The summer is upon us, and as the scorching heat gets unbearable by the day, we turn to our old compadres like Shikanji and Sharbats to get us through. Shinkanji is an Indian summer cooler that is known by various names such as Shikanjvi or Shikanjbeen. Although it looks a lot like lemonade, but it is distinct in terms of the ingredients used. Shikanji is not a sweet drink, instead, it boasts of a special Shikanji Masala comprising cumin, salt, and even saffron. It is easily available across most North Indian neighborhoods. Typically, to make a glass a glass of Shikanji, two lemons are squeezed into the glass for the juice, then a chunk of ginger, some sugar, salt and pepper go in quick succession. Post which water or soda is added. But of course, this is only a common way of making Shikanji, love the years, people have given the drink their own spin. Many like to add pudina or mint leaves to their glass of Shikanji too, but this street food vendor’s Rose Kulhad Shikanji has our heart for its striking colour and appearance.

In this video by the food blogging page @cadeltales, which has collected more than 815k views, we see a range of Kulhads neatly stacked together. For the uninitiated, Kulhad is a traditional Indian cup made of clay. These clay cups are generally used to serve tea, but with the advent of plastic cups and glassware, ‘Kulhads’ started losing relevance in modern India, but it seems like the Kulhads are coming back in vogue. With dishes Kulhad Pizza and Kulhad Momos, these cups are becoming quite a statement piece.  

Coming back to the Rose Shikanji of Vardaan Market, Camac Street Kolkata. To make the summer cooler, the vendor grabs a clean Kulhad and adds lemon juice, and lots of crushed ice, followed by the tangy and salty ‘Shikanji masala’. Then he adds the rose syrup, which gives the drink its shocking pink colour. Finally, he opens the bottle of soda and pours it straight into the clay cup and serves it chilled with a straw.

“Drooling”, “I want”, were some of the comments we spotted. The drink also drew flak from some. A user wrote in Hindi, that adding everything to a Kulhad, doesn’t make it taste good.  

What are your thoughts on the Rose Kulhad Shikanji? Do let us know.