- A wave of new cocktails is shaking up Manila's bar scene
- Popular local ingredients being used in Manila cocktails include panutsa, calamansi and lambanog
- The Manila Sunshine was created to define Manila and promote the Philippines as a destination
San Miguel may be the Philippines' national beverage, but there's more to the islands' drink culture than a 100-year-old beer.
The flavors of the Philippines -- its tastes, ingredients, even tributes to landmarks -- are increasingly being used in craft cocktail concoctions.
Here are 18 bar favorites now being served in Manila.
1. Mojito de Mayon
Created in honor of the Mayon Volcano, a famous cone-shaped volcano in the Philippines province of Albay, Aracama's Mojito de Mayon is made with vodka, sugar syrup and muddled lime then topped with a cone of shaved ice.
It comes in strawberry, cherry, passion fruit and mango flavors, but the strawberry is recommended as it makes the drink look like there's lava erupting from the "volcano."
Aracama, The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 917 861 2702; P280 ($6.50)
2. Panutsa Old Fashioned
The Raffles Makati Long Bar has given the classic old fashioned a twist.
Along with the usual bourbon, orange bitters and orange peel, bartenders throw in some panutsa, a local palm sugar commonly found in the province of Batangas.
The panutsa is melted into liquid and used as a sweetener, which adheres to the hotel's mantra of being "locally authentic."
Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati; +63 2 555 9777; P380
3. Gin Pom Pi
This concoction served at Museum Cafe/Kabila features pomelo-infused gin, fresh calamansi (Philippine lime) juice, cucumber juice, Palawan honey and lots of fresh pomelo shreds.
Garnished with two cucumber sticks, it should fill at least one serving of your daily fruit and veggie requirements.
Museum Café/Kabila, G/F Greenbelt, 4 Makati; +63 2 757 3000; P225
4. Mango Mojito
Hong Kong-based bartender Giancarlo Mancino, known for his cocktails at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana and Il Milione, created his first Filipino cocktail for Las Flores, a Spanish tapas restaurant.
His mango mojito isn't a typical fruit shake.
The mangoes -- which come in large juicy slices -- are used to accent the drink, made from Don Papa rum (a premium local rum aged for seven years in oak barrels of Mount Kanlaon in the sugar capital of Negros), calamansi, syrup and garnished with mint.
Las Flores, G/F, One McKinley Place, 25th Street, Fort Bonifacio, Global City; +632 552 2815; P1,800 per jug
Named after the beloved Filipino desert, which means "mix mix," the cocktail version blends ube (purple yam), jackfruit, beans, jellies and condensed milk.
What makes it more fun than the original is the addition of lambanog (coconut wine).
Fun, filling and you get a slight buzz from the coconut wine.
Salon de Ning and The Bar, Peninsula Manila, corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Makati; +632 887 2888; P290
6. Manila Sunshine
The Department of Tourism recently asked the Shangri-La hotel to create a signature drink to define the city of Manila and promote the Philippines as a top destination to visit.
The result: Manila Sunshine.
What makes this one distinctly Filipino is the lambanog base, an ingredient mostly produced in the province of Quezon.
It also has the tropical flavors of pineapple and mango with a tinge of triple sec and dark Tanduay rum.
The cocktail is garnished with tanglad, or lemon grass (it's the swizzle stick) and sliced pineapple.
It's nice, thick and frothy -- refreshing to drink by the pool or the beach -- and also available at Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu and Shangri-La Boracay.
Makati Shangri-La, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City; +63 2 813 8888, P250
7. Las Islas
Vask, a modern Spanish restaurant and bar, features cocktails named after cities in its motherland and colonies.
As a tribute to the Philippine islands Vask has created Las Islas, a refreshing drink similar to a mojito.
It's made with light rum, triple sec, peach schnapps, mint and muddled mangoes, for a tangier taste.
Vask, 5/F, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue Corner, 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 915 507 7047; P230
8. Spiked Sago't Gulaman
At Fresh, the Filipino dessert of tapioca pearls (sago) and gelatin (gulaman) is turned into a cocktail with the addition of rum and amaretto.
"It's what makes sense given the flavor profile of brown sugar and syrup," explains beverage manager Lee Watson, who created the drink.
"I also didn't want it to be straight water and sugar, so I added a bit of lemon/citrus that turns it into a cocktail."
Best consumed with a spoon in hand so you can scoop up the tapioca pearls and gelatin.
Fresh, Solaire Resort & Casino, Entertainment City, Aseana Avenue, Tambo, Paranaque City; +63 2 888 8888; P420
9. Makati Sling
A version of Raffles' Singapore Sling, Raffles Makati's Makati Sling is a frothy mix of tropical flavors with the base flavor of pineapple.
Served in the Singapore Sling glass, it includes lime and pineapple juice mixed with Tanqueray Ten gin, cherry blossom, Grand Marnier, Benedictine and Angostura bitters that have been whipped into foam and topped with 24k gold flakes.
Long Bar, Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati;+63 2 555 9777; P680
The local lime is the prime ingredient in this cocktail, served at the Mandarin Oriental Manila.
It tastes like calamansi juice -- a preferred drink for the sick -- and is tart and citrus-y.
Martinis Bar, Mandarin Oriental Manila, Makati Avenue, Makati; +63 2 750 8888; P480
11. Philippine Myth
Sofitel's tribute to the Philippines is made of coconut, pandan and lychee and can be spiked with rum or vodka.
The bar also does a nice non-alcoholic version.
Le Bar and La Veranda, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City; +63 2 551 5555; P348
12. Isaac of the Bay/The Noli
The Curator, a third wave multi-roaster cafe and cocktail bar, views both coffee and cocktails as art form, science and craft.
The bar pays strict attention to the origins of every ingredient, from coffee beans and liquor to bitters and fruits.
Isaac of the Bay mixes coffee -- local beans sourced from Hineleban, Bukidnon, roasted by co-owner Sly Samonte -- with Don Papa Rum, butterscotch liquor, local honey, lemon, sarsaparilla bitters, egg white and sprayed vanilla.
With each sip, the flavor profile changes.
First it's lemon froth and butterscotch.
As you go deeper into the drink, the depth of the coffee brings out the vanilla and citrus.
The Noli, a tribute to national hero Jose Rizal's classic novel "Noli Me Tangere," substitutes rum with bourbon.
In this one, the chocolate notes of the coffee are enhanced.
Those with a sweeter palate should opt for the Isaac of the Bay, while The Noli will suit those who prefer chocolate and earthy flavors.
The Curator, Unit 2 Upper Ground Floor, Legaspi Park View Condominium, C. Palanca, Makati; +63 917 585 9005; P550/ P500
13. Papaya Margie
"This is our localized version of a proper margarita," says Niner Ichi Nana's mixologist and co-owner Erwan Heussaff, who trained with Din Hassan of Bitters and Love in Singapore.
"As kids in the Philippines, we eat our papaya with calamansi and sugar, so we translated this into a cocktail, with a margarita-style drink."
Sticking with the childhood theme, the drink features an eggshell (from the egg white of the drink) as a Papaya Margie garnish, filled with local cookies that are found in most sari-sari stores.
Niner Ichi Nana, G/F, The Globe Tower, 32nd Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 917 876 9999; P300
14. Fierce Pinay
With its large selection of imported craft beers, Jim Araneta's Global Beer Exchange is already popular among the lager-guzzling crowd.
Now, cocktail fans have something to look forward to, with the brand's Bottle Shop offering a new menu concocted by mixologist Larry Guevarra.
The Fierce Pinay is a refreshing blend of vodka, triple sec, caramelized ampalaya (bitter melon) and fresh calamansi juice, which, as the name implies, is a tribute to the modern day Filipina -- "fierce but sweet at the same time."
The Bottle Shop and Global Beer Exchange, Tritan Ventures Building, Paseo De Magallanes Center, Magallanes, Makati; +632 895 6175; P300
15. Weng Weng
Weng-weng is Filipino slang for someone who is completely intoxicated.
When you find out how many ingredients are tossed into the cocktail of the same name, it makes sense.
The drink, which normally has about six kinds of alcohol -- rum, gin, vodka, tequila, brandy, scotch -- is mixed with orange and pineapple juice and grenadine.
This one's popular with the brave, younger set and available in most bars in the Philippines.
The version served at URBN Bar and Kitchen is reliably good -- and strong.
URBN Bar and Kitchen, 3/F, Fort Pointe II Building, 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 917 564 9333; P258
16. Ube Martini
For Salon de Ning's Ube Martini, ube (purple yam) is blended into a light, slightly milky liquid then mixed with cranberry and vodka.
Salon de Ning and The Bar, Peninsula Manila, corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Makati; +632 887 2888
17. Bonifacio Sour
This cocktail was created for 'Cue by barman Enzo Lim of New York City's Jeepney and Maharlika, as a tribute to the founding member and martyr of the Katipunan, the Philippine revolutionary society founded in the 1890s when the country was still under Spanish rule.
The bar is located in an area of The Fort named after the Filipino hero (Bonifacio High Street and Bonifacio Global City).
Lim is a Philippines history nerd born on the same day that the father of Philippine Revolution was executed in 1897 (May 30).
It's a traditional cocktail with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, lemon, calamansi, egg white and a red wine float for touches of bitterness and color.
'Cue, Lower G/F, Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Ave corner of 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 2 621 4052 and +63 917 899 2283; P295
18. Puto Bumbong Ale
Though not a cocktail, we couldn't leave out Puto Bumbong Ale.
For this one, the purple glutinous rice cake popularly served as a Christmas dessert has been transformed into a beer.
Created by Allan Agala, who has a small DIY home brewery where he creates 5.7% alcohol ales in 750ml bottles, this seasonal beer will be released again in September 2014.
Other recent creations of Agala include 7107 City Ale (a refreshing session ale named after the country's number of islands) and Halo-Halo Ale, an indigenous Pinoy-style summer ale, a tribute to the famous Filipino dessert that mixes 12 ingredients.
Past creations include the Bicol Express Wild Chilli Ale, inspired by a spicy pork dish cooked in coconut milk and bird's eye chili, which will also reappear in September in time for the Peñafrancia Festival in Naga City, Bicol.
Available at The Bottle Shop, Tritan Ventures Building, Paseo De Magallanes Center, Magallanes, Makati; +63 895 6175; P480 ($36) per 750ml bottle