‘World Lemonade Day, it’s very hot today, those bottles beg to be used, or just I am thirsty’ – any of these excuses are good to whip up some special drinks to quench! When I have the added onerous responsibility to shake up a mock tail, for a contest, I’ve got my perfect excuse to make this delightful refresher.
In traditional medicine, Aloe Vera is considered a miracle plant. The gel inside the succulent leaf is said to be able to cure several skin problems from acne, to burns, to psoriasis. It is said to have anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Used both as a topical application as well as drunk for internal healing, aloe vera is used for ‘cooling’ the body too. However, modern medicine (read allopathy) is still cautious on the miraculous healing properties of aloe vera. A fear of toxicity when ingested in high levels also seem to be implicated. However, studies by some doctors have found benefits from using aloe vera for healing burns.
I have a pot of aloe vera growing in my balcony garden. I wanted to use those beautiful green leaves in a drink and check for myself. To offset the bitter flavour notes in Aloe vera, I plucked some fresh lemon grass stalks from another pot, and infused the drink with that as well. Here is what I whipped up. This lemonade was so refreshing (did I say that already?). I felt it helped to calm the hyperacidity I was experiencing last evening too. Have I given you enough excuse to try it out?
Here is what you need -
Does NOT contain gluten, dairy, soya,corn, peanuts, other tree nuts.
Preparation time – 10 minutes, Cooking time – 3 minutes, Serves – 2
Small saucepan, mixer/blender, scissors, knife, lemon squeezer, 2 glasses/bottles of 200 ml each.
- 1 good sized succulent aloe vera stalk
- 2 Lemons
- 3 fresh stalks of lemon grass
- 3 tbsp sugar
- Fresh drinking water – 1/2 cup
- Himalayan sparkling water – 300 ml
- Few ice cubes
- Rinse the aloe vera leaf, cut in half. Trim the green outer part of the leaf, retain the transparent inner gel part. Here is a picture tutorial on how to trim an aloe leaf. Place the gel in a blender and whip to frothy smooth liquid. No need to add water here. Set aside in the blender jar.
- Rinse the lemon grass stalks, snip it into tiny pieces, place in sauce pan with measured sugar and water and bring to boil. Once it has reached a boil, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes.
- Slice out a few thin lemon slices for garnish. Keep aside. Squeeze the rest of the lemons into the blender jar. Strain the lemon grass scented sugar syrup into the blender. Add a few cubes of ice. Shake, blend. Anything. Your choice.
- Divide between two glasses. Top with chilled Himalayan sparkling water. Add the sliced lemon garnish. Serve right away. Perfect for warm weekends. Do not want to share? Good. Just glug it all down.
- I have just squeezed the lemons into the drink instead of muddling them since aloe vera has bitter notes to it. Muddling the lemons will add to the bitterness. We only want the tang from the lemon in this drink.
- The freshness of the Himalayan Sparkling water aided the zingy citrus flavours of the drink. I have often been disappointed with a metallic taste found in several club sodas. I was glad to note that there was no metallic overtones / unpleasant mouth feel from this water which may have warped the drink’s flavour.