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Food and Leisure

It’s cocktail hour and the drinking is easy

THE UNGENTLEWOMAN - Gabbie Tatad - The Philippine Star

It may not be summertime, but many of us are in search of the easy drink. While there is (and has been) much to be said about a beautiful cocktail shaken fresh with the most balanced of flavors, some days you just want a single serving of wine without worrying about what happens to the rest of the bottle. Some days you need that Old Fashioned but have only the energy to pop an ice cube in a glass and pour.

As someone who understands, appreciates, and sympathizes with your conundrum, I’ve got you. The world of spirits has heard our call, and so we’ve rounded up some of the fun, new kids on the block to shake up your cocktail hour.

AH-SO: Canned wines made with care

The idea of wine presented in any vessel other than a bottle has long been scoffed at, mainly because none of these have tasted good. Enter AH-SO, the game changer.

These long, 250ml cans come beautifully labeled with its different variants: Red, White, Rosé, and Bubbly. Originating from Navarra, Spain, each wine is made from organic, estate-grown Garnacha grapes, which are picked and harvested by hand. Each individual wine is canned on site at the estate, proving that in spite of its packaging, a canned wine can be made with utmost care, an appreciation for heritage, and in the same way some of the finest wines we know have been created.

As for flavor, it definitely passes the test. Boasting the real expression of the terroir, once it’s in the glass, it’s hard to tell what vessel it came in. These are on the slightly drier side, deliciously so, and each has quite a high ABV for wine (dancing between the 11% to 13% mark). This would be utterly fabulous for a Zoom party or a distanced get-together, or even for a low-key nightcap where you maybe don’t accidentally finish a whole bottle of wine. (No judgment, just providing options!)

AH-SO is sold by one of my personal favorite wine retailers, JC Wines. I’ve spoken about them before, and their ethos is that drinking wine shouldn’t be intimidating, and that everyone deserves to have and enjoy a nice bottle — or can — of wine whenever they choose. They offer AH-SO by boxes of four, and can do an assortment of variants per box if so required.

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Click through their Instagram for a little AH-SO and more at @jc_wines, or send them a message at [email protected]

Horoyoi: adapting chu-hi beverages

Canned chu-hi beverages have been seen everywhere as of late. These drinks are an adaptation of the chu-hi beverages mixed at Japanese bars, usually composed of three ingredients: sparkling water, fruit juice, and a distilled rice spirit called Shochu. The ABV on these is typically at a low three percent, which make them very easy to drink, especially if you’re looking for something a little more chill.

Horoyoi leads the pack among these, distributed by leading Japanese alcohol company Beam Suntory and considered the number-one mild alcoholic drink in Japan.

Horoyoi comes in an array of flavors, some available year-round and some offered seasonally. The standard lineup includes White Grape, Red Grape, Peach, and White Sour, together with their most recent release, Hapikle. (Hapikle is a sour-milk beverage popular among the youth in Japan, and quite similar to the probiotic dairy drinks many of us grew up loving.) These flavors err mostly on the sweeter side of things, and taste like a wonderful soda with a nice, light kick.

Pro tip: While these are lovely to have for a relaxed evening at home, those who like mixing their Soju with beer may want to consider a Soju and Horoyoi combination. The Hapikle offers much in the way of a Soju-Yakult drink, just a little more fun, and the other Horoyoi variants could boost the flavor of your preferred Soju.

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Horoyoi is available in store at SM, S&R, and Puregold, and online at Lazada, Boozy.ph, PandaMart, and GrabMart. For more information, follow @HoroyoiSEA on Instagram or Horoyoi Southeast Asia on Facebook.

Varadero spirits: keeping it classic

We’ve seen many a bottled cocktail in the last two years, each one trying to reinvent the wheel. Varadero Spirits keeps it fresh and uncomplicated with a range of classic, timeless cocktails that have stood the test of time, namely the Negroni, Old Fashioned, French 75, Amaretto Sour, and Pisco Sour.

Varadero quite literally means “dry dock,” but the brand fashions itself after the old-time shipyard worker. One who is, as they say, “meticulous in preparation, artisanal in craftsmanship, and communal in celebration.” Created by partners Pon De Dios and Sabs Cacho, Varadero Spirits takes pride in its craft like that same shipyard worker, and aims to create drinks that deliver maximum joy.

These cocktails are mixed by hand in small batches, using a precise balance of spirits, bitters and sweetness to provide each drinker with the best experience, regardless of whether it’s your first or hundredth time having these cocktails. Now made available for Berry’s Deli, these drinks can be delivered straight to you. (Pro tip: while you’re at it, keep cocktail hour cheeky with a spread of Berry’s Deli chorizos. You won’t regret it.)

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For more information, click on over to berrysdeli.com or check out their Instagram @berrysdeliph.

Run rabbit run: Cocktails to go

Run Rabbit Run makes a mean and positively delectable cocktail, and has pivoted so gracefully as to ensure that you can enjoy their offerings wherever you may choose to lounge.

Their Cocktails To Go range from Run Rabbit Run iterations of a classic Margarita, Manhattan, or Martini (dirty, of course) to a more fun and funky Espresso Martini, Lychee Martini, or Banana Rum Daiquiri. They also offer their own signature drinks, such as a Philippine-inspired twist on a Negroni called Don Chocoroni, the spiced and citrusy bourbon-based Jessica Rabbit, and the fresh and fragrant gin-based Floppy Ears (this variant is also available as an ice cream). These drinks come in 250ml and 500ml bottle sizes, and can come with a care pack that includes a drink garnish, Run Rabbit Run coasters and stickers, as well as a personalized note.

If you’d like to bump it up a notch from home drinker to home bartender, Run Rabbit Run also offers some of the best virtual classes for both private and corporate groups. You just choose your preferred drinks, then Run Rabbit Run will send out Craft Cocktail Class Kits (which can be customized to include corporate branding), as well as lead and moderate the class over Zoom. Whatever your level of involvement may be, Run Rabbit Run keeps it accessible, uncomplicated, and truly delicious.

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Learn more about Run Rabbit Run’s offerings by hopping over to www.runrabbit.run or their Instagram @runrabbitrun.ph.

COCKTAIL

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