Five international drinks to take the heat off
When it comes to international flair, New York City has nothing on the BU area — at least in the beverage department. In the last weeks of summer, as temperatures climb and the air becomes uncomfortably humid, BU’s neighborhoods offer an array of sweet, sour, and salty cool drinks, all designed to help weather the nearly tropical temperatures in cities around the world. Five to try (including a good old American smoothie) are listed below.
What: Mango Lassi
Where: India Quality Restaurant, 484 Commonwealth Ave.
Mango Lassi, a cold, sweet, and heavenly blend of mango juice, yogurt drink, and sugar, is sold at most Indian restaurants, along with a few other lassi, generally described accurately by their names, such as Lassi Sweet (yogurt drink sweetened with rose sugar and rose water) and Lassi Salted (yogurt drink with crushed cumin seeds). Thirsty visitors to the India Quality Restaurant (also accurately described by its name) should not be intimidated by the white tablecloths and the tempting wine list. The restaurant is happy to serve take-out drinks, and Kenmore Square is a great place to take your take-out, and to wander through, on a warm summer evening.
What: Bubble tea
Where: Lollicup, 714 Commonwealth Ave.
Price: Starting at $2.99
Bubble tea is delicious and — there’s no getting around it — a little weird. For those of you who haven’t dared try it, the “bubbles,” which cluster at the bottom of your drink, are little black balls of tapioca, sweet and chewy, a bit like tiny gummy bears. The bubbles, also known as “boba,” or “pearls,” seem to hold the flavor of your tea as you chew, so it’s a bit like having a drink and a snack at the same time. Bubble tea comes with an extra-wide straw, allowing the boba to pop up into your mouth along with the tea. Be careful not to inhale. Lollicup serves up boba in a wide variety of forms — tea, juice, smoothies, and even coffee — and has flavors for any mood, from watermelon and cantaloupe to red bean and tapioca, as well as regular iced tea.
What: Fruit smoothie
Where: Jamba Juice, Union Court, 775 Commonwealth Ave.
Price: $4.09 (16-ounce small)
The list of ingredients in the Aloha Pineapple, available at Jamba Juice in BU’s George Sherman Union, reads like a recipe for summertime: pineapple juice and sherbet, frozen strawberries and bananas, yogurt, and ice. Mango-a-Go-Go has cooling powers, too, adding frozen mangos and passionfruit-mango juice to the mix. And if you want a little something extra in your smoothie, try one of the Functional Flavors for $4.49 (16-ounce small), such as Fit ’n Fruitful, which includes a dose of weight burner boost powder. The best thing about Jamba Juice? If you don’t have the $4.09 for a 16-ounce small, you can use a Terrier Card and convenience points. Head out to the BU Beach, juice in hand, and bask in summer while it lasts.
What: Wu-Wei pomegranate iced tea
Where: Espresso Royale, 736 Commonwealth Ave.
Price: $2.10 (10-ounce small)
When Taoists define Wu-Wei, they often allude to water: it moves, it’s active, but it acts in a very yielding, passive, effortless way. Espresso Royale’s pomegranate iced tea Wu-Wei honors its name: it’s effortlessly refreshing, but unlike water, it’s red and full of flavor. It’s fruity and rich at once — crowning all that ice, a shot of pomegranate extract accounts for the surprisingly intense savor of the first sip. It’s sweet, but leaves a sour feel in the end — try pouring in extra sugar or a hint of lemon. And although caffeine-free, Wu-Wei is energizing. When you take it to go, your ruby-red beverage inside the clear cup shines with the sunlight, illuminating everything.
What: Iced coffee
Where: Japonaise Café and Bakery, 1020 Beacon St., Brookline
Perhaps even more surprising than finding a Japanese-French bakery on South Campus is discovering that such an establishment serves excellent iced coffee. At Japonaise Café and Bakery, you can buy not only iced coffee, but a wide variety of bubble teas and milkshakes. How wide? The bakery offers the following flavors of tea and shakes: strawberry, mango, blueberry, banana, raspberry, strawberry, and melon. Any of these would go well with a custard-filled bun or an African Queen (chocolate and hazelnut cake with fresh bananas). The iced coffee with chocolate is rich and smooth, but not too chocolaty to overcome the coffee taste.
This story first appeared on BU Today on August 14, 2006.