Pepper that Cocktail!

We have much to celebrate and even more to ponder this weekend, as many happenings converge. So pull up a chair and pour yourself a glass of this: nimbu pani, an Indian “lime and pepper refresher,” with recipe courtesy of Christine McFadden and her book, appropriately named, Pepper (wonderful book, and I can’t wait to try her recipe for homemade peppery truffles—yes, the chocolate kind). This simple drink is relished as a perfect antidote to hot weather. Though Jerry and I didn’t drink this nimbu pani in India and Sri Lanka, we downed myriad spice-infused beverages revolving around a sour/tart base. The combination quenches the thirst while cooling the body with a zippy kick.

Just four or five small-ish limes, a tablespoon or two of sugar, a pinch of salt, lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper, a bit of chilled water and ice—that’s all you need to serve two. Squeeze the limes, mix with the rest, pour over ice and top with water. Add more pepper if you like. This is one helluva zinger drink.

I served this to a couple of friends last week. Usually, when the four of us gather, we dive straight into a barrel of adult content—no non-alcoholic drinks in our little crowd. But I wanted them to savor this—and savor we did, smacking our lips at the hot limey goodness.

And then we got to thinking.

Tequila.

Oh yes.

Oh yes, yes, yes!

Add a jigger of tequila to the above recipe and you have what the four of us believe to be the best summer creation so far—perhaps of all time. So pull up that chair and take a swig.

Now, then, what are we celebrating? And pondering?

Saturday is the 65th birthday of Burma’s most famous lady, whose name is least uttered within her country. (She’ll spend the day in detention, as she has many birthdays before.) Sunday, in these parts, is Father’s Day. It’s also World Refugee Day. And Monday is the official start to summer, the Solstice. I’m not sure how these events need or need not intertwine for everyone. But I’ll raise my glass in praise of dads, and this wonderful universe that gives us summer every year. And I’ll wish for a world of calm, with peaceful homes and happy birthdays for all.

7 thoughts on “Pepper that Cocktail!

  1. It’s also my half-birthday.
    But I will raise a glass to The Lady, and to all of the Burmese who, unfortunately, needed to leave the country as refugees.

  2. Sounds delicious. One of my spicy favorites is lemon juice over ice with sweetner and Bengal Spice herbal teal Tea

  3. This little recipe is awesome – I’m currently quoting for ball where the menu has an Indian Theme – a little shooter like this between courses would really set the menu alight!

  4. Tequila. It never goes out of style! I finally got around to trying this eccentricity (adding pepper)- and wow great so cool! I will tried to convince my hispanic friends, but they looked at me disapprovingly… their loss!
    On another note, Karen, have you cooked with Tulsi (Holy Basil)? What an interesting herb- cooked it takes on such a different perhaps seductive flavor that doesn’t exist raw. Very tasty.

  5. drfillsfotos: You are right. It is their loss (more for you, then!). Yes, I’ve cooked quite a bit with holy basil, far more so while living in Asia. It adds a whole new dimension to stir-fries — it’s a simple addition that quickly jazzes up dinner without taking much time.

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