Cocktail

One of the most popular dessert in Southeast Asia turned into a well-balanced, delicate cocktail

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The idea

After the tropical combination of mango-coconut was chosen for my first cocktail creation (MangCoco Daiquiri), I knew right there was more to explore. Previously coconut milk was intentionally left out in order to tweak the lime-related Daiquiri template into an even fruitier direction. However, coconut milk and mango just go famously well together! In Southeast Asia, it is the base for a popular, refreshing dessert that further includes pomelo or grapefruit, milk, sago, and often also sugar (water). 

And there was the challenge: transforming the dessert into a balanced cocktail and sending the culinary art of Hong Kong, Taiwan & Co. as a holiday greeting onto your tongue. First of all, the sago needed to get excluded as an essential ingredient, because cocktails are obviously more about drinking than chewing. In contrast, the grapefruit flesh that usually comes on top has been integrated carefully as „seasoning“ fruit juice, advantageously adding to the complexity of this drink and getting along better with (coconut) milk than lime juice. The final strategic move was to choose a base spirit that does not interfere with the character of the dessert but rather blends in nicely, as a soft and creamy vodka would. The rest was just trimming the traditional dessert recipe down to a drink volume and making sure that sweetness is present but not predominating.

The result is a rich, yummy drink with authentic exotic descent you probably cannot stop sipping.

How to create it

  • 1. Step: gather all

    Peel & slice the mango, squeeze the grapefruit, and put all ingredients into a blender. Add ice on top.

  • 2. Step: blend it

    Blend until it becomes a creamy texture. A quick shake in between may help to further mix the ingredients.

  • 3. Step: serve

    Pour into a „gin & tonic“ glass, a big coupette or a hurricane glass. Add a pinch of coconut flakes on top and at the rim using grapefruit juice as glue.

Recipe

  • 1/3 – 1/2 piece mango
  • 40ml vodka
  • 30ml coconut milk
  • 30ml milk 
  • 15ml grapefruit juice (fresh)
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 3 – 4 ice cubes (middle-sized)
  • 9 x mango
  • 4 x vodka
  • 3 x coconut milk
  • 3 x milk
  • 1,5 x grapefruit juice
  • 1 x sugar syrup
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Recipe

  • 1/3 – 1/2 piece mango
  • 40ml vodka
  • 30ml coconut milk
  • 30ml milk 
  • 15ml grapefruit juice (fresh)
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 3 – 4 ice cubes (middle-sized)

How to create it

  • 1. Step: gather all

    Peel & slice the mango, squeeze the grapefruit, and put all ingredients into a blender. Add ice on top.

  • 2. Step: blend it

    Blend until it becomes a creamy texture. A quick shake in between may help to further mix the ingredients.

  • 3. Step: serve

    Pour into a „gin & tonic“ glass, a big coupette or a hurricane glass. Add a pinch of coconut flakes on top and at the rim using grapefruit juice as glue.

The idea behind

After the tropical combination of mango-coconut was chosen for my first cocktail creation (MangCoco Daiquiri), I knew right there was more to explore. Previously coconut milk was intentionally left out in order to tweak the lime-related Daiquiri template into an even fruitier direction. However, coconut milk and mango just go famously well together! In Southeast Asia, it is the base for a popular, refreshing dessert that further includes pomelo or grapefruit, milk, sago, and often also sugar (water). 

And there was the challenge: transforming the dessert into a balanced cocktail and sending the culinary art of Hong Kong, Taiwan & Co. as a holiday greeting onto your tongue. First of all, the sago needed to get excluded as an essential ingredient, because cocktails are obviously more about drinking than chewing. In contrast, the grapefruit flesh that usually comes on top has been integrated carefully as „seasoning“ fruit juice, advantageously adding to the complexity of this drink and getting along better with (coconut) milk than lime juice. The final strategic move was to choose a base spirit that does not interfere with the character of the dessert but rather blends in nicely, as a soft and creamy vodka would. The rest was just trimming the traditional dessert recipe down to a drink volume and making sure that sweetness is present but not predominating.

The result is a rich, yummy drink with authentic exotic descent you probably cannot stop sipping.

Good to know

The Asian heritage - 楊枝甘露

„Yangzhi Ganlu“, the dessert that this cocktail is based on, originated in Hong Kong during the fabulous ’80s and is still to be found everywhere there, in Taiwan, Singapore, and most of South China.

While the English translation „Mango Pomelo Sago“ just lists the main ingredients, the Chinese name demonstrates some creativity: literally meaning „willow branch manna“ which relates to Chinese mythology (see e.g. „Journey to the West“). It served Guanyin Bodhisattva as a magical weapon, using the „Yangzhi Nectar“ to revive a ginseng fruit tree that was overthrown by the Monkey King.

The promising name of the cocktail is derived from the further meanings of the different Mandarin characters.

Grapefruit vs. pomelo

Although both are somewhat interchangeably used in the dessert, the two fruits have different characteristics.

The pomelo (Engl.) is a true original (non-hybrid), native in Southeast Asia, and should be found at least in Asian supermarkets in Western countries whereas the grapefruit is actually a child of the pomelo and an orange. Their flavor palate does differ noticeably: the grapefruit usually tastes more bitter and astringent, whereas the pomelo is slightly sweeter.

Cocktail balance

For this cocktail the ripeness of the mango and the choice of the „seasoning“ fruit is crucial: if your mango is not yet fully matured / essentially sweet or if you use grapefruit, then you should add some sugar syrup to get a pleasant drinking experience. On the other hand, if your mango is completely ripe and you use (honey) pomelo, additional sugar can be reduced or even skipped.

The coconut flavor is not dominant in the recipe, so there is still room to add more coconut milk.

If you have no blender, but can get mango juice: try ca. 90ml and mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Then strain into a collins glass filled with ice cubes and drink with a straw.

Recipe variations

As noted before, you can replace grapefruit with pomelo.

For a smoothie-like consistency & more intense flavoring try evaporated milk with a higher fat percentage instead of fresh milk.

Leave the standard sugar syrup behind and allow sweetened coconut cream or condensed milk to bring their related sweetness.

Extend the flavor dynamics even more and let vanilla join the creaminess, e.g. with vanilla syrup.

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