Ultimate Guide to Making Shikanji Indian Lemonade: Tips & Tricks

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine a sweltering summer day in India, where the sun beats down relentlessly. There’s nothing quite like a chilled glass of Shikanji to cut through the heat. This traditional Indian lemonade isn’t just a drink; it’s a burst of refreshment that revives your spirit. Known for its tangy kick and sweet undertones, Shikanji is a beloved staple in Indian households, often homemade with a recipe passed down through generations.

You might be wondering what sets Shikanji apart from the typical lemonade. It’s the unique blend of spices, like roasted cumin and black salt, that transforms simple lemon water into a symphony of flavors. Each sip offers a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour, making it not only a drink but an experience. Whether you’re looking to escape the heat or simply enjoy a taste of Indian culture, Shikanji promises a delightful adventure for your taste buds. Ready to give it a try?


To craft your own traditional Shikanji, start with these essential ingredients, followed by some optional add-ins to customize it to your taste.

Essential Ingredients

  • Water: 4 cups (cold or room temperature)
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice: from about 4 to 6 medium lemons
  • Sugar: 1/2 cup, adjust according to your sweetness preference
  • Roasted cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Black salt (Kala Namak): 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt: a pinch to balance the flavors
  • Ice cubes (for serving)
  • Mint leaves: A handful of fresh mint leaves for a refreshing flavor.
  • Ginger: 1 inch, grated, for a spicy kick.
  • Club soda: Replace half of the water with club soda for a fizzy version.
  • Lime slices: For garnish and added citrusy zest.

Tools and Equipment

To prepare Shikanji, a deliciously reinvigorating Indian lemon anade that calls for a balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors, you’ll need a few basic kitchen tools. Here’s a list of equipment to gather before you begin:

  • Juicer: You’ll need a juicer to efficiently extract the maximum amount of lemon juice. A hand-held juicer works well, but an electric juicer can make the process quicker if you’re preparing a large batch.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Ensure your Shikanji has the perfect balance of flavor by precisely measuring your ingredients. This will help you adhere to the recipe’s specific ratios of water, sugar, lemon juice, and spices.
  • Mixing Spoon or Whisk: After measuring your ingredients, a spoon or whisk will be essential for stirring. This ensures the sugar and spices are thoroughly dissolved and evenly distributed throughout the beverage.
  • Pitcher or Large Bowl: Opt for a large pitcher or bowl to mix your Shikanji. This will make it easier to serve and transport for chilling in the refrigerator.
  • Glasses: Serve Shikanji in glasses that can accommodate this refreshing beverage along with any added ice cubes or garnishes like mint leaves and lime slices.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer (Optional): If you prefer your lemonade without pulp or any undissolved spices, use a strainer while transferring the drink from the mixing bowl to the serving pitcher.

Gathering these tools beforehand will streamline your preparation process, making it easy and enjoyable to whip up this traditional Indian thirst-quencher.


Ready to create your own refreshing Shikanji? Follow these step-by-step instructions to blend the perfect Indian lemonade.

Making the Sugar Syrup

  1. Begin by combining 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the sugar completely dissolves. This step should take about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Once the mixture reaches a simmer, remove the pan from the heat. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature before using it in your lemonade mix.

Making Shikanji Lemonade

  1. Start by juicing enough lemons to get approximately 1 cup of lemon juice—usually about 4-6 medium lemons.
  2. Pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice into a large pitcher.
  3. Add the cooled sugar syrup to the pitcher along with 4 cups of cold water.
  4. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of roasted cumin powder and 1/4 teaspoon of black salt to infuse the distinct Shikanji flavor.
  5. If desired, enhance the lemonade by adding freshly chopped mint leaves or a few slices of ginger for an extra zing.
  6. Mix thoroughly using a long spoon or whisk until all the elements are well combined.
  7. Taste and adjust the sweetness or tartness by adding more sugar syrup or lemon juice if needed.
  8. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator or serve immediately over ice in glasses for a refreshing treat.

Serving Suggestions

After mastering the art of making Shikanji, the next step is to serve it in a way that enhances its refreshing and vibrant character.

Glassware and Garnishes

Choose a tall glass to serve your Shikanji. This not only allows more room for ice but also makes the drink visually appealing. A glass with a wide brim is recommended, as it helps in releasing the drink’s aromatic flavors, enhancing your sensory experience. Garnish plays a crucial role in elevating the overall appeal of your Shikanji. Add a slice of lemon on the rim of the glass and a sprig of mint on top. The mint adds a fresh aroma which complements the tangy lemon flavor beautifully. For an extra touch of elegance, sprinkle a small pinch of roasted cumin powder over the drink just before serving.

Adjusting Sweetness and Flavor

The beauty of homemade Shikanji lies in the ability to adjust it to your personal taste. Start by tasting the prepared mixture before serving. If it’s too tart, add a little more sugar syrup. If it’s too sweet, a few drops of additional lemon juice can balance it out. Remember, the flavors will slightly dilate once the ice begins to melt, so consider this when adjusting your flavors. For those who enjoy a bit of spice, a pinch of black salt or roasted cumin can add an exciting twist to the classic lemonade.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Preparing Shikanji in advance can enhance its flavors, allowing the spices to meld beautifully. Here’s how you can store it and understand its shelf life for optimal freshness.

How to Store

To store Shikanji, first ensure it’s cooled to room temperature if you’ve used hot water to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the lemonade into a clean, airtight glass container or pitcher. If you have added fresh ingredients like mint leaves or ginger, remove them before storing to prevent over-infusion and a possible bitter taste. Seal the container tightly to maintain freshness and prevent any absorption of odors from the refrigerator. Always use a clean spoon to serve the Shikanji to keep it fresh longer.

Shelf Life

Shikanji can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days when stored properly. The quality of the lemonade can begin to diminish after this period as the fresh lemon juice loses its vibrant flavor and the sugar may start to crystallize. It’s best enjoyed within the first 48 hours after making, as this is when the flavors are most potent and refreshing. Remember, the addition of fresh ingredients like herbs or zest may shorten the storage life of the lemonade because these components tend to degrade faster.


So now that you’ve got the scoop on crafting the perfect Shikanji why not give it a try? Whether you’re looking to refresh yourself on a hot day or add a unique twist to your next gathering this Indian lemonade is sure to impress. Remember to make it ahead of time for those flavors to truly come alive and keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve. Enjoy the zest and zing of Shikanji as you sip your way to coolness!

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