What and where are the best beverages in the world?
July 26, 2007 9:14 PM   Subscribe

Gadling has a post on the Top 8 Beverages in the World. 1. I have not had any of these, where can I find them in NYC? 2. Additional beverage suggestions are certainly welcome for the sake of everyone.
posted by Stan Chin to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, the kind of place I would seek out for some of these beverages are obvious, like specialist wine shop or a japanese supermarket for Pocari Sweat. But there being so many of those in NYC, like a tea house even, I'd like your recommendations on where the best likely place would be as far as overall experience or "I'll sure they'll have it."

And generally looking for beverage alternatives that have that "interestingness" with those in the post, like original thai red bull, etc.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:33 PM on July 26, 2007

Pocari Sweat can be ordered in powdered form from J-List (front page, has SFW/NSFW option.)

Yerba mate might be available at Argentinian restaurants and groceries. I could tell you where to go in Chicago, but Pampa on the Upper West Side might be a place to start. They have a drink called "Mate Cocido" on the menu.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:39 PM on July 26, 2007

This is an eccentric list. It should probably be retitled, "My Favorite 8 Beverages," because that's how it's billed at the site. The kellerbier's webpage states that it's only available in Munich, so you can forget that.

I know you can get mate, Tanzanian peaberry and Kenya AA coffee, and a wide variety of teas at Citarella on Broadway and 75th; some of the same things are available more cheaply at the Fairway next door. The Kenya AA was my staple eye-opener for many years. Fairway and Citarella also sell many varieties of Chinese and Japanese teas in bulk; I can't comment on the two mentioned but I became very fond of Fairway's Japanese sencha tea. Mate is bitter and has a powerful stimulant effect; I eventually decided it was too strong for me.

This brand of vinho verde is available at Food Emporium and probably other local supermarkets for under $10. It's good in the summertime - a very light, acidic, slightly fizzy wine - but if I were making a list of my favorite 8 great wines it wouldn't even make it. It might make the list of 8 great white wines under $10.

I've seen Pocari Sweat sold in corner stores as well as Koreatown and Chinatown. Can't think of a specific place offhand.

The staples of soda jerk/delicatessen culture - a chocolate phosphate, an egg cream, a lime rickey - would be on this list if I had written it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:39 PM on July 26, 2007

I've heard that the original Thai Red Bull is not legal to import to the US. Not sure if that's true or urban legend. If so, it's probably more a product licensing thing that something romantic like more taurine in the original than the FDA thinks we can handle.

That said, I have found it here several years ago, and it's like the kind we have, only flat, much, much sweeter, and it comes in a bottle.

Tanzania Peaberry coffee will appear at coffee shops from time to time, but you may need to do some asking around, as it seems like most shops rotate their coffees. It's a fave of mine as well.
posted by altcountryman at 9:40 PM on July 26, 2007

Whole Foods and other large natural food stores will have yerba mate.
posted by cmonkey at 9:43 PM on July 26, 2007

Try Sunrise Mart for the Pokari Sweat.
posted by rdn at 10:16 PM on July 26, 2007

Mate isn't too hard to find. You're bound to find some Guyaki somewhere, especially in NYC. I'd recommend starting with a simple tea ball (found at any grocery store) and the loose leaf stuff. Later you can move on to the funky metal straw and the gourd if you like.
posted by timelord at 1:43 AM on July 27, 2007

It's not how we consume it in Brazil, but Jamba Juice has an açaí smoothie. I know that it's also getting popular in the US for its health benefits so a health food store might carry straight juice.
posted by wallaby at 4:13 AM on July 27, 2007

Long jing tea should be pretty easily available at any larger tea shop that sells loose leaf tea. You can order it online from Tealuxe, it's bin 147.

I've actually visited the area in China this tea is grown, met a tea farmer there and was invited into their (very humble) house. Had a cup of tea, and ended up buying and taking back around 2 pounds of the tea to the States. Have some cool pictures of the hillsides all covered with tea plants.

Other beverage suggestions? The white Birch Beer that Foxon Park makes is out of this world.
posted by reptile at 7:24 AM on July 27, 2007

Most Portuguese restaurants serve a few vinho verdes.
posted by escabeche at 8:49 AM on July 27, 2007

The M2M markets in New York carry most things pop-Japanese. There's also a great Japanese Market on Stuyvesant street (basically 9th and 3rd).

Recommendation: while in Costa Rica, I became positively addicted to Maxi Malta, which re-hydrated and re-energized me in a hurry after surfing. It's delicious, too.

Yaa Dong are Thai Herbal whiskeys, usually mixed by hand at small weirdo bars throughout the country. There's a super cool one in Pai. I have no idea where you could find authentic Yaa Dong in the states. Possibly in Elmhurst, Queens. Go to Aruni (my favorite Thai Restaurant in NYC) in Jackson Heights, and ask someone there.

And if you're not familiar/addicted, you must try proper Turkish coffee with cardamom. Any self-respecting middle eastern restaurant will have it.
posted by kosem at 8:54 AM on July 27, 2007

Whole Foods has several acai products. Trader Joe's carries peaberry coffee, Tanzanian or Mexican and sometimes both, it will be labeled by country of origin (and I agree, it really is very good). TJ's also has yerba mate, but you're going to have to find your own gourd.
posted by padraigin at 9:03 AM on July 27, 2007

Any asian market in NYC would have Pocari Sweat. It tastes similar to very bland, slightly salty uncarbonated fresca to me. I'd get it again though.

Acai can be found at most health sections in the supermarket produce section where they sell natural juices. If you can find actual Acai berries that would be cool, you eat the inside and discard the skin though.

You might look for Guarana Antarctica at any Brazilian supermarket, we like it a lot and it reminds me closest to ginger ale but better.
posted by clanger at 9:42 AM on July 27, 2007

Mugi-cha can be found in huge boxes for cheap at Japanese markets, or you can buy it online at various places including Amazon.
It has a great nutty flavor--I don't think it takes adjusting to at all!
posted by exceptinsects at 11:33 AM on July 27, 2007

At most any Italian market and on Amazon.com, you should be able to find San Pellegrino Limonata, which is, frankly, better than anything you will ever put into your body, with the exception of a few less-than-wholesome non-commercial beverage options I'll leave to your imagination.
posted by mdonley at 11:45 AM on July 27, 2007

Ikkyu2— not to derail, but since I know you're in (or have been in) the LA area, I was wondering where the best places to go to get a chocolate phosphate were around here. Egg cremes I've never been wild about, and I've never had a lime rickey (so if you know of someplace out here that has those, lemme know).

And just to give you a heads-up, most of the drinks on that list are OK, but totally not worth the build-up. Pocari Sweat tastes like flat Squirt. Yerba Mate, which they have at Whole Foods or your local Argentinean grocery, is more prized because of the stimulation than the gustatory sensation. Tanzanian Peaberry is usually good coffee, but it's kinda just another varietal (sort of like how I've been enjoying garnacha wines, but I'm not going to say they're amazingly better than tempranillos).
posted by klangklangston at 12:44 PM on July 27, 2007

Yesterday, I saw Pocari Sweat at JAS Mart near Madison Square Park and just now, I saw it at the J&Y Mart on the corner of 56th and 8th (all the way in the back left).

And I got my mugicha packets at Mitsuwa in Fort Lee, NJ.

I'm guessing at this last one, but try calling Ito-En for the Long Jin Cha Green Tea (Hangzhou, China).

822 Madison Avenue (at 69th Street), NYC
Sunday 12 noon-6pm
posted by spec80 at 4:32 PM on July 27, 2007

By Fort Lee, I mean Edgewater.
posted by spec80 at 4:40 PM on July 27, 2007

By the way, "yerba maté" is pronounced "JAIR-bah mah-TAY".
posted by TheNewWazoo at 11:21 AM on July 28, 2007

What I would recommend, if you really are so intrigued by strange/delicious drinks, is go to one of the big groceries in Chinatown (can't give you the address offhand... just walk into Chinatown) and just buy, at random, 5-10 drinks (budget withstanding) based on labeling or whatever and see what you like. Whenever I travel (especially in Asian countries) I do this. I found this fantastic Qoo drink in Shanghai that I haven't found since... it tasted like a yoghurty fruity watery goodness. Last week I randomly bought a Lemon Basil Seed drink from a Thai store - not so good.
Good luck!
P.S. Oh, and pending on the Korean selection at the store, you may want to try Milkis (a fresca meets cream soda), Aloe juice, or Shikkhae (a barley drink) - I love all those.
posted by shokod at 4:49 AM on July 29, 2007

klangklangston, I liked Factor's Deli on Pico. No idea if it's even still there.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:25 PM on July 29, 2007

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