Recently, it seems like Japanese beverage makers are all about helping us with our multitasking. First there was the sakura beer that let you enjoy a cold one and contemplate the cherry blossoms at the same time, and earlier this week it was time for a taste test of alcoholic matcha green tea .
Now, it’s time for another double-dose of drinkables, with Suntory’s just-released bottled water with the flavor of…yogurt?!?
While Suntory might be best known overseas for its beers and whiskeys, the company actually offers a full lineup of drinks, both alcoholic and not. Walk into just about any convenience store or supermarket, and you’ll find bottles of Suntory’s Minami Alps Tennensui, bottled water sourced from Japan’s Southern Alps region.
Minami Alps Tennensui has been a big seller for more than two decades now, but occasionally Suntory likes to spice things up with alternate flavored versions. But while most people didn’t bat an eye when orange-flavored Minami Alps Tennensui alps made its debut, they were a little more surprised this month when Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina, which the company says has “the luxurious taste of yogurt,” hit store shelves.
After finding a bottle at the grocery store for 105 yen (US$0.88), it was time to give it a try. Even though it’s made with sour whey from Hokkaido, the beverage is completely clear.
The extra ingredient gives the drink more minerals than regular bottled water, and even some amino acids too, according to Suntory. It also means that Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina isn’t completely calorie-free, although at 124 calories for the entire 515-milliliter (17.4-ounce) bottle, it’s not going to wreck your diet.
Again, the beverage is completely clear, despite what the picture on the label of a heaping spoonful of creamy yogurt seemingly about to be mixed into it might have you imagining. But while there’s nothing about Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina itself that looks unappetizing, Suntory’s marketing team isn’t really doing it any great favors with this supplemental tag.
▼ Oishikute odoroku yo!, which translates a little closer to just “You’ll be surprised it tastes good!” than “You’ll be surprised at how good it tastes.”
Unscrew the cap and take a whiff, and the special ingredient is readily apparent, as after a short, almost citrus like sensation you’ll smell what’s unmistakably yogurt.
So how does it taste? Well, if you’ve ever had Calpis Water, known in some overseas markets as Calpico Water, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect: a slightly milky sweetness that gives way to an aftertaste that’s slightly sour, but not in any way unpleasant. Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina is milder, though, and its aftertaste doesn’t linger quite as long, providing a cleaner finish. In terms of how similar the two drinks are, though, you could say Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina is the Crystal Pepsi to Calpis Water’s Coca-Cola.
▼ Yogurt-flavored water doesn’t taste nearly as unusual as it sounds.
Hmm…you know, Calpis is sometimes used as a cocktail mixer in Japan, so would Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina be able to fill that role too? Come to think of it, Suntory is also responsible for the alcoholic matcha green tea I tried a few days ago, and I’ve still got some of it left over…
▼ Quickly! To the RocketFridge!
Suntory’s hybrid drinks have raised my level of consciousness, so now the only sensible thing to do is continue along this path of evolution by mixing Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina together with Matcha Kaoru Osake. With the first drink’s water and yogurt, and the second’s matcha green tea, gyokuro green tea, and vaguely classified “alcoholic spirit,” it’s time to invite five different guests to the party in my glass.
Unlike previous failed experiments such as the mint chocolate ice cream mint chocolate beer float , the plan of mixing Suntory’s two latest offerings together turned out to be just crazy enough to work. As a matter of fact, the resulting concoction is actually smoother than the straight Matcha Kaoru Osake, as it softens some of the intimidating bitterness of the high-class green tea. At the same time, the sugars in the alcoholic green tea soften the Minami Alps Tennensui & Yogurina’s aftertaste even more, making it roll from slightly sour to just barely sweet as it washes past your taste buds.
Final verdict? While Suntory’s newest corporate siblings are both OK on their own, they’re even better together.
▼ It’s good to spend time with family.
Photos © RocketNews24