With a climate as varied and extreme as India, the people require a myriad of options to keep their thirst appropriately quenched according to the weather conditions, varying from steaming hot drinks during winters to frosty cold drinks in summers. Different regions in the country serve drinks made with an eclectic assortment of ingredients including local spices, flavors and herbs. Available on the streets, as well as on the menus of posh hotels, these drinks add to the flavorful cuisine of India.
Consumption statistics by drink type
This is the consumption of drinks per capita per year in India in 2021 by drink type excluding water and juices.
Ambil or Ambli – prepared by using ragi flour and buttermilk, Maharashtra and Karnataka
Buttermilk – Lassi or Laasi in North India, chhachh or Chaas or Chaah in North India, mor in Tamil, majjiga in Telugu, majjige in Kannada, and taak in Marathi
Chai with cream – prepared using dry or fresh variants of tea, often has hints of cardamom (elaichi), cinnamon (dalchini) or a mixture of spices, which constitute the special masala chai, taken especially during the cold to keep the winter-related problems at bay
Lassi – a popular, traditional, yogurt-based drink from Northern India. It is a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit.
Traditional lassi (a.k.a., "salted lassi", or simply "lassi") is a savoury drink, sometimes flavoured with ground and roasted cumin.
Sweet lassi, however, contains sugar or fruits, instead of spices. Banarasi Lassi: Varanasi, one of the prominent cities of Bhojpur region is known for special variation of Lassi, popularly known as Banarasi Lassi'. The Curd for Banarasi Lassi is made with reduced milk which gives it a creamy & thick texture. It is then sweetened, churned and served with generous blob of Rabdi in earthern pots called Kulhads.
Traditional Banarasi Lassi in a Kulhad
Sharjah Shake – A sweet, cold beverage made from milk, Horlicks/other malt powders and njalipoovan. Sometimes, ice cream, cocoa powder or nuts may be added.