Japanese snack and beverage companies offer an endlessly morphing variety of flavor combinations. Probably the most surprising among them for now is the Morinaga company’s pancake milkshake in a can.
Pause to consider the basic elements of this product:
In a can.
Could anything be more unnatural? It sounded so disgusting that I simply had to try it. Assuming that only alcohol could make this gloop even remotely palatable, and further assuming the product might somehow resemble egg nog, I surmised that a shot of rum might be a good additive.
On further thought, I decided to try Kahlua coffee liqueur and triple sec orange liqueur, as well. After all, pancakes are a breakfast food, and coffee and orange juice are also breakfast flavors.
For the record, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a pancake milkshake drunk straight really does taste like pancakes – vanilla-flavored ones to be precise. And the consistency is not gloopy after all, but instead is thin and almost watery. If you drink it hot, the olfactory and flavor illusion of a pancake breakfast is shockingly real, even though the mouthfeel is all wrong.
Last night, I made all three cocktails, using a ratio of roughly one part liquor to two parts chilled pancake milkshake. The results varied:
1. Kahlua: The flavor of the liqueur almost completely overpowered the flavor of the canned drink. The resulting concoction had the same consistency and nearly the same flavor as a standard Kahlua-and-milk, only slightly sweeter. It was a nice enough drink, and I finished it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for another glass.
2. Rum: This was more interesting, but not really a success. The ingredients combined to create a butter-rum flavor, but one that was harsh rather than sweet. I drank about half of it, and dumped the rest into the kitchen sink.
3. Triple sec: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! This was a fantastically delicious drink. The orange and pancake flavors melded to yield a surprising result: caramel. With egg nog in mind, I had sprinkled cinnamon and nutmeg on the top of the drink. As I sipped, the scent of the spices and the orangey-caramel flavor added up to a wonderful dessert experience. It was like drinking a spice cake.
Moral of the story: Don’t judge a pancake by its can.