Mango vodka, Absolut-ly!
Not as sweet as you'd expect, Absolut Mango applies for a job as chief cocktail ingredient
Considering the fruit involved, Absolut Mango certainly has taken its time getting to Thailand. Marketed in the US since 2007, the vodka finally hits shelves here next month, including your nearest 7-Eleven. But to be fair, Absolut Mango was bound to be a hit in cold countries, where mangoes are a rare treat.
If Grandpa's being making his own whisky smoothies with mango since you were a kid, so you can't see the appeal, the beauty of Absolut Mango is that this vodka has the mango flair without the cloying sweetness - or the fruit mash.
It smells very fruity, very tropical, but it's not at all sweet. Ripe mango is the only flavouring, no further sugar added, leaving ample room for the full-bodied potency of Absolut vodka. The mango aroma lingers in the mouth, making it a great ingredient for your tiki-torch-and-desert-island cocktails.
Absolut owner Pernod Ricard unveiled Thailand's latest tipple last week at the X2 Resort in Kui Buri, Prachuab Khiri Khan, revealing that the mango flavour is actually so new to the cocktail scene that few recipes have been devised so far. Working furiously to fill the gap was Nik Anuman-Rajadhon, a mixologist and "bar consultant" at Vice Versa Cocktail. (And what a job that must be!)
Nik's Absolut Mango 7-11 Punch was a fizzy concoction including syrup, Chardonnay and soda, garnished with a lemon slice. You can reduce the sweetness by skipping the syrup and using sparkling wine instead of Chardonnay.
Mojitos beg for Absolut Mango. Add a pinch of brown sugar and mix well, squeeze in lime juice and toss in a couple of mint leaves - whole, not shredded. Just slap the leaves around a bit to bring out the aroma. Ice, soda and a slice of mango on the side and you have magic for the sipping.
For something lighter and more refreshing, there's the Absolut Mango Ginger with Snapple, passion-fruit juice, fresh ginger and rosemary, served in a wineglass. Go easy on the ginger and, if you think rosemary tastes weird, just use it as a garnish, so at least you get a whiff when you slurp.
Festive drinks can be mixed with Absolut Mango and any fruit juice you like. Shake well with ice and strain, garnish with a pandanus leave and you've got a chaotic explosion of tastes.
With dessert, combine Absolut Mango with brown sugar and Chinese black jelly (chao guay) and top with crushed ice.
Absolut claims to be the world's biggest booze brand and prides itself on being a bar-trend innovator. It was the first to screen its logo on bottles instead of using paper labels and the first to market flavoured vodka, beginning with jalapeno-laced Absolut Pepper in 1986. Since then there've been Ruby Red (grapefruit flavour), Orient Apple (red apple and ginger), Grapevine (white grape, dragon fruit and papaya) and Wild Tea (black tea and elderflower).
Thai fans are by now thoroughly acquainted (one might say saturated) with six other varieties - Standard, Raspberri, Citron, Mandrin, Pears and Apeach.