12 January 2010

Justin and Nana Drink Weird Stuff For Your Entertainment, Malta Edition: Kinnie and Prickly Pear

According to their web site, Kinnie was developed in Malta in 1952 as a domestic cola alternative. Nowadays, it's practically their national drink. Made from "bitter oranges and aromatic herbs," it has "a bitter taste which is an excellent thirst quencher."

What did we make of Kinnie?

It's like there's a party in my mouth, and everybody's barfing.

Justin thinks that the opening flavor of Kinnie is all right. It's an orange soda flavor not overwhelmingly dominated by sugar, like Minute Maid or Fanta. Unfortunately, that taste is obliterated by a blast of bitter aftertaste in the upper back of your throat which precisely duplicates the bile-ish sinus flavor of vomit. As local/regional colas go, it's no Kickapoo Joy Juice, that's for sure.

Bajtra (caution; link has music)

Bajtra (pronounced "baytra" or perhaps "baitra," but definitely not "badge-tra") is the brand name for a liqueur made out of the prickly pear cactus. The web site is a little vague on the age of the distillery, but the prickly pear was introduced to Malta from the New World probably sometime in the sixteenth century. I recall reading someplace that prickly pear, although widespread in the islands, was not widely consumed until the food shortages of World War II. Doesn't necessarily mean that the liqueur is modern (prickly pear has been used to make alcohol in Mexico/the US Southwest for centuries) but it could be.

Basically, if you love syrupy sweet drinks, this is for you. Justin described it as tasting "like a melted watermelon Jolly Rancher." If that sounds up your alley, then go ahead and give Bajtra a try - it has limited distribution overseas. You could probably also find something similar in Arizona or New Mexico.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, I have to share that now I only have the "Bare Necessities" song from the jungle book in my head. I'm glad this stuff actually exists... (Katy)

    Now when you pick a pawpaw
    Or a prickly pear
    And you prick a raw paw
    Next time beware
    Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
    When you pick a pear
    Try to use the claw
    But you don't need to use the claw
    When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
    Have I given you a clue ?

    The bare necessities of life will come to you
    They'll come to you!

    Have a great time!!!!