Masala soda, or ”nimbu masala soda,” is a lemon-flavored spiced soda popular in India in the summer. It is often served on the street. It is a refreshing treat during the hot, humid summers.
My mom has made this for many years. She typically uses Sprite or 7-up. I think any kind of a lemon-lime soda works great. It is so simple to put together, requiring only a few ingredients.
For this recipe, I tested a more traditional recipe of club soda, simple syrup, and chaat masala and compared it to my mom’s. Not only is my mom’s recipe easier, but it is tastier too! Her trick is to use a lemon-lime soda instead of club soda.
In the video, I use a craft lemon-lime soda, but mom’s Sprite always did the trick.
There are only two ingredients that are absolutely necessary to make masala soda. They are:
Lemon lime soda – you can substitute club soda, lemon, and a sweetener.
Chaat masala – a salty, tangy, and spicy mix that is a unique flavor, different from any spice mixture. It is made of black salt, amchur, black pepper, and cumin.
I find it really enhances the drink to add these ingredients:
Roasted cumin powder – fragrant, balanced the spiciness of the chaat masala
Lemon juice / Lime juice – for more of a lemonade-type sourness.
Black salt – added because the chaat masala (MDH) I was using didn’t have enough salty-sulfury taste for my preferences. A different chaat masala might not have needed this.
Mint – lemon and mint are a classic combination with a cooling effect. It also makes for a nice garnish on this drink.
Alternatively, You Can Use Club Soda
Many people make this drink with club soda instead of Lemon Lime soda. Tasting them side-by-side, I decided I had a clear preference for the lemon-lime soda version. If you prefer the club soda version, simply double the lemon juice, add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener, like date syrup or sugar, and use an equal amount of club soda in place of lemon-lime soda.
Making Ahead of Time
You can make this in a batch for a party, but remember that since it is a carbonated beverage, it will have a tendency to become flat. When serving this to guests, my mom always handled this by giving them cups with masala and ice in it and setting out a bottle of soda. That way, the soda was fresh and fully carbonated when her guests were ready to drink it.
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- ¼ tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 4-5 mint leaves
- 12 oz lemon-lime soda
- Pinch of black salt
- Mint leaves
- Put chaat masala, cumin powder, black salt, and lemon juice in a glass.
- Add ice cubes.
- Pour soda to fill the glass. Give it a gentle stir. Tear mint leaves and drop them over the top. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint.
To simplify the recipe, use only lemon-lime soda and up to 2 teaspoons of chaat masala.