Last year our friends Greg and Kara Miller gave me a unique beverage to review. They had picked up this drink on a trip to the Bahamas a while back. And so it has sat in the official Tanner Beverage Vault all that time until I had the guts to try it. Well, now is that time.
Introducing Big Bamboo Irish Moss Jamaican Peanut Drink!
This unique product came in a can, though interestingly was listed as containing only 11 oz. vs. the traditional 12 oz. Right under the can size is the somewhat scary phrase, “Shake Gently Before Opening”.
The labeling itself features a large logo with the phrase “Irish Moss” in large letters. In fact, I’m not sure what the brand name actually is for this product. It is “Big Bamboo” (trademark) or “Irish Moss” (registered trademark)? In any case, another prominent element on this largely brown and black label is illustrations of peanuts. So it’s obvious what flavor they are going after in this drink.
The ingredients aren’t too scary… water, sugar (sucrose), milk, peanut butter (roasted peanuts, dextrose, monoglycerides, and salt), corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated coconut oil, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, mono & diglycerides, soybean oil, sodium silicoaluminate, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, annatto color, modified food starch and carrageenan.
That last one — carrageenan — is of interest, as it’s called out in parenthesis right below the “Irish Moss” logo on the label. According to Wikipedia, it’s a type of polysaccharide pulled from seaweed. Apparently, in Jamaican culture, irish moss is also used as an aphrodisiac. From what I’ve read of this drink, however, no real irish moss was used!
It was encouraging that real sugar was used as a sweetener in this product. Of course that contributes to the massive caloric count… 280 in the can! It also will bring you 12g of fat, 6 of which is saturated. Need salt? Because this drink will bring you 390mg of sodium. If there ever was evidence that peanuts of part of this soft drink, the nutritional facts back it up.
After shaking the can gently, we poured a little of the drink out into a glass. It was very thick! The consistency reminded us of a milkshake. As we swirled the liquid around, it clung to the sides of the glass much like whole milk. The smell strongly reflected peanut butter. And then we tasted it. And it tasted pretty much like a peanut butter milkshake. Very creamy and thick. Add a straw and some whipped cream and you’d be set. It actually wasn’t that bad! And here I was expecting some sort of odd Jones Soda Holiday Pack experience.
Still, the consistency and texture were a little odd, probably because they were not expected. The drink was not caffeinated, nor was it carbonated. It was just pretty much dense and yellow! Interestingly, this beverage is distributed by Eve Sales Co., which shows an address of Bronx, NY, thus I question how “authentic” this drink really is. (The top of the can also indicated that you get a cash refund in the state of California, while turning it over to the folks in Michigan or Hawaii will net you 5 cents.)
Overall, my expectations were low for Big Bamboo Irish Moss Jamaican Peanut Drink (try to say that ten times fast!) It was a decent drink that had a very unique, yet familiar, taste. I’m not sure I’d want to repeat the experience, but if you get the chance to try this beverage, don’t be afraid!