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Friday, May 14, 2010

Malta Hatuey

Have you ever had one of those months? A month in which your Federal grant money* runs out, the bill collectors come calling, you find yourself in a forest lean-to somewhere east of Manitoba with nothing but a hatchet, two pieces of French toast, a Greek-Pashto translating dictionary/thesaurus, and a bottle of Stewart's, and you're somehow on the no-fly list? A month where the only sounds you hear are the frenzied pounding of your heart while you desperately search for an opening in the ring of mutant fungi surrounding your crashed interceptor, and the thin, detestable whining of noisome flutes accompanying the rhythmic undulations of unknowable blasphemies, ceaselessly writhing and flailing around the nethermost bubbling blight at the center of all the worlds? A month where the fish ain't biting, the birds ain't singing, and the jam ain't pumping, probably because of the oceanwide bloom of lethal dinoflagellates which is only narrowly being kept in check by your unsung efforts with a colander and an eggbeater?

You have? Wow. That's terrible. Gosh, we've just been busy with other stuff here at the Lab. I had to build a Lego model of Fallingwater as if it were designed to Sauron's specifications, for one. That took a while. But finally, with sheepish grins and shifty eyes, we're creeping back to the bench. And waiting thereon is one I've been looking forward to for a while: Malta Hatuey.

Now, it's pretty much self-evident why this qualifies as a Weird soda. It's named after the sound of loogie-hawking. That's pretty darned awesome, as well as Weird. It further describes itself as a "non-alcoholic cereal beverage", and is adorned with a drawing of a stern-faced native American. He looks really, really unhappy, and a bit sad. If I were to guess as to his thoughts, they might be something like

"Alas. Not only have my people been ravaged by smallpox, cheated, lied to, and forced from our ancestral I am associated with Malta Hatuey. This is a #@%$-fest of truly EPIC proportions."

The ingredients list includes barley malt, fructose, corn syrup, "mellomalt", caramel malt, and hops. I have no idea what "mellomalt" is. My mind keeps trying to associate it with Mallomars, which is (hopefully) incorrect.

Color: Dark, dark brown, and mostly opaque. Kind of thick. Dense foam.
JAT: "Looks black to me."

Scent: Like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, except with beer instead of milk.
JAT: "Smells bad. Bleeeaaaahh."
LAT: "Smells kind of like molasses. Molasses root beer, actually."

Taste: Well, it's definitely malty.
Me: "Want to taste it?"
LAT: "Errrrr....wellll...uh...I don't know. Is it toxic?"

I give him some.

LAT: "It tastes doesn't taste like much. It tastes like a more bitter molasses, that only lasts, like two seconds." *smacks lips repeatedly, pauses, smacks lips again* "Hmmm." *Smacks lips*

JAT: "Ah...bah! bleaaah! Bleeeaaaah!" *goes to bathroom*

K-i-C: "Smells like blackstrap molasses." *sips* "Tastes like patent medicine. Mmmmm, nutritious."

In a remote, mountainous region, in a facility constructed of basalt and rough-hewn cedar, wizened alchemists are even now combining coffee, caramel, Whoppers, motor oil, beer, sawdust, cinnamon, and amaretto in their attempts to create the Philosopher's Stone. This is a byproduct of that quest.

Quaff rating: 2. I'd be pretty unlikely to seek this out. Bitter, strange. But then, I'm beginning to think that malt beverages aren't my thing.
Cough rating: 2. Definitely a grimace, but not a gag.

*National Quaffing Institute Grant EWW-12722, "Investigation of Relative Gustatory, Olfactory, and Spectrographic Parameters of Carbonated and Non-Carbonated Beverages and Their Impact on Pleasure/Pain Psychological Dynamics in Recipients", principal investigator Quaffmaster, T.


  1. About time! Glad to see you back to work! How about some theme reviews? (sodas of oppression, can sludge be a good thing? History's forgotten beverages, is that really a food product? And so on.)


    I still have no idea what it is, but based on the age of the advertisement, I have to assume it's been around for a while.

  3. wow how ignorant. malta hatuey is a cuban drink. and that picture on the front is not a native american from american but Hatuey a Taino cacique (cheif) who fled to Cuba from Hispanola from the Spanish. He tried to save a taino village in Cuba from the Spanish but was captured and burned at the stake. When asked if he would accept Jesus before he died so that he could go to heaven he asked if christians would be there... when the spanish told him yes he said no becasue he wouldnt want to be with such evil people. Hatuey is considered Cubas first hero. Yeah and anyway malta is the shit. It tastes so much better that coke or pepsi.

    1. I agree with you, Emily. They were ignorant to call him a Native America as in coming from the United States. Thanks for clarifying.

      As far as their "review" saying it was bitter and nasty. They need to have their tastebuds checked. There is nothing bitter about this drink at all. I had been passing it on the shelves at Target for months now and finally decided to buy some and boy am I happy I did. I love it! It isn't bitter at all! I think it is like a thick non-alcoholic ale with a light molasses flavoring and a somewhat "bread/cereal" finish.

      I highly recommend this product!

    2. I agree with you, Emily. They were ignorant to call him a Native America as in coming from the United States. Thanks for clarifying.

      As far as their "review" saying it was bitter and nasty. They need to have their tastebuds checked. There is nothing bitter about this drink at all. I had been passing it on the shelves at Target for months now and finally decided to buy some and boy am I happy I did. I love it! It isn't bitter at all! I think it is like a thick non-alcoholic ale with a light molasses flavoring and a somewhat "bread/cereal" finish.

      I highly recommend this product!

  4. I remember having Malta Hatuey when i was little--i loved it. Was only around when i'd go to visit my cuban and puerto rican relatives. Wouldn't mind getting a hold of some today but i don't think there's a non-mexican latin market within 100 miles...

  5. Emily: Sincere thanks for the correction on the picture, and the history. That's quite a story. Sadly, I must disagree about the flavor, but friendly disagreement is a source of growth.

  6. Most Cubans drink it with milk or sweetened, condensed milk - not too good without that...

  7. Listen: Try it with some good Cuban food. Over ice. Then buy a six pack and drink it when you'd have dessert. It's so painfully sweet and thick, it qualifies. Then...then, something mysterious will happen. You will find yourself craving malta. And nothing else will do. Then you'll go buy another six.
    BTW, in south Florida even the local supermarket "Publix" has *a store branded* malta it's so popular!

  8. puerto rican here love this stuff my mom was always buying it for us when i was little so i guess you have to grow up on it.
    i have tried the other brands but always come back to this.
    buddy's don't like it wife does not like it and my kids are older now and they don't like it.
    o well more for me LOL


  10. I'm totally addicted to this crap. I found it hidden beside the cat food cans in a small corner store in South Florida. It's magical. Clearly it is a very polarizing beverage. Like the comedy of Jim Carey, you either love it or hate it. I'll bet Jim would love this stuff too.

  11. While we may not agree on the taste, I'm happy to see some people actively seeking out different sodas to try. Malta Hatuey is definitely one that either love it or hate it. I grew up with the stuff and love it; its a sweet memory of my family's traditions. Thank you to Emily for correcting the history of Hatuey so people can learn of who the man really was. Cheers!

  12. I have read many inaccurate comments on this page. Including the one about being "a cuban drink". According to wikipedia:
    "Malta is high in B vitamins. Some breweries, like Albani Brewery of Denmark, fortify their non-alcoholic malta beverages with Vitamin B complex. Albani Brewery claims on their website to have been the first brewery to create non-alcoholic malt beverages in 1859.

    Brands of malta

    ActiMalta (Honduras)
    D&G Malta (Jamaica)
    Extracto de Malta
    Giant Malt (Saint Kitts and Nevis)
    Hummer Malt (Global)
    Karamalz (Germany)
    King Malta (South Africa)
    La Alemana Extracto de Malta Morena (Puerto Rico)
    Malta Iberia
    Malt Star (Israel)
    Malta Amstel
    Malta Andina (Ecuador)
    Malta Balashi (Aruba)
    Malta del Barú (Panama)
    Malta Bohio (Cuba)
    Malta Brasserie du Benin (Togo)
    Malta Bucanero (Cuba)
    Malta Caracas (Venezuela)
    Maltini (Nigeria)
    Malta Carib (Trinidad & Tobago)
    Malta Con Leche (USA)
    Malta (Malaysia)
    Malta Coloso
    Malta Corona (Puerto Rico)
    Malta Corsaire (Guadeloupe)
    Malta Créole (canada & USA )
    Malta del Baru (Panama)
    Malta Econo
    Malta El Sol (Puerto Rico)
    Malta Fresh (India)
    Malta El Miguelete (Valencia, Spain)
    Malta Estrella
    Malta Goya (Puerto Rico, US)
    Malta Goya (Lion Brewery, Pennsylvania, US)
    Malta Goya Light (Puerto Rico, US)
    Malta Grande
    Malta Guinness
    Malta H (Haiti)
    Malta Hatuey (Cuban American)
    Malta Heineken
    Malta India (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic)
    Malta India Light (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic)
    Malta Leona (Colombia, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin, Saint-Bathelemy, Guadeloupe and Martinique)
    Malta LeonA Light (Colombia, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin and Saint-Bathelemy)
    Malta Maltex (Denmark)
    Malta Gallo (Guatemala)
    Malta Mayabe (Cuba)
    Malta Morena (Dominican Republic)
    Malta Morenita (Chile)
    Maltín Polar (Venezuela)
    Malta Princesa
    Malta Regional (Venezuela)
    Malta Siboney (Cuban-American)
    Malta Sunchy (Cuban-American)
    Malta Vigor (Panama)
    Maltin Power by Backus (Peru)
    Malty (Israel)
    Nesher Gold Malt(Israel)
    Pony Malta (Colombia)
    Powermalt - Power Malt Extra Energy (Denmark)
    Powermalt - Vanilla Power Malt (Denmark)
    Malta Regal
    Smalta (Trinidad & Tobago)
    Smalta Light (Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe and Martinique)
    Super Malta (Panama)
    Supermalt Original (Denmark)
    Supermalt Plus with Ginseng and Aloe Vera
    Supermalt Tetra Pack (non carbonated)
    Tiger Malt (Barbados)
    Ultimalt (United Kingdom)
    Vicco Malt
    Vitamalt Classic (Denmark)
    Vitamalt Plus (Denmark)
    Vitamalt Tetra Pack (non-carbonated)
    Vitamalz (Germany)
    Vitarroz Malta (Lion Brewery, Pennsylvania, US)
    Egils Maltextrakt (Iceland)
    Víking Maltöl (Iceland)
    Maltina (Nigeria)
    Amstel Malta (Nigeria)
    Malta Guinness (Nigeria)
    Malt (Nigeria)
    Malta Gold
    Champ Malta
    Malta Lorraine (Martinique)
    Malta Pilsen (Uruguay)
    Okocim Karmi (Poland)
    Ultimalt (United Kingdom)
    Malzbier (Brazil)
    Triple B (Bahamas)
    Malta - Jean Paul Farrugia

  13. It might just be me but I think it tastes like caramel mixed with spaghetti-o's!

  14. For a special treat, slowly stir in sweetened, condensed (not evaporated) milk until a creamy cafe au lait color is achieved.

  15. Replying to a dead thread, just saw 3 varieties of Malta at our local Walmart in Rochester, NY area in the 6-ft wide Latin foods section.

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  17. I had this a few times as a kid and my grnadparents loved it. We are Cuban as well. I think that it's an acquired taste that generally Hispanics have. Of course that doesn't mean all Hispanics like it either.


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