thandai recipes

4 Unique Thandai Recipes

Thandai is a popular and refreshing Indian beverage. It is a milk-based drink prepared with sugar and full-cream milk infused with nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs such as almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, pepper, cardamom, saffron, and those are only some flavors used in the recipes. The drink, also known as Sardai, is very popular, especially in North India, and traditionally served during the Holi festival. This Indian Spring festival celebrates the victory of good over evil.

Thandai recipes vary from place to place, and many times they are uniquely created for specific celebrations, but if we look at the base of all these different recipes, one common thing we might find is the thandai masala and milk. Adding to the spice blend different flavors, such as mango, tea, chocolate, vanilla, and various tropical fruits, allows one to create unique flavor combinations.

In some way, Thandai is very similar to masala chai minus the tea and is usually served cold over ice. If you mix the masala with water diluted yogurt, Ayran, we will be making Lassi.

In the end, these three famous Indian drinks, Thandai, Masala chai, and Lassi, have one thing in common, the masala spice mix. Once we know how to make the powdered spiced blend, we can use it, sometimes, as a base to make all three.
What goes in masala is up to a person’s taste and preferences. Still, the two main differences are adding seeds ( fennel, melon, sunflower, etc.) into the mix and making masala paste instead of masala powder in chai and Lassi.

One good thing about preparing masala powder in advance is, once it is ready, place it in an air-tight container and keep it for when needed.

One particular variation of Thandai is not for kids, called Bhang Thandai, and is very popular in India. It is a cannabis plant-based paste added to the rest of the ingredients, thus creating an experience associated with the effects of the THC.

I’m not sure if all Bhang^ is made from the marijuana variety. Still, according to the Hindu-English dictionary from 1866, bhang is derived from hemp variety of cannabis plant, which by definition has a lower content of THC. However, people, especially kids, should still be aware of that.

The recipes I posted below are the ones I came across in the last few years and found interesting enough to keep and share with you.
Some of the recipes have alcohol added to them.

Thandai Recipes

Tandai rose
Image as posted on

Rose Nariyal Thandai

1 oz vodka
3/4 oz coconut liqueur
2 cups coconut milk
shredded coconut, rose petals, rose water
2 tablespoons of sugar
skinned almonds and cashews
Seeds: green cardamom, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, coriander


1. Soak dry fruits and seeds in rose water for two days prior to preparing this drink
2. Grind into a fine paste and add in rose petals, desiccated coconut, saffron, and cardamom 
3. Muddle the paste with coconut milk, or use a blender
4. Shake the syrup with vodka, liqueur, and ice
5. Serve it cool with rose petals and coconut flakes
Note: The number of seeds will depend on personal taste.

The recipe was created by Grand Hyatt Goa, and posted on

The Thandai drink, regardless of the masala blend, whether powder or paste, allows one to add any additional flavors, to create genuinely refreshing or Thandai/Cooling enjoyment during these hot afternoons, not just in India but anywhere you are.
This video recipe was posted by hebbarskitchen in which they are making three different flavored Thandai;

  • traditional Thandai mix paste
  • Mango Thandai
  • Paan Thandai

The following recipes are based on the traditional and the mango thandai, only for adults, as I added some alcohol.

Thandai Masala Paste

Ingredients for thandai masala paste:

¼ cup almond blanched
2 tbsp pistachios
¼ cup cashew
¼ cup melon seeds
½ tbsp pepper
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp fennel
8 pod cardamom
¼ tsp saffron
3 tbsp rose petals dried
1½ cup water for soaking

To make thandai masala paste:

Add in a large bowl:

1. ¼ cup almond, 2 tbsp pistachios, ¼ cup cashew, ¼ cup melon seeds, and ½ tbsp pepper, 2 tbsp seeds, 2 tbsp fennel,
8 pods cardamom, ¼ tsp saffron, and 3 tbsp rose petals.
2. Add 1½ cup water and soak for 6 hours. if you are in hurry then soak for 1 hour in hot water.
3. After 6 hours of soaking, you can see the dry fruits are soaked well.
4. Transfer the soaked dry fruits into the mix along with the water.
5. Blend to a very smooth paste. thandai masala paste is ready.

Gin Thandai

2 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
1/2 teaspoon of thandai masala paste
1 teaspoon of honey or sugar
2 1/2 oz cold milk
dry fruits and dried rose petals.
Blend everything with ice and pour into a tall chilled glass. Garnish with dry fruits and dried rose petals.
Note: Second serving option is to shake everything with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with dried rose petals.

Bourbon Mango Thandai

1 1/2 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon thandai masala paste
1 chopped mango – I usually use the Ataulfo variety
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 1/2 oz cold milk
Blend everything with ice and pour into a chilled tall glass. Garnish with dried fruits and dried rose petals.

Yield: 4

Thandai Cocktail

Based on traditional Indian thandai recipe, with some kick to it.


  • 100 g raisins
  • 2 tablespoons anise
  • 600 g fresh milk
  • 400 g water,
  • 35 g ground pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 tablespoons honey or 5 tablespoons sugar


  • 2 oz Bombay Saphire


To make thadai masala:

Fill a container with warm water and leave the raisins to soak for 10 minutes, and drain them from the water.

Bring 500 g/2 cups of water to a boil, add the anise and cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Mix the ground pistachios, squeezed raisins, cardamom, and milk, beat with a mixer. Strain the aniseed water and dissolve the honey in it. 

Add it to the milk, stir and cool. If you don't want to mix it with alcohol, you are done.

Serve in highball cups garnished with mint or mint leaves.

To make a cocktail:

Add 2 oz of Bombay Saphire to the thandai mixture. Shake for about 15 seconds with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass - or for a long drink pour into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with Saffron treads.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 2gSugar: 48gProtein: 8g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Feature image by Photo by Prachi Palwe on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “4 Unique Thandai Recipes”

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