Best Thandai Brands In India – Must Try Holi Special Drink
Seven contenders, one winner- who takes the title of the Best Thandai Brand in India?
How does this milk-based beverage get its name? Prepared with naturally cooling ingredients like nuts, poppy seeds, and spices, Thandai is a MUST-HAVE during Holi, Maha Shivratri, and all summer long!
We ordered ready-to-use Thandai syrups from seven renowned brands, and the title of the Best Thandai Brand in India goes to…
Our Review Factors
What were we looking for?: This section discusses all vital factors that make a glass of great tasting Thandai from the brands of thandai in India we reviewed.
A glass bottle adds a touch of premium. Is the bottle simply placed in a carton? Are there cardboard slots holding the bottle in place? Bubble wrap, double packed?
Are the labels easy to read?
2. Main Ingredients
Rose petals, poppy seeds, nuts, saffron, fennel seeds, and milk and sugar are typically used when thandai is prepared at home.
How many of these could we spot on the ingredient lists? What about added colors and flavors?
We were looking for a ready-to-use Thandai syrup that imparts a refreshing taste with a well-rounded sweetness.
Which Thandai syrup tastes impeccable after mixing with milk?
Does the flavor of all ingredients shine through equally?
Are the flavors intense, or do they feel subdued? How boldly did the spices and aromatics make their presence felt?
Do the taste and flavors match the aroma?
How fresh a whiff does one get upon opening, mixing, and drinking?
The consistency was recorded in two stages- before and after mixing in milk. Easy mixability or demanding efforts, how was our experience with these seven brands?
7. Nutritional Information
Thandai is typically rich in carbohydrates as compared to the other macronutrients (fats and proteins)
100 ml of Thandai syrup would provide anywhere between 250-350 Kcal with 65-80 grams of carbohydrates, 1-1.5 grams of protein, and 1-2 grams of fats.
Our contenders range from Rs 290 to Rs 550/-.
The price varies based on net quantity, quality of ingredients used, packaging, etc.
9. Shelf Life
Thandai syrups have a shelf life of anywhere between 6-12 months.
Best Thandai Syrup Brands in India – Detailed Review
Let’s get into the details: The aroma, consistency, appearance, and taste of all seven contenders have been shared in detail in this section.
Here’s a quick insight into our review process. It starts with scrutinizing the ingredient list (we’re always in for a surprise)
This is followed by observing and recording details on appearance, aroma, consistency, mixability, taste, and others.
For our Best Thandai Syrup Brands in India, we performed two tasting rounds. After the first, the tasters had their top three chosen, which were then re-tasted, and then we announced the definite favorite as our Top Pick.
1. Gulabs Thandai Syrup
The price of 500 ml Gulab’s Thandai syrup is Rs 375/-. The top 5 main ingredients are: sugar, water, rose petal jam, almonds and dried watermelon seeds.
This features an eco-friendly brown carton plus glass bottle packaging. The recommended ratio is 1 part syrup to 5 parts milk (20 ml to 100 ml)
Gulabs also mentions their syrup can be used as a dessert/ice cream topping too.
Visually, this is a smooth, flowy syrup. We couldn’t really see any ingredients as the mix had been blended. The rose petal jam lent the most prominent aroma.
The thandai syrup mixed effortlessly in milk and imparted a visually appealing hue. Almost milky white with a tinge of green. Thumbs up for this, as it contains no added colors.
The crushed nut bits add a homestyle texture to the beverage. We liked this. REFRESHING! The taste and aroma are both tempting.
The sweetness is well-rounded, and there’s a desirable pepper flavor. Not too intense, not too subtle. The flavor profile of this ready-to-use syrup came closest to that of homemade Thandai.
Mishry Rating – 5/5
- Thumbs up for the eco-friendly packaging!
- This contains no preservatives, and added colors.
- It can be used as a dessert topping.
- We appreciate the smooth, flowy consistency.
- We liked an interplay of textures due to crushed nuts.
- This tastes super refreshing!
- Balanced sweetness and we could make out the ingredients.
- Overall, very homestyle taste and aroma.
Best Suited For
Craving thandai but can’t go through the preparation process? Gulabs Thandai Syrup is as close as it gets to the homemade variant.
2. Bikano Kesaria Thandai
The price of 1 Kg Bikano Kesaria Thandai is Rs 290/-. The top 5 main ingredients are sugar, water, liquid glucose, almonds and watermelon seeds.
Offered in PET bottles, Bikano Kesaria Thandai had a flowy batter-like consistency. This wasn’t smooth but had granules that we think were lumps of powdered sugar.
Specs of black pepper and average-sized saffron strands were visible. It emitted a subtle aroma of the spices used, khus khus predominantly.
1 part syrup to 4 parts water/pre-boiled milk with ice cubes is the recommended proportion, and we prepared this Thandai accordingly.
Though mixing requires some effort, the lumps had dissolved completely.
This had a light saffron appearance that resembled that of masala milk. Safe to say, mixing this Thandai syrup with milk worked in its favor. The aroma was more prominent and inviting.
The Thandai tasted pretty good. Quite refreshing, perfectly sweet, and showcased a mild and delicious flavor of saffron. The slight peppery kick tied these together.
Mishry Rating – 4/5
- Completely lump-free after mixing.
- The color is pleasing.
- This thandai syrup tastes quite good.
- It has a refreshing aroma.
- The sweetness is balanced.
- This is very reasonably priced (1 kg for Rs 290/-)
- The flavors of saffron and black pepper were mild.
- It is sweetened with sucrose and liquid glucose and contains synthetic colors.
- It also contains sodium benzoate that we wouldn’t otherwise add to thandai.
Best Suited For
Looking for a budget-friendly buy? We recommend Bikano’s Thandai syrup.
3. Urban Platter Kesaria Thandai Syrup
The price of 500 ml Urban Platter Kesaria Thandai syrup is Rs 550/-. The top 5 main ingredients are sugar, water, khus khus, almonds, rose petals and cardamom.
Urban Platter Thandai is packed in a glass bottle. A similar 1:4 ratio has been suggested.
Visually, this was thick but flowy and had an olive green appearance. It had a FRESH aroma that was dominated by rose and fennel seeds. There was an inviting sweetness that laced the aroma.
Thumbs up on how easily it mixed in milk. Adding milk lightened the appearance, and our Thandai had a pastel, pista green look.
The sweetness was on the higher side. However, this was quite delicious! The black pepper heat hits right at the back of the throat. We could make out the fennel seeds. They imparted a subtle but appreciable flavor. The minutely crushed nuts add a nice bite to the beverage. Overall, this was refreshing.
Main Ingredients- 3/5
Mishry Rating – 4/5
- This looked appetizing.
- The rose and fennel seed aroma was desirable.
- Full marks on mixability!
- We could taste all the ingredients.
- The crushed nuts add a nice texture.
- This tastes refreshing.
- This is priced quite steeply.
Best Suited For
If you don’t mind the occasional splurge, Urban Platter’s Thandai Syrup is the one you should go for.
4. Gopaljee Kesaria Thandai Fruit Syrup
The price of 750 ml Gopaljee Kesaria Thandai fruit syrup is Rs 325/-. The top 5 main ingredients are sugar, water, khus khus, almonds, and cucumber seeds.
Gopaljee Thandai is packed in a glass bottle. Since this calls itself a ‘fruit syrup’ we were quite intrigued. The brand offers a PET bottle with the pack.
It features a deep amber appearance and a somewhat thinned-down consistency. It had a bold rose fragrance with subtle notes of saffron. The aroma was intense to the extent that it felt undesirable. Saffron strands were visible sparingly.
20 ml syrup with 80 ml milk, the brand recommends a 1:4 ratio.
Mixing the syrup with milk did not impact its aroma significantly. It was still predominantly rose-like and overwhelming. The taste is just like the aroma, led by rose. But it feels too synthetic and artificial.
However, surprisingly, it is slightly bitter. This bitterness transfers to the aftertaste as well.
Mishry Rating – 3/5
- The consistency is quite watery.
- We found the aroma to be overwhelming.
- It had a synthetic rose flavor.
- The bitter aftertaste was disappointing.
5. Haldiram’s Kesaria Thandai
The price of 750 ml Haldiram’s Kesaria Thandai is Rs 310/-. The top 5 main ingredients are sugar, water, khus khus, almonds, and watermelon seeds.
The glass bottle is placed inside a carton. Haldiram’s Thandai cannot really be called a ‘syrup’ as it had more of thick paste-like consistency. The fluid was flowy, but it was quite dense. We could see some saffron strands too.
The brand recommends mixing one part syrup with four parts of chilled milk.
We measured and added the syrup and milk to find that mixing was a task. This wasn’t a surprise, owing to the original consistency of the syrup.
Once it was seamless, our ready-to-relish Haldiram Thandai had an appetizing, light saffron appearance, more towards a pale yellow.
The overwhelming saffron aroma was too strong for our liking. It was laced with whiffs of kewra.
Taste-wise, this Thandai was way too sweet. The flavors of saffron and kewra were overpowering too. Towards the end, we could taste subtle notes of black pepper. Overall, the sweetness from sugar had overshadowed all other ingredients.
Mishry Rating – 3/5
- This is packed decently.
- Saffron has been added generously.
- Visually appealing once mixed in milk.
- The saffron aroma is overwhelming.
- This is overly sweet.
- Mixing was a task.
- In addition to the acidity regulator, the brand also uses synthetic food colors.
6. Dhampur Green Kesari Badam Thandai
The price of 750 ml Dhampur Green Kesari Thandai is Rs 499/-. The top 5 main ingredients are sugar, water, badam, elaichi, saunf, and kesar.
Dhampur Green Kesari Thandai comes in a glass bottle. The deep olive green appearance explains why it is labeled ‘Green’ Kesari Thandai.
An unappetizing aroma was observed. No one ingredient could be identified at this stage.
Following the 1:4 ratio as the brand recommends, this Thandai syrup mixed seamlessly.
Corroborating the ‘Green’ Thandai claim, this had a light pista green appearance. Surprisingly, the aroma turned inviting, but we still couldn’t make out the individual ingredients by a whiff.
The primary taste here was sweet. Too SWEET. This Thandai is sweet to the point where all you can taste is sugar. An exceptionally mild flavor of black pepper was sensed by one of our reviewers.
Main Ingredients- 3/5
Mishry Rating – 3/5
- The ‘green’ thandai claim is delivered as promised.
- It mixes in milk easily.
- The initial aroma was off-putting.
- The only taste this had was of sugar.
7. Guruji Kesharia Thandai Dry Fruit Syrup
The price of 750 ml Guruji Kesharia Thandai Dry Fruit syrup is Rs 300/-. The top 5 main ingredients are sugar, water, badam, rose water, and magaz.
A glass bottle is placed inside a golden brown carton. This looks premium.
It is a 750 ml bottle that prepares 25 glasses of thandai. Therefore, the suggested ratio is 1 part syrup to 2.2-2.5 parts of milk with ice cubes.
This is a deep amber-colored syrup with a luscious, smooth, and thick consistency. It is flowy and not lumpy.
The aroma felt a bit artificial as we whiffed some nuttiness, a floral khus khus-like aroma. This was quite easy to mix into the milk, no complaints here.
Once prepared, saffron took the front seat, in terms of aroma. Like a few other contenders, Guruji Thandai was overpoweringly sweet. Saffron has been added abundantly, resulting in a dominant taste and appearance of the same. The flavor of pepper could barely be tasted.
Mishry Rating – 1/5
- This features premium-looking packaging.
- Lump-free consistency and mixes easily.
- The aroma didn’t feel natural.
- This is too sweet.
- The saffron aroma is too intense.
- We couldn’t taste any ingredients other than sugar and saffron.
Our Top Picks & Recommendations
What we recommend: Of the seven contenders, only three made it to round two- Gulabs, Bikano, and Urban Platter Thandai Syrup.
Gulabs was our collective favorite for the refreshing taste, spot-on sweetness, and nutty bits. Additional marks for not adding preservatives and colors. This is almost as good as homemade Thandai.
We also recommend Bikano as a value-for-money pick and Urban Platter if you feel like going all out this season with a more gourmet product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some interesting FAQs on Best Indian Thandai Brands
1. Is this thandai processed from natural ingredients like kesar and elaichi?
Yes, all seven contenders use kesar and elaichi, which may be spotted on the ingredient list as saffron and cardamom.
2. Do these thandai have any additional flavor enhancers?
Six of seven contenders use additional flavor enhancers. Our Top Pick Gulabs is the only brand that is free of additives.
3. How much sugar is required for one spoon of thandai?
None of the contenders call for additional sugar. You just need to add the recommended quantity of milk and ice cubes.
4. Can thandai be consumed everyday?
Yes. Thandai can be considered relatively nutritious than aerated beverages. Moreover, this is a flavorful way to consume milk.
5. Does this thandai contain preservatives?
Yes. Only Gulabs Thandai Syrup boasts of a preservative-free ingredient list.
Nothing beats a tall glass of well-flavored thandai. Gulabs, Bikano, and Urban Platter were the best-tasting trio of the seven brands we tried. However, Bikano was not picked as our Top Pick due to the extensive use of additives and colors. On the other hand, Urban Platter may not be the most pocket-friendly option for all.
Gulabs, made without any additives, imparts an exquisite taste and aroma. Plus, it is reasonably priced!
If you prepare Thandai from scratch, feel free to skip this review. But if you’re looking for a flavorful and quick way to indulge, this might be the post for you.
Tell us in the comments which is your favorite brand of thandai this summer season.