Joose – The Thirst Quencher

Fiji is a hot country. People here get hot and thirsty. A hard earned thirst needs a big cold drink… and the best cold drink is Joose.

Joose, not to be confused with juice, is sold all over the streets in Suva either by the cup or by the bottle. The going rate at time of writing is 50c for a cup and $2 for a bottle, but if you are a whitey with an accent expect to pay up to twice that. Joose is somewhat of an all encompassing term, and there are really only two attributes that are common to all Jooses:

* Joose must be liquid… and
* Joose must be fruity.

This means that all kinds of things can be passed off as Joose, even things that are not in any way related to actual fruit juice. Here is a non-exhaustive guide to the do and don’ts, the can and can’ts and the what and whatnots of Joose.

1) Joose can actually be cordial
If your juice is particularly cheap, you are probably about to be handed a bottle or cup of cordial. Easier to tell when it is red or green cordial, but if it is lemon or orange you might not realise until you take a swig. Either way buddy, suck it up! Joose is not a drink for complaining whingers, you get what you are given.

2) Most of the time Joose is predominately Tang™
All the market sellers claim their Joose is juice, but their Joose ain’t just juice if the Joose house bin is littered with empty tang packets now is it? Indeed.

3) Joose may contain actual juice
If you find a Joose seller that sells Joose that tastes slightly different to all the other Joose sellers, chances are the guy adds actual juice to his Joose. This is a good thing! Latch onto it! Other clues your Joose may contain actual juice is if it is any way sour or bitter in taste, if the consistency is at all thicker than watery and if the hue looks different to other sellers.

4) Joose may actually be juice
I think this has happened once.

5) Joose can be substituted for kava if you aren’t the kava drinking type
Kava is more about the social aspect of sharing drink than it is about getting paralytic, so a bucket of Joose can easily be substituted for a tanoa of kava. Possibly a major contributing factor to the Fijian diabetes epidemic.

Joose really is a versatile drink. Next time you are in sunny downtown Suva man up and order a Joose. It’s the lucky dip of the beverage world. Besides, it’s gotta be better than the “water” we get from the taps sometimes.

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