Year 2012, back when a lot of milk tea places were popping out like mushrooms here and there. I was told about this particular drink spot partly-owned by PBA player/TV Host- Chris Tiu called “Happy Lemon,” and its most famous signature drink “Cocoa with Rock Salt & Cheese.”
I was immediately intrigued, not entirely because of my then workmates’ persuasive ‘selling’ skills, but mostly because of how very unique and effective I thought its branding was.
I mean, who would ever thought of putting rocksalt on an ice blended refreshment, right?
In my mind, that one drink that I ever thought would go well with rocksalt was tequila. But this one, blended with a little too much salty component (salt & cheese), sounded odd, so odd I thought maybe it’s good!
At first, I imagined a glass of chocolate milk tea, topped with some foamy whipped cream, sprinkled with brown salty whatever that is. Need I say, ’twas the element of weirdness that stirred my curiousity of this popular drink.
So one ordinary day, on our way home, RPN 9 co-workers- Van Evangelista, Dale de Vera and I came across Happy Lemon, and instead of our initial plan of sitting down for coffee & doughnuts, I decided to give the popular drink a try.
Now, this one I didn’t see coming. Ohhh.. the saltiness from cheese blended with that rich chocolatey taste teasing my taste buds.
It was like love at first ‘sip!’
Van and Dale were both laughing at my initial reaction, I stomped my foot and quipped “Oh my God, this is sooo good!”
I was prompted before taking my first sip that the drink was meant to be consumed without the straw to experience the layering of flavors, I did just that, and just like that I was a goner!
My addiction to happy Lemon’s Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese began.
At my first taste of it, I already knew that Happy Lemon would be a constant craving from then on. I promised myself to taste as many variants but for years now that I have been frequenting their stores both in SM Megamall and Shangri-La hoping to try their other offerings, I have not tasted any of the rest of their variants other than Cocoa with Rocksalt and Cheese.
I don’t know how anything in their roster of drinks can compare to the awesomeness of the Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese. Ofcourse I have seen how they have played with most of their drinks, even adding ingredients such as my childhood loves- Yakult and Milo powder to some of it. But whether they are doing this in the intent of teasing customers, my loyalty remains with the Rocksalt!
My addiction to the drink became worse after I realized that Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese does not have “tea” in it at all! And to my surprise…it didn’t actually have rock salt on it, just a hint of salt on its cheese component. Bottomline, it was the perfect drink for me and I didn’t care about the number of calories I’m consuming with my every indulgence of it.
But after I became a mom, and stopped being employed, I thought it was not anymore economically viable for me, considering I would rather buy moi baby her very expensive formulas rather than give-in to my only addiction.
Until I finally thought of a better solution… why not make it myself?
So after a couple of failed attempts to squeeze information from Happy Lemon staff, which I expected in the first place, I finally got the recipe. And now, I am sharing it with you.
Before I do, let me say that I still stop by for the real thing, every once in a while now, although not that frequent anymore. I have become a mom, and it is always my baby, Cassey Hunter, who rocks my world even more now. Hehe.
Cheese: half a bar of creamcheese; 1/4 cup of condensed milk; 1/3 cup of whipping cream
Cocoa: 1 tablespoon cocoa; hot water; 1 tablespoon sugar; fresh milk; ice cubes
To make the cheese, simply mix the three ingredients using an electric mixer. For faster mixing, soften the creamcheese first. Do not overdo or underdo the mixing otherwise it will either get too thick or too soft it will sink.
To make the cocoa, simply get a mug put in d cocoa and sugar add a little hot water then mix. Once it’s blended, transfer it in a tall glass, add milk and the ice. Carefully put the blended cheese on top of your cocoa drink using a spoon (work on d side). Sprinkle a dash of sifted cocoa powder on top and tadaah you got yourself the awesomest drink in town!
TRIVIA: Did you know that Happy Lemon’s origin is China? aNd its signature drink Cocoa with Rock Salt and Cheese has been considered as a testament to Chinese creativity? It is China’s version of chocolate milk with foam. Some call it a “cheese creamsicle” or cocoa, rock salt and cheese blended into a cup of milk. #jnv