World-class gins scented with sampaguita, ylang-ylang


Around the same time that Filipino cuisine started gaining ground in the international food scene, the local beverage industry followed suit.

Our coffee connoisseurs topped competitions, and bars in Manila made the Asia’s best list.

Locally crafted liquors, a good number of which garnered international awards, further strengthened our position.

Two new gin brands join the growing list of proudly Philippine-made alcoholic drinks. And based on their design, taste and story, it seems like many more people will take notice of our country for producing such world-class spirits.

Vacuum distillation

Destileria Barako, founded five years ago, was quick to become a household name when it came to good-quality alcohol. Their maiden line, Sirena Gin and Kanto Vodka, bagged recognition abroad.

Run by Brendan Green, Tyson Branz and Kalel Demetrio, the young brand works closely with different farmers to champion the abundant produce the country has to offer, and highlight them in their drinks using various techniques such as maceration and vapor infusion.

One notable process is vacuum distillation, which extracts delicate individual flavors from ingredients that get damaged when normal distillation is used. This not only lets them get optimum flavor, but lowers the ethanol boiling point, as well. As a result, it allows them to build the largest botanical library in the Philippines, located at their sprawling headquarters in the rainforest of Malay, Aklan, and at Agimat at Ugat distillery in Poblacion, Makati.

Agimat Gin, a local craft gin made from botanicals locally foraged from different regions of the Philippines

Their latest product, Agimat Gin, was concocted from a distinct blend of rare indigenous botanicals, including ylang-ylang and wild honey from Luzon, yutukon and libas from the Visayas, and pink pomelo from Mindanao.

The result is a floral-scented gin with a dominant tropical flavor and a fruity finish. It is stored in a striking black bottle decked with agimat symbols in gold. Baybayin script is also etched on the glass bottle. Completing the look is a neck medallion that’s hand-stamped with the bottle and batch number.

12 botanicals

Longtime friends Cheryl Tiu and Carlo Calma are self-confessed gin lovers. On their travels, it’s something they look forward to discovering when they visit local joints. Driven by their love for the drink, the two came up with their own brand inspired by the sampaguita.

Proclamation Gin
The men behind Destileria Barako: Tyson Branz, Kalel Demetrio, Brendan Green

It is named Proclamation, after the decree made by Gen. Frank Murphy in 1934, which declared the sampaguita the country’s’ national flower.

Apart from that, it also represents our cultural heritage and signifies purity and simplicity, says Calma. Adds Tiu, “Our gin is proudly made in the Philippines by Filipinos. It embodies the country’s past, present and future—encompassing history, culture, flavors, design and modernity—while supporting and providing a source of livelihood for women farmers in Central Luzon. Apart from sampaguita, we also used (toasted sticky) rice; both are symbolic of day-to-day life in the Philippines.”

A total of 12 botanicals make up the Proclamation Gin: juniper berry, coriander seed, lemon peel, liquorice root, cassia bark, angelica root, orris root, orange peel, almond nut, lemongrass, toasted sticky rice and fresh sampaguita flowers.

The nutty scented liquor provides a toasty and honeyed taste with a smooth, lingering finish. It’s encased in clean and simple blocklike bottles that allow for easy recycling after the gin has been fully consumed. It is wrapped in recycled paper, further reinforcing their aim to care for the environment. INQ


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


INQ Lifestyle

Philippine Daily Inquirer,
1098 Chino Roces Avenue corner
Yague and Mascardo Sts., Makati City