Indian summers are synonymous with blazing heat which explains our quest for all things chilled and refreshing is never-ending, especially during these days. We love drinking smoothies and shakes to keep us hydrated, but doe they come close to beat the classic coolers like gulab sherbet, lassi, jaljeera that have been an indispensable part of our households? I think not. And surely our beloved Shikanji is also one of these legendary drinks which has been our savior since time immemorial. Shikanji is a lemon-based drink believed to have been originated in the northern parts of India also known as shikanjbi, shikanjvi and shikanjbeen. You may call it a close cousin of nimbu paani. And, you are not entirely wrong. It indeed shares an uncanny resemblance, but it is slighty different. 

Nimbu paani is basically made from three ingredients- water, lemon and sugar. While Shikanji is a concoction of various ingredients like lemon, salt, saffron, cumin, pepper, mint and various other spices and herbs. This refreshing drink has its own variations across the country. In Delhi, where I live, they are typically sold on handcarts with shikanji machines — tall cylindrical vessels, often wrapped in red cotton cloth. Inside the vessel lies a steel jar filled with the spice-infused drink that is topped layers of salted crushed ice, which the vendor then serves with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a few spriggs of fresh mint leaves.

You can also make this shikanji at home with few ingredients and can treat yourself with this refreshing beverage that is just apt for this summer season.


• 1 medium size lemon

• 2 glasses water

• 1 tsp roasted cumin (Jeera) powder

• Rock salt or black salt as per taste

• Sugar as per taste

• 2 to 3 mint leaves

• Ice cubes

Preparing Shikanji

1. Take a bowl and add water.

2. Squeeze Lemon directly into the water. Make sure to remove the seeds.

3. Then add salt, sugar and Jeera in the mixture.

4. Stir it well until the sugar dissolves.

5. Add ice cubes in a glass and pour the Shikanji into it. Then garnish it with mint leaves.

That’s it, your homemade shikanji is ready to quench your thirst.