For the lime soda:
juice of 2 limes (about 60ml)
¼ tsp sea salt
4–5 large ice cubes
200ml cold soda or water
3–4 tbsp lime or rose syrup (see below)

For the lime syrup:
200ml water
200g white sugar
pinch of sea salt
juice of 5 limes
1 small red chilli

For the rose syrup:
200ml water
200g white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 tbsp dried rose petals
juice of 4 limes
50ml good-quality rose water

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Proper Lime and Soda


Fresh lime juice and soda are sold everywhere on the streets of Sri Lanka – you stand and drink then return the plastic cup.

Sri Lankan limes are much smaller and harder than the ones you find in the UK, so taste this recipe as you go and adjust lime juice to taste. Here I’ve also included a variation using rose syrup. It goes very well with lamb Biryani (page 94).

First make the lime syrup. Combine the water, sugar and salt in a pan, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes on a low heat until the syrup thickens, stirring occasionally so as not to burn the edges. Then add the lime juice and whole red chilli and cook for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

To make the rose syrup, put the water, sugar, cinnamon and rose petals in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the lime juice and rose water and simmer for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool completely. At this point put a large glass in the fridge to chill.

Once cool, strain the syrup in a sieve. Get the cold glass from the fridge and add the lime soda ingredients plus the syrup of your choice. Stir and add a shot of your favourite spirit, if desired.