Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drinking Calpis

No!!! Not that! CALPIS!

Calpis is the unfortunate-sounding-in-English brand name for a series of milk-based beverages sold in Japan. It originally comes from a made-up word that combined the words CALcium and sarPIS (butter flavor in Sanskrit). Here's a photo of Calpis Soda in a local supermarket:

Calpis was first sold in Japan in 1919 as a powdered, just-add-water beverage. It now comes in a variety of flavors, carbonated and non-carbonated, and no-calorie (diet or Zero) versions. This is Calpis Water (the non-carbonated version), Calpis Water Zero, and Grape Calpis Soda Zero (on the left edge in the photo):

I first tried Calpis in Japan last year and have been a huge fan ever since. My favorite is Calpis Soda mixed with shochu and ice but I just got into the Calpis Zero Grape and shochu in Osaka this year. And, no, you don't need to drink Calpis in a Chuhai to enjoy it. Even though it's made from milk, it's not like drinking watered-down or carbonated milk (and I can't even begin to wrap my brain around where the "butter flavor" in the original name comes from). I've written and deleted about ten different attempts at trying to describe the flavor but I've given up. You've gotta' trust me on this one that it's really good.

If you're in the U.S. and very lucky, you might find Calpis products as they're now sold there under the Calpico name. I guess they re-branded so that they could free themselves from their bovine-urine-sounding name.

Anyone up for a yummy chuhai?

1 comment:

  1. this stuff is amazing!! gawd i miss japan! :(


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