[Photo Source/Thasneen.com]

by Sarah Yusuf – Follow @SarahYWrites

Valentine’s Day can either be the bane of your existence or a super romantic day with your boo. Regardless if you celebrate with your friends or your significant other, here are drinks for the occasion everyone can enjoy.

There are two different recipes below, one alcoholic and an alternative non-alcoholic option. They’re both Rooh Afza based and are so refreshing!

Rooh Afza is a staple of Muslim and South Asian cuisine. It can bring back amazing memories from childhood and hot summers back in the motherland. You can find a bottle of Rooh Afza at your local desi supermarket or online. It’s recommended that you store it in a refrigerator to keep ants away and preserve it for a long time. A bottle of Rooh Afza properly stored in the fridge will last months, but it tastes best when fresh.

[Read Related: Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day With This Chicken Tikka and Curry-Lime Pizza]

The first recipe is for a Rooh Afza citrus spritzer. You can replace the plain club soda with regular water, lemon or orange sparkling water.

I created the other cocktail a few weeks ago. I named it the “Pink Fort,” after the Ahsan Manzil. The drink has a light pink color matching the palace’s pink exterior and harkens to our desi roots. To be honest, this recipe is just a fancier, alcoholic version of the Rooh Afza milkshake.

The “Pink Fort” uses basil seeds (or tukmaria) as a garnish. You can find it at local grocery stores, health food stores or the desi supermarket. Of course, you can always order it online. The cocktail calls for whole milk, but you can use any milk you like. Add fat-free milk to keep things light, or go all out with half-n-half or heavy cream for a creamier drink. It helps to use a martini shaker with a cocktail strainer to mix it. If you don’t have one, then a clean, strong jar with a good lid and a regular thin mesh strainer will work just fine.

          [Photo Source: TheSpiceAdventuress.com]
Feel free to try out both recipes and tag Brown Girl Magazine in any pictures you post about them on social media! Whether you’re indulging in self-love or giving love to someone you care about, try one of these Rooh Afza based drink this Valentine’s Day!

Rooh Afza Citrus Spritzer

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups plain club soda
  • 8 tbsp Rooh Afza
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Sugar as needed

Instructions:

  1. Microwave the Rooh Afza in a saucer for 10 seconds if it’s cold or too viscous. Add to pitcher of club soda, and stir until evenly dissolved
  2. Stir in lemon and orange juice.
  3. Add sugar to achieve desired sweetness.
  4. Pour contents over ice when serving in a cup.
  5. Sip and enjoy. Served 6-8 people. 

“Pink Fort” 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp basil seeds
  • 2 tbsp Rooh Afza
  • 1.5 shots Ciroc (or any plain vodka you like)
  • 1 shot whole milk
  • ½ shot simple syrup
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Instructions:

  1. 30 minutes before making the drink, soak basil seeds in water.
  2. Vigorously shake alcohol, milk, syrup, Rooh Afza and ice cubes until evenly mixed. Add more Rooh Afza if you want a darker pink color, and take out simple syrup if drink is too sweet.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass (or any chilled cup of your choice). Make sure there are no large chunks of ice or curdled milk in your cup by straining well.
  4. By now, the basil seeds should have puffed up. Spoon them out, and use as a garnish.
  5. Sip and enjoy. Serves 1 person.

 Sarah Yusuf is a student, writer, artist, and dreamer.