There is nothing better on a hot & humid day than a tall cool glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. It just really seems to hit the spot! But when you add a little exotic touch to this lovely glass of chilled lemonade, you get a heavenly Indian drink that is really out of this world ☺.
In India, chilled fruit beverages are known as sarbats/serbats. They are very cool, refreshing & always delicious – especially during the long hot summer months. We would enjoy these a lot as kids as a sweet escape from the hot sun, searing heat & overwhelming humidity. One of my absolute personal favorites was Gulab Limbu Pani or simply Rose Scented Lemonade. In Marathi, “gulab” means rose, “limbu” refers to lemon & “pani” is the word for water.
Now rose water is the fragrant clear distillate obtained from actual fresh rose petals when making rose oil. Rose water is used commonly throughout India as a flavoring agent in foods, especially in sweets & desserts. A little goes a long way, so a small bottle will last forever when stored in your refrigerator. Now don’t be confused with rose syrup, which is also rose water but with red food coloring & lots of sugar added – it’s fine for use in some drinks but for this recipe, stick to the pure rose water which can easily be found in any Indian or Middle Eastern store.
The addition of a little rose water adds a wonderful, subtle rose taste & slight floral fragrance to your lemonade. Do give this recipe a try soon, you will really love it ☺.
GULAB LIMBU PANI (Rose Scented Lemonade)
Serves 4-6 people easily
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-6 large lemons)
3-4 cups of cold water
2-4 tbsp rose water, to taste
a few drops rose extract (or rose essence)
a few edible rose petals for garnish
In a small saucepan on medium heat, add the water & sugar together. Stir well to dissolve the sugar & bring this mixture to a gentle simmer. This is known as a simple syrup. Then remove the sauce pan from the heat & allow to cool slightly.
In a large pitcher, combine the simple syrup with the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix well & add about 3-4 cups of cold water. The exact amount of water will depend upon your personal preference – if you plan to serve the rose lemonade over ice, I would use 3 cups of water so the flavor will not be diluted.
Then add the rose water & rose extract – remember, a little goes a long way so my recommendation would be to use it sparingly at first. Taste first & add more if you like. Mix well to combine & serve chilled over ice. Garnish with edible rose petals & enjoy ☺.
For a real crowd pleasing treat, add the edible rose petals to individual ice cube trays the night before. You can add rose petal ice cubes to your rose scented lemonade!
Instead of adding water, you can add club soda to make Sparkling Rose Scented Lemonade.