Like a caramel apple in a can.
November 10, 2012 9:06 PM   Subscribe

The first night I was in Japan on vacation, I got a drink out of a vending machine that was a combination of apple juice and condensed milk. It was surprisingly good, and while I looked for another can throughout our stay in Japan, I never saw that combination again. What did I drink, and how can I get some in America?
posted by eschatfische to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I suppose I should also say that I've experimented with mixing apple juice and condensed milk at home in the time since our vacation, but it has never ended well.
posted by eschatfische at 9:07 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like an Orange Julius made with apple juice.
posted by Jahaza at 9:33 PM on November 10, 2012

Possibly an apple-flavoured Calpis drink?
posted by ripley_ at 9:39 PM on November 10, 2012

Before someone arrives to this thread with knowledge of what your exact drink was - given that you're in SF, have you tried your local Japantown or Japanese or Asian-themed grocery stores? Those are probably your best bet.
posted by demagogue at 9:54 PM on November 10, 2012

Is this it?

It's called Calpico here in the US. I know I've seen "homemade" calpis recipes, maybe there's an apple recipe somewhere?
posted by fiercekitten at 10:01 PM on November 10, 2012

When was this?

Not sure if there's a can version, but based on your description of "caramel apple," how about Yakiringo Au Lait? (1% juice, ha)

Otherwise, do any of these Fruit au Lait products look familiar?
posted by caaaaaam at 10:15 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Japanese companies release limited edition drinks (and snacks, and foods, hahaha) quite frequently, so it would be very helpful to know when you were in Japan.
posted by xmts at 12:07 AM on November 11, 2012

Have you tried milky bubble tea? It's usually sold by street vendors or little Asian cafés, it might be what you need.
posted by Iteki at 1:55 AM on November 11, 2012

How much time passed between having the drink and looking for it again? I read an article a while back about the Japanese drinks market being insanely competitive, with flavors being introduced and killed at breakneck pace(like weeks, sometimes). And I mean regular flavors; this is separate from xmts' mention of intentionally-limited editions. It's entirely possible this doesn't even exist anymore.
[This of course is where xmts, living in Japan, strolls in and says she has no idea what I'm talking about.]
posted by Su at 2:57 AM on November 11, 2012

Response by poster: Hi, all. This was a while back - I was in Tokyo in February, 2007. It was in a short, white metal can, like the kinds they use for coffee and tea, and I believe that I got it at the N'Ex station in Narita. I assumed that I'd find more, so I didn't take down the brand/distributor, and then looked for it throughout the trip across Tokyo and Osaka without success. I've also looked for it in Japantown here in SF.

That said, I'm pretty confident it wasn't a Calpis/Calpico product, which I've also had. It was much sweeter, with a thicker consistency, and I'd recognize the Calpis branding.

Yakiringo Au Lait is a good suggestion, and I'll see if I can find fruit au lait drinks around here. However, this wasn't in a carton with that kind of art, and it didn't look quite like the other things in the Google Image Search you linked to, but that search might take me in the right direction. Hopefully it wasn't some sort of last-of-the-limited-edition thing I stumbled upon.

Iteki, I live two blocks from a Quickly, so I can assure you that bubble tea doesn't scratch this goofy itch.
posted by eschatfische at 6:43 AM on November 11, 2012

Not sure if the Japanese drink market has this in common with the American one, but your old memories of packaging might not help you, because the same beverage (if it still exists) may have been repackaged or rebranded by now anyway. Four or five years is a long time!

So perhaps you should consider trying anything milky-apple you can find on the off chance that the form factor has changed.
posted by Andrhia at 7:43 AM on November 11, 2012

Best answer: I have a lot of first-hand experience with Japaense vending machine and konbini drinks, but am not familiar with this delicious novelty! Maybe you can find something with the correct packaging among these? That is a google image search for アップル ミルク 自動販売機, or "apple milk vending machine" in Japanese.

My bet is that it is also a CALPIS product (a banana one turns up on the search!) or a royal milk tea derivative. I do also remember Mitsuya Cider having some creamier varieties, but cannot come up with the name of the flavor. But like xmts says, there are a lot of limited edition (time or geography) flavors, so even if you identify it don't be surprised if it has disappeared into the cycle, along with all of my favorite Kit Kats, Fantas, and weird Pringles.
posted by whatzit at 8:19 AM on November 11, 2012

Response by poster: Aha! Thanks, Whatzit!

I did a search on 自動販売機 "condensed milk" and found that Asahi Mitsuya Cider has a seasonal "white cider" variant that pairs cider flavors, including apple, with condensed milk. While the label on the can was a little different - I remember it looking like this older photo - this bottled drink is almost certainly what I had. I'll have to ask around in Japantown for it!
posted by eschatfische at 12:43 PM on November 11, 2012

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