Local grocery stores are one of my favorite destinations on a vacation. This week I traveled to the Northridge area of Los Angeles, CA for a funeral and made a pit stop at a grocery store called Vallarta. The focus is Mexican food, with a very strong offering in the butcher, bakery, and prepared foods section. While wandering the aisles I came across a soda from Besitos that looked amazing. Mango con Chile.
I don’t know much about Besitos, but from what I’ve gathered they’re a relatively new beverage maker local to the Los Angeles market. Mango con Chile is a tried and true flavor combination in Mexican candies, so there was no reason why this couldn’t work. Having never seen this combo in a soda before my main concerns were whether the mango puree would be too heavy for the carbonation, but also if the cayenne would overpower the sweetness of the mango. Using fresh fruit/juice is a bold choice in a bottled soda, but Besitos really pulled it off.
I gently rotated the bottle a couple of times to incorporate the fruit solids with the fizzy water. The soda was a vibrant orange when I finished, and it bubbled up with a little bit of a froth once I opened the cap. So, carbonation looked good! Somehow they kept the mango flavor incredibly fresh and bright with just the right amount of sweetness. As the mango sits on your palate the cayenne steps forward and gives you a little punch. It’s not hot enough to hurt, but it tickles the back of your throat and lingers on your tongue with the bubbles.
Bold statement, but this is one of the best fruit sodas that I’ve ever had. It’s incredibly unique, super flavorful, and would pair extremely well with a plate of tacos. Right now I think you can only find bottles in the greater Los Angeles area, but stay tuned to their social media for updates. Better yet, if you’re a restaurant owner or a a distributor, reach out to them directly to see if you can get them in your stores. What a gem!
Side notes: The ingredients are pretty simple, and I was very impressed with the pureed mango and cane sugar. I also noted that there is Stevia (I didn’t taste it) and caffeine. I’m not opposed to the caffeine but it’s worth calling out since there aren’t a lot of fruit based sodas that include it.