Saturday, May 12, 2012

Supermarket Mysteries: Mangosteen Four Ways

Amy & Brian Mangosteen Drinks. Juice color is approximate (not really).
It was about time I did one of these, since I too live in the Bay Area. What is my excuse for not knowing my canned Asian drinks? And furthermore, which of them go best with vodka? I unloaded my spoils from Duc Loi Supermarket and threw a bunch of baby bananas and a bottle of vodka into the freezer.

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In the freezer aisle of Doc Loi are a number of perplexing treasures amid more familiar wares. You can get eggs from a chicken, but also from ducks. You can get cold cuts, and shrimp balls (balls, made of shrimps ... not that I wouldn't eat the other possible interpretation of that phrase, after all I do love some uni). You can get Maytag blue, queso cotija, and a dozen different types of tofu.

You can, if you dare, get grass jelly tea drink.

I zeroed in instead on the three varieties of mangosteen drink canned by "Amy & Brian", who don't sound particularly Asian -- seems they manufacture and distribute in the US.

Who are Amy & Brian, and why are they about to smash cans of fruit juice in each other faces? Are they practicing glassing each other for Straya Day  (get it in ya!)?

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Tasting notes:

Pretty much all of them were this color.
Mangosteen with Goji.

The color was an orange-ish, tanny, brownish color -- not initially appealing. Without booze, it tasted like earth and fruit, apple, pear. The addition of vodka brought out some of the spice notes: Cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, heavy caramel, maple.

Mangosteen with Pomegranate.

Remarkably similar in every way. Sans vodka, sweet, pear like. With ... not much to differentiate it from the goji version.

Mangosteen with Passion Fruit.

The color was the same and I was afraid that the flavor pattern, already set, would repeat. I was delighted to find that the passion fruit variety of this canned drink delivered a real passion fruit punch, sans vodka, and makes a delightful cocktail with.

But how will they play together, plus ice, and frozen bananas, and "sweet limes"? Plus a stick blender?

The wait is over, the bananas are frozen. Now, we get our blender drink on.

[Note: stone fruit season is not far away, and you can make your own frozen fruits with dry-ice to reduce the size of the ice crystals. It's always a good idea to have a couple of frozen fruit options on hand for blender drink season.]

Do you want a picture of a beige slush? No. But let me tell you, this is one of the most sublime blender drinks I've had in a while.

Mystery Juice Blender Drink:
  • 2 cups of ice cubes
  • 2 mini (baby) bananas, frozen
  • juice of 1/2 "sweet lime", strained
  • 1 ounce of Mangosteen with Goji
  • 1 ounce of Mangosteen with Passion Fruit
  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • A couple of dashes of orange bitters
Do not try this with your wussy 200 watt hand blender. Crushing ice is a job for a 350 watt or better motor. 

Trust me, I've burned out (more than one) 200 watt motors.

Blend until smooth, pour into a glass, enjoy.

Fruits of my labors. "Sweet lime" center right.