Padaneer: the perfect summer cooler for parched souls
A dubious drink made from the sap of the palmyra tree brings back my childhood and my grandmother
Come summer and I think of the time my grandmother and I got drunk together. Our libation was the sap of the palmyra tree and it appeared like clockwork this time of year. Called padaneer in Tamil and neera up North, this sap of the Borassus flabellifer tree tasted of jaggery, coconut, and water. The men who sold it to us insisted that it had “no kick,” but was full of “strength and vitamins.”
My grandmother loved it because my grandfather disapproved of her drinking it. He was a medical doctor and a lifelong teetotaller. The notion of his chaste wife downing glasses of dubious drink and then giggling like a schoolgirl was horrifying to him. That left me – my grandmother’s unwitting sidekick – in her escapades. Mostly, we drank when my grandfather left for his clinic.
- Palm Tree