There are a few ways of making a doodh soda. All of them call for milk (“doodh” in Hindi and Urdu) and soda, and they’re often fun to watch.
One preparation method entails pouring boiling milk into a metal bucket that is twirled furiously in a container of ice water. Once chilled, it’s mixed with soda, whether that’s Sprite, Seven-Up, Thums Up (similar to Coke), or bright green Pakola. Other times, vendors pour the mixture rapidly from glass to glass with ice, aerating and smoothing out the final blend. Occasionally, they add a drizzle of hot pink Rooh Afza rose and fruit syrup. At home, though, simply mixing soda, milk, and a little sugar or honey in a glass does the trick.
While the mixture is now unusual in much of the world, milk with soda water was once considered a healthy, nutritious combination far and wide, especially in Victorian England. In some areas, the tradition continues. In the Punjab region of Pakistan and northern India, people consider Doodh soda healthier than just plain soda. It’s also a refreshing counterpoint to spicy food—like a light lassi.
The drink is especially prevalent during Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast from sunup to sundown. After a day without eating or drinking, the creaminess of the milk, plus the sugar and fizz of the soda, make for a particularly soothing beverage. Of course, the same could be said any day of the year.
Need to Know
Doodh soda is popular in the Punjab region, where it's sold at cafes and drink stands and is often a morning drink. Alternatively, making your own is pretty easy. More milk makes a creamier drink, while more soda makes a lighter variety.
Visit India with Atlas Obscura Trips
Northern India’s Colorful Cities, Villages, and Celebrations
Visit towering forts and palaces, explore local villages, experience Diwali with an Indian family, wander centuries-old ruins, learn to cook in a family home, and witness the sunrise over the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges on this immersive tour of Delhi, Rajasthan, and Varanasi.
Where to Try It
Balwant Singh's Eating House10/B, Harish Mukherjee Road, Behind Gurdwara, Kolkata, 700025, India
This Kolkata establishment is very well known for its doodh cola.