The Kirby by Leanne Su

FLAVOR NOTES: fruity, flowery, tangy

VIBE NOTES: silly, tactile, friend-shaped

In the immortal words of internet commentor Sharkbandit, Kirby is shaped like a friend. With the release of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Kirby is also shaped like a vending machine, car, lightbulb, and more!

I picked this game up because I thought it looked unbelievably adorable, and I was correct. Kirby runs around yelling “HI!” and nothing else, eating his way through his enemies and saving his friends. It’s a cute little game with good puzzles and incredible art design.

As a character is a fascinating enigma to me. Brian David Gilbert has a great video breaking it down. Kirby is also my main in Smash, mostly because I’m terrible at Smash and constantly die by falling. Maining Kirby turns me from an inevitable last place into an agent of chaos, sometimes murdering my foes by absorbing their souls and sometimes accidentally turning myself into a rock and yeeting into the abyss.

There’s one other thing that Kirby is shaped like–boba. I wanted to make a fun, slightly obnoxious, bright pink drink with popping boba hidden in it. I found strawberry popping pearls from a store on Etsy and they were surprisingly delicious.

For the drink itself I decided to go with a modified mojito, subbing in pink guava juice instead of sugar or simple syrup. The Forgotten Land is a cool urban landscape overgrown with foliage, so I muddled the lime and mint to the point where I got a few green bits after straining the drink. Normally, mojitos call for mint leaves to be just bruised and not shredded, but I think the sweetness of the guava juice is more than enough to compensate for any bitterness we get from the mint leaves.

I went with Bacardi for the rum because it’s so easy to get and because, as Greg from How to Drink puts it, “rum devoid of characteristics…hello Bacardi.” It’s inoffensive and lets the other flavors really shine through. I picked up some Mira guava nectar from an incredible place called Fire Wings & Market, a bodega/Mediterranean grocery store/wings stop/shawarma place—it definitely ranks in the top five juices I’ve ever had, and I’m an absolute fiend for juice. Some generic club soda, limes, and mint will round out our ingredient list.

I loved the idea of displaying a single pearl, so I painstakingly placed one on a mint leaf floating on the surface of the drink, bearing a striking resemblance to Kirby himself chilling on a boat. The resulting drink is fruity and sweet, perfect for a hot summer day. I love the tangy, flowery flavor of guava, and the nectar that I’m using has a thick texture that lets you know it’s from real fruit. The little pearls add another fun tactile experience to the whole thing. The mint does its job of adding a refreshing herbal flavor to the drink and providing a soft cool finish.

And there’s the Kirby! A minty, tangy, sweet drink. Now that this drink is done, I’ll get back to eating archways and saving my Waddle Dee friends in the Forgotten Land.

The Kirby


1 ½ oz white rum

4 oz guava juice

can of club soda

big scoop of strawberry popping boba

five mint leaves

two lime slices


In a shaker tin, muddle four mint leaves and lime. Add gin, guava juice, and ice, then shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass. Top with club soda and stir, then fill with popping pearls. Garnish with a mint leaf and a single pearl.

Leanne Su is a second-generation Chinese American woman from Seattle, WA. She is currently studying as a Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, researching high-power electric propulsion. When she’s not breaking or fixing thrusters, she’s usually embroidering, writing, or taking cursed pictures of her cat Pudge. You can find her on Instagram @its.lean or on the world wide web at

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