Less known but tasty drinks?
October 17, 2010 10:39 AM   Subscribe

(DrinkFilter) I just found out how awesome Aloe Drink is. What other tasty drinks have I been missing out on?

Anything non-alcoholic. Preferably things which can be bought in the US.
posted by BurN_ to Food & Drink (52 answers total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
Coconut water. Preferably flavored.
posted by chicainthecity at 10:46 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chocolate soy milk. My favorite is actually the shelf-stable kind, but it's all delicious.
posted by decathecting at 10:52 AM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've always been a fan of Odwalla Superfood, and most of the other spirulina drinks I've had seem to take the same "plus apple juice" approach to their ingredients (i.e. they taste good).
posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2010


(Mexican) Horchata is the absolute best thing ever invented. On a warm day, go to a taqueria or a street fair and look for a big plastic vat with what looks like tan/light brown milk, lots of ice chunks, and cinnamon sticks. Buy the biggest cup available. You can thank me when you run out of small bills and can take the straw out of your mouth.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:57 AM on October 17, 2010 [13 favorites]


Cashew fruit juice.

Tamarind juice.
posted by saladin at 11:06 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Horchata is indeed delicious, and you can buy the powdered mix at any Latin grocery.
posted by OmieWise at 11:09 AM on October 17, 2010


Peanut Punch. Great when eating spicy food.
posted by iwhitney at 11:10 AM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Calpico! It is non-carbonated but has a yogurt like tang to it. I enjoy the unflavored as much as flavored. Lychee flavored makes for a very sweet treat, and they have Aloe flavor as well.

It looks like Amazon sells it, if you don't have a Japanese market.

You can buy it either premixed, or concentrated and mix with water yourself.
posted by effigy at 11:11 AM on October 17, 2010


I have no idea where you would get this in the US (and for God's sake tell me if you find out), but in India, at train stations, they sell this amazing pink drink out of vats that's basically iced milk with rose flavoring and tapioca-like pearls (smaller and less chewy than the type found in boba tea). It's delicious, refreshing, and probably could give you e. coli.
posted by threeants at 11:17 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm rather fond of sorrel or hibiscus tea. You can usually find it at Jamaican restaurants and the dried flowers are available at Jamaican or Mexican/Hispanic grocery stores.
posted by calistasm at 11:22 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sago't Gulaman

Also, Corn Shakes are really great. They're pretty common here in the Philippines. Just sweet corn, sugar, ice and milk blended. Mildly sweet, not pucker inducing like most smoothies.
posted by ferdinandcc at 11:23 AM on October 17, 2010


Almond milk.
posted by Gordafarin at 11:36 AM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just tried chinotto soda for the first time a couple weeks ago.

The flavor is extremely different from the sorts of carbonated beverages Americans are used to. To give you an idea, it's basically a non-alcoholic beverage made with the same fruit that is central to Campari.

It's definitely harder to find than, say, coconut water, but it's really, really interesting. Check out Italian food stores. Here in New York it's prominently featured in the beverage section of Eataly - maybe you have a similar resource in Chicago?
posted by Sara C. at 11:42 AM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


basil seed drink
posted by hototogisu at 11:42 AM on October 17, 2010


I don't know if it's "less-known," but Yerba Mate? It tastes like plants, in a good way. You can drink it hot or cold, on its own or mixed with black or green tea, with or without stuff in it. I like it with soymilk and honey.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:43 AM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


this amazing pink drink out of vats that's basically iced milk with rose flavoring and tapioca-like pearls (smaller and less chewy than the type found in boba tea).

I've never seen exactly that, but I've seen rose flavored lassis at Indian groceries here in New York.

Which reminds me of another killer oddball beverage - "salt" lassi. Don't be fooled by the word salt in the name - it's really just a tangy unflavored yogurt drink (there might be some salt in there, but it doesn't taste weird salty, just yogurty).
posted by Sara C. at 11:45 AM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Chinotto? UGH.
No idea where you might get this in the US, but Lemon and Paeroa (L&P) from New Zealand is awesome. Also, a carbonated drink called Ch'i. Used to buy that a lot in Australia.
posted by tra at 11:56 AM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cel-Ray soda (tastes like celery! but in a good way!).

Seconding the mention of jamaica, which is just plain good.
posted by mynameisluka at 12:01 PM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is the second thread in two days that has made me aware that I am a freak who loves drinks other people think are bitter and gross.
posted by Sara C. at 12:06 PM on October 17, 2010


There are a whole slew of awesome hot homemade drinks that are popular in Central America. We don't really have a category for them in the US: they're not refreshing, they're not alcoholic or caffeinated, but they're also not "kid stuff" like hot chocolate is here. You can think of them like nice soothing stick-to-your-ribs snacks that happen to be liquid instead of solid.

The most widespread is atol de elote, which shows up in the US in some traditional Mexican restaurants — if the menu just says atole this is probably the one they mean. It's a sweet drink thickened with masa; you can get it with chocolate (like the thickest damn hot cocoa in the world) or plain (pleasantly sweet-ish with a sort of toasty corn flavor).

I haven't seen atol de piña or atol de plátano in the US, but if you're in a Guatemalan or Salvadorean neighborhood you should keep an eye out for them. They honestly sound a little off-putting — one's made from pineapple, the other from plaintains — but they're surprisingly good in a hot-apple-cider sort of way. You'll also occasionally see arroz con leche, which is like drinkable rice pudding and totally delicious unless you're one of those weirdos who hates rice pudding.

(You can totally make all of these at home, but it's hard to make just one serving. They're feed-the-whole-family cook-up-a-big-vat-and-sell-it-off-your-porch food.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:07 PM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kombucha is pretty awesome if you can ignore the woo-woo homeopathic claims made by the producers.
posted by emilyd22222 at 12:16 PM on October 17, 2010


Malta (especially Malta Goya).
posted by bubukaba at 12:52 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Banana "nectar"
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 12:56 PM on October 17, 2010


Sidral Mundet is my favorite Mexican soda.
posted by box at 12:56 PM on October 17, 2010


I've developed a taste for Kvas, which I get from the local Russian grocery store.

It contains a (pretty much negligible) alcohol content that is low enough for it to be sold as a soft drink in American supermarkets.
posted by null14 at 12:56 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Similar to the aforementioned "salt" lassi is my favorite drink--dogh. It's definitely a love-it-or-hate-it thing. It's yogurty and salty and slightly minty.

dogh.
posted by millipede at 1:15 PM on October 17, 2010


I have no idea where you would get this in the US (and for God's sake tell me if you find out), but in India, at train stations, they sell this amazing pink drink out of vats that's basically iced milk with rose flavoring and tapioca-like pearls (smaller and less chewy than the type found in boba tea). It's delicious, refreshing, and probably could give you e. coli.
posted by threeants at 11:17 AM on October 17 [1 favorite +] [!]

It's called 'falooda' and you could easily make it at home.
posted by cynicalidealist at 1:18 PM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to be able to get Journey brand soda at my local Wild Oats store. They make a vanilla creme soda that is spiked with some interesting spices in the brew. Not very exotic, but very tasty if you can find it!

At home, I like to mix just regular creme soda with milk and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Sort of like Laverne, only with creme soda instead of Pepsi ;)
posted by wwartorff at 1:24 PM on October 17, 2010


Hot: Salep.

Cold: Cucumber-lime agua fresca.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:30 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool, cynicalidealist-- I was familiar with falooda but was familiar with it more as the ice-creamy drink with vermicelli in it. The drink I'm recalling is as thin as milk itself-- maybe a down-market version of falooda?
posted by threeants at 1:34 PM on October 17, 2010


Oh, also for the OP, this isn't particularly obscure these days, but in case you don't know about it, kefir is a delicious tangy yogurt drink. You can find American brands in any decent cosmopolitan supermarket.
posted by threeants at 1:36 PM on October 17, 2010


Real ginger beer (non alcoholic): discussion on best commercial brands or brew your own.
posted by lalochezia at 2:14 PM on October 17, 2010


Yakuruto yogurt drinks! Most common probiotic drink in the world, but seems to be only just starting out on the American market. Yakuruto is the Japanese name, the company goes by Yakult elsewhere. These can get a little pricey if you buy them imported at Asian markets, but I recently found nearly identical knockoffs at Mexican grocery stores - Ricky Joy is one brand I remember off the top of my head.
posted by illenion at 2:28 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chinotto...is an acquired taste, that's for sure. San Pellegrino makes a sparkling chinotto drink that's available in many grocery stores. It's not quite as robust as some other chinotto drinks so it's a pretty good introduction to the flavour.
posted by thisjax at 2:29 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bet you'd like milkis.

Mauby has displaced iced tea from my diet.
posted by PueExMachina at 2:34 PM on October 17, 2010


Young coconut juice is very tasty but I find that if it comes in a can, it will taste like can. Different brands apparently vary, I have liked the kind I've had at Vietnamese and Thai restaurants better than even the glass bottled stuff I've found commercially, not sure why. Possibly the restaurant is making it fresh? Not sure. You can buy young coconuts themselves in many US supermarkets now if you want to try making your own.

Ayran is a salty yogurt drink; there are lots of these by different names. They are great in hot weather. You can buy this prepared in many middle eastern markets or takeout places.

Salty lemonade is a delicious Vietnamese drink.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:10 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Persian Doogh.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 4:17 PM on October 17, 2010


Random question for any beverage enthusiasts popping in here-- is there typically kala namak in salty lassi? I've always wanted to try the drink but that spice makes me want to hurl even in pretty small quantities.
posted by threeants at 4:24 PM on October 17, 2010


Tulsi tea. It's like black tea but made with holy basil - absolutely delicious as iced tea. You can find this at health food stores (Whole Foods probably has it, for example).

This winter I'm going to try to make champurrado instead of hot chocolate. Egg creams (seltzer+milk+chocolate syrup) are also on my list to make soon!
posted by belau at 4:27 PM on October 17, 2010


Here are some tasty Singaporean drinks my grandmother used to make:
  • Grass jelly (aka cincao, pronounced chin chow). If you get the type in a tin, be sure to add it to a sweetened base or it'll be weirdly tasteless (faintly bitter at best).
  • Cendol (aka chendol)--green pandan-flavoured rice-flour spaetzle served in a coconut-milk base. It looks bizarre, but it is delicious.
You can find these drinks at some Asian markets or groceries (grass jelly, as I mentioned, is available in tins). I've had cendol at Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants in Canada and the US, and it was really very good. It's often found on the dessert menu and served in a bowl with a spoon like a sweet soup.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:38 PM on October 17, 2010


I'm pretty sure it was hibiscus tea that I had in Bali. At a cooking class, it was freely available in pitchers on the table. The cook told us that you put the flower in hot water, and the water will turn black, then pink when you add sugar. It was delicious.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:17 PM on October 17, 2010


2nding Milkis. Tastes like liquid skittles. Also Biofeel is really yummy.
posted by fizzzzzzzzzzzy at 5:29 PM on October 17, 2010


I'm partial to non-alcoholic bitters, especially if garnished with a couple green olives and a lemon slice.
posted by Orinda at 5:35 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thai Iced Tea
posted by pyro979 at 6:44 PM on October 17, 2010


The people ragging on chinotto have obviously never had it over ice in a frosty glass with a slice of greasy, salty, sausage pizza. IT'S HEAVEN
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:23 PM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Chinotto and sorrel are both AWESOME and not too sweet.

Also AWESOME is sekanjabin, a drink made with sugar syrup, mint and (trust me!) vinegar. It's easy to make up a large batch and very easy to go through the large batch in no time.
posted by maudlin at 11:01 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another Korean crazy drink: Milkisu, or "milk soda"

I think it's nummy myself but many people hate it.
posted by bardic at 1:10 AM on October 18, 2010


Milkis is just a ripoff of Calpis... pretty standard on the Korean market.
posted by shii at 1:44 AM on October 18, 2010


Yakuruto is the Japanese name, the company goes by Yakult elsewhere.

Actimel by Danone is pretty similar.
posted by mippy at 1:54 AM on October 18, 2010


Likely more subtle than most others mentioned here (which totally suits my ever-increasing preference for less sweetness, and less flavor intensity), Sport Tea (I prefer it cold; contains no sugar!) has become my default liquid.

It's delicious water.
posted by dpcoffin at 10:00 AM on October 18, 2010


Chicha Morada is a Peruvian drink made from purple corn. Nice deep purple color, with a flavor sortof like pomegranate, but with an odd kick of spices. I've found it at a local Peruvian restaurant, but apparently it also can be found bottled.
posted by PaperDragon at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Drinks made of the following syrups:
Blackberry Syrup from Croatia
Apple & Blackcurrant Juice, Sparkling Drink
Black Currant Juice
posted by nickyskye at 9:55 PM on October 22, 2010


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