Soak cashews, melon seeds and poppy seeds for at least 1 – 2 hours, preferably 2 hours.
Blanch almonds and pistachios by dropping the nuts in boiling water and cooking for a minute. Drain, run under cold water and peel the skin. For pistachios, rub the nuts between fingers and if there is a thin skin, it will peel off. If not, use it as is.
Grind together almonds, pistachios, cashews, melon seeds and poppy seeds to a fine paste using some milk. Keep it aside.
Grind green cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and rose petals (if using) to a fine powder and keep aside.
Bring remaining milk to a boil and add saffron.
When milk boils, add sugar and mix well. Start with about ⅔ cup of sugar, taste and adjust to taste.
Add nuts paste to milk and mix well to incorporate. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Add ground spice powder and continue simmering for a couple of minutes.
Taste thandai and adjust sugar.
Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving. I served it as is but if one wishes, strain and then serve.