the state of Punjab, Lassi is now served in restaurant across India and it is prepared in many homes of India as well. This drink is made by mixing curd, water, sugar and ice together. Due to the curd the drink comes out quite thick and it is served chilled. Almonds, peanuts, butter and dry fruits are often added for extra flavour.

lassi

Roh or Sugarcane Juice (Pakistan): Sugarcane juice is very popular in the south-east Asian countries and it is considered the national drink of Pakistan. The juice is made by applying pressure to sugarcanes manually or via machines. In summer it is served with ice. Lemon, ginger, mint or black salt is often added to enhance the taste.

sugarcane juice

Ayran (Turkey): Ayran is the national non-alcoholic drink of Turkey. Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, water and salt. Thickness and saltiness of the drink varies from person to person. Apart from its chilled goodness to suppress the summer blues, Ayran is also considered very healthy as it can replenish sodium in the body very fast.

ayran

Chicha Morada (Peru): Apart from having a very attractive name, this Peruvian drink is super tasty and super refreshing as well. The base of the drink is Maiz Morado, a purple maize that is boiled with cinnamon, clove, quinces and pineapple until the drink is of deep purple color and the maize is soft.  

chicha morada

Frappe (Greece): Although Frappe is widely available and popular throughout the world, I am compelled to mention it in this list as the Greek were drinking Frappe much before the rest of the world took notice of it. For the uninitiated, it is iced coffee, or cold coffee as some like to call it. A great drink to have in the summer.

frappe

Žinčica (Slovakia): This Slovak drink is made from sheep milk and the best type of Žinčica is called Urda. Common types of Žinčica are either sour or salty. It is a highly regarded non-alcoholic summer drink in Slovakia.

zincica

Mugicha Tea (Japan): A popular summer refreshment drink in Japan, Mugicha Tea is made from kernels of Barley. Even though it is available in bottled form, there are some homes in Japan that still brew Mugicha Tea at home.

mugicha tea

Kvass (Russia): Kvass is a traditional Russian drink consumed in the summer. It is made by fermenting rye bread. Kvass is considered a non-alcoholic drink as the alcohol is in Kvass is often only 0.05 to 1%. Beet, plum, strawberry, raisin and mint is often added to enjoy different flavours of Kvass.

kvas

Agua Fresca (Mexico): Agua Fresca is a refreshing drink made from various fresh fruits and consumed all over Mexico. There are many types of Agua Fresca drinks depending on the fruits used such as Agua de Papaya, Agua de Jamaica, Agua de Fresa, Agua de Melón etc. The fruits are chopped and then blended to create a purée. The purée is mixed with water, sugar and lime juice and served chilled.

agua fresca

Pinolillo (Nicaragua & Costa Rica): It is a traditional drink enjoyed in these two countries round the year but it serves as a summer drink if served cold. Made from milk, water, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and white cornmeal, Pinolillo is so popular in Nicaragua that they call themselves Pinoleros.

pinolillo

Gluehwein (Germany): It is a Apple and Tea punch that requires apple juice, lemon juice, tea, orange juice, sugar, spices and even the orange peels. When the heated mixture is served with ice cubes, it can make you forget the heat right away.

gluehwein

Sorrel Punch (Jamaica): It is a beverage made from dried Hibiscus flowers, if this makes you a little suspicious about this drink, please do not worry. It is a very popular summer drink in the African countries that needs Hibiscus flower, sugar, water and gingerroot. The best thing about this drink is that when served chilled, it makes for a refreshing drink and if you add a dash of rum, it becomes a great party cocktail.

sorrel punch

Telba (Ethiopia): This Ethipian beverage is a creamy drink made from flaxseed, water and honey. Apart from a drink, Telba can be also served as a dessert. It is usually served chilled.

telba

Mote Con Huesillo (Chile): It is a traditional Chilean summer drink that contains no alcohol. It is made from wheat and dried peaches which is cooked in sugar/honey, water and cinnamon. The name of this drink comes from “Mote” the Chilean word for husked wheat.

Mote con huesillos

Lemonade Cordial (France): It is a non-alcoholic French drink made from lemon, mint, sugar and water. After mixing the lemon juice, water, mint and sugar,  it is boiled and simmered. After leaving overnight. the chilled drink is mixed with sparkling mineral water, ice cube and fresh mint before serving.

lemonade cordial

Virgin Orange Blossom (Belgium): It is a replacement for the Orange Blossom cocktail. Using lime soda as a base and mixing with orange juice and almond syrup, the drink is topped up with dry citrus notes and fizz to make up for the lack of hard drinks.

virgin orange blossom

Shirley Temple (Canada): Shirley Temple is available in many countries but the Canadian version is a bit different. It comes in a large glass with Orange juice, lemon-lime soda and grenadine. Have chilled Shirley Temple in the summer and say goodbye to your summertime blues.

shirley temple

Leche Merengada (Spain): Leche Merengada is a traditional Spanish drink that can be made at home or found at restaurants or bars. Made from milk, egg whites, cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar, the mixture of mile, cinnamon, lemon zest and and sugar is cooked and chilled. The milk white is whisked and added to the drink later. Leche Merengada is served chilled with Cinnamon garnish.

leche merengada

VÅR (Norway):

In a country where almost every citizen is a connoisseur of fine cocktails, it is hard to find quality non-alcoholic drinks.  Luckily, there is VÅR. The name VÅR means spring and it is made from fresh fruits and berries. VÅR is available in many flavors such as pineapple, cedar, pear and raspberry.

var

Saft (Sweden):

Saft is a traditional Swedish drink that is available in both homemade and commercial (bottled) forms. Sweden is known as the country of a thousand berries and each of these berries are available to be turned into a Saft flavor of choice. Saft is to be mixed with water or sparkled water and consumed cold for summertime fun.

Saft

Sima (Finland):

Sima is basically a type of Finnish lemon soda consumed during the month of May. It is made from yeast, dark brown sugar, water, granulated sugar, lemon juice and raisins. The brown sugar gives the drink a caramelized taste. It takes around 4 days to prepare this drink and it is served chilled.

Sima

Cuáker (Ecuador):

This is an oat based drink that is very popular in Ecuador and yes it borrows its name from the Quaker oats. This drink is made by boiling rolled oats, peeled pineapples, Cinnamon, water and sugar together. The mixture is then boiled or pureed and served cold during the summer.

cuaker

So there you go. Some of the traditional non-alcoholic drinks to try that originate from different parts of the world. You can try most of these recipes at home and even try your own twists to make them super tasty and refreshing. Enough reading, now it’s time to wait for the 2nd part of this post and indulge 🙂

General Elections In India Is Over – What Does The Future Hold?

Hello guys, I am posting after a long time. A lot has happened since my last post, we welcomed 2014, the hostile conditions in Syria continues, my post on how to drive safely while drunk (if you absolutely have to) got thrashed over the internet, the World Cup Football 2014 is about to start but most importantly, from India’s point of view, the general elections in India is over and we have got a verdict. It is the Bharatiya Janata Party that recorded a landslide victory and Narendra Modi, former chief minister of Gujarat, is all set to take the helm as the 17th prime minister of India.

election

indian citizens waiting to cast their votes

The 16th general elections in India was also the longest. It was the largest election in the world with 814.5 million eligible voters. This election also saw the highest voter turnout in Indian history at 66.38%. The verdict was out on 16th May and the results were crystal clear. For the first time after 1984 an Indian party touched the magic number of 272 seats, meaning for the first time in 30 years India is set to get a single party ruling without support.

narendra_modi

Narendra Modi

Now, many are ecstatic about Nerendra Modi becoming the prime minister as they feel Mr. Modi will be able to finally turn India into a country of the 21st century. Many are sceptical due to his radical Hindu extremism pasts and the 2002 riots. People change over time hence there is no denying that Mr. Modi might have changed as a leader and a person as well. But to what extent is this true? Has he really changed or has he just dawned the mask of secularism for election’s sake? Will the Muslims be safe under the BJP government? Is vibrant Gujarat a reality or a myth? Questions like these are bouncing around the media and the minds of the people and no easy answer is yet to come by.

If we, for an instant, assume that Mr. Modi has really changed as a person and mended his older ways, that would mean that the Muslim contingent in Gujarat are safe and happy at this moment. In fact that is the picture that has been painted over the last 3 or 4 months. The reality, however, is a little different.

During a recent study conducted by a leading newspaper of India, Muslims in Gujarat expressed their concerns over their real plights being overshadowed by manufactured news. The study revealed that even in premier cities like Ahmedabad, it is still very difficult for a Muslim to get a rented house. Muslim women are taunted, teased and abused at every opportunity hence many of them have been forced to leave their jobs. A Muslim NGO worker told the newspaper that the stories of vibrant of Gujarat were grossly over-hyped.

godhra riot

Fire of hatred – The Godhra Riot

Apart from his Godhra riot connections, a horrific massacre of human lives that took place in 2002, there are doubts over the financial solidity of Gujarat as well. Numerous Indians, both young and senior citizens, are almost worshipping Mr. Modi as a messiah of financial breakthrough, a healing force that will bring the reeling Indian economy on track just by his sheer presence. During the election campaign, the success of the “Gujarat model” and how Mr. Modi will use this same model to straighten up Indian economy have been reiterated again and again. There is, however, one small problem. India is not Gujarat. India is a collection of 32 states and 6 central territories, a country where each state has its own unique problems. If Mr. Modi or anybody for that matter believe that the “Gujarat Model” will work for the violence riddled north eastern states or the terrorism  burdened state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is difficult to vouch for their mental sanity.

gujarat children

Even Mr. Modi could not change this picture

Closely scrutinizing the “Gujarat Model” reveals that Mr. Modi an his government has given tremendous importance on the growth of business in the private sector. This has created a lot of job opportunities in the larger cities while the human resource index in the villages and remote areas keep dwindling. In terms of child health, nutrition, education and healthcare, Gujarat’s growth has been minimal.

Even after keeping all these negatives in mind, it cannot be denied that the people of India have spoken and they have chosen Mr. Narendra Modi and BJP as their leaders for the next 5 years. A government without support from the allies mean that it will never have its hands tied for the sake of keeping the government alive. Mr. Modi has got a great opportunity to prove his words right and his opponents’ wrong. One thing is for sure, if he tries to blindly implement the “Gujarat Model” everywhere or leads another manhunt against the Muslims, history will throw him away just like it has thrown the Indian National Congress away. Now it is time to wait and watch.