For A Thai-Inspired Drink, Add Mango Sticky Rice

Many cuisines and culinary cultures not only have a list of famous food dishes but also a list of iconic cocktails to accompany them. We all know that Mexican food is synonymous with tequila, mezcal, and the many zesty cocktails derived from them. An Italian dinner may precipitate a negroni, and Japanese sushi isn't complete without a glass of whisky or a bottle of sake. However, Thai food doesn't have an obvious mixed drink pairing.

Luckily, creative cocktail innovators in Thailand's bustling, metropolitan capital city of Bangkok have come up with the perfect Thai-inspired cocktail using one of their most iconic desserts: mango sticky rice. While a sweet and tropical dessert consisting of glutinous rice cooked with sweetened coconut milk and topped with fresh mangos may sound hard to incorporate into a drink, mixologists deconstruct it into drinkable mixers. Mangos are already a popular drink and cocktail mix-in blended into lassis, margaritas, and daiquiris.

For a Thai-inspired cocktail that honors the sticky rice format, mangos remain a sweet topping, transformed into a mango-infused foam or mousse. Sticky rice soaked in coconut milk sits on the balance of solid and liquid, thus easily blended into a thick, velvety mixer for a spirit. Cocktail bars use housemade infusions and obscure ingredients to come up with high-brow mango sticky rice drinks, however, you can easily use mango sticky rice in a cocktail for your next Thai-inspired dinner or happy hour with simpler, more accessible ingredients and techniques.

Ideas for mango sticky rice cocktails

If you're still trying to imagine what a cohesive mango sticky rice cocktail could look and taste like, consider its fruity ingredients. Mango and coconut are classic tropical mixers that many other tropical countries have used with their respective spirits. The most obvious tropical spirit to use in a mango sticky rice cocktail is rum. It will add a rich sugarcane finish to complement the nuttiness of the coconut sticky rice. You could throw a shot of dark rum and light rum into a shaker with a shot of coconut sticky rice blend and a squeeze of lime juice, topping the cocktail with mango-infused coconut cream.

Aged tequila and mezcal would also make tasty pairings for mango sticky rice cocktails, adding a smokiness and sharp alcoholic finish to cut through the sweet creaminess of blended sticky rice. You could make the cocktail extra boozy with a second spirit or liqueur. Using equal parts rum and vodka would add extra alcohol without hindering the flavor of rum. Another idea would be using a fruity or nutty liqueur like Cointreau or amaretto in addition to rum or tequila. Even an herbal liqueur like benedictine or bitters would help temper the sweetness of the dessert mixers. You could also add cold brew for a bitter, aromatic complement to the sweet coconut milk foundation.