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A Toast to Philippine Craft Spirits

In recent years, several Philippine bars have made it to Asia’s top 100 bars. For drinkers who value innovation and artisanal excellence, this is good news.

Aaron James Limpe-Aw, Executive Vice President of The logo of Destileria Limtuaco

Destileria Limtuaco poses alongside their line of

Philippine Craft Spirits.

To learn more about the bustling bar scene, this editor met up with Aaron James Limpe-Aw, Executive Vice President of Destileria Limtuaco and a member of the family that runs the oldest distillery in the country. The meet-up was held at the Destileria Limtuaco Museum in Intramuros. A visit to the place convinces one beyond a shadow of a doubt that the distillery is an authority when it comes to all things liquor. Aaron points out that his generation, as well as his mother’s, are trying to contribute something to the Philippine liquor industry that can make the country proud.

“The Philippine craft spirits are value-added products made from local raw materials. The company is looking at establishing a line of liquors and spirits that bars can use freely without being ashamed. With the developing bar culture in recent years, we work hard to push these drinks into bars and restaurants to be used in different beverage programs. This museum is actually just a showcase of the brands and the history of the family, to show we are very legit,” Aaron explained.

Ten years ago, the company came up with Manille Liqueur de Calamansi, made from the local fruit of the same name. Rinds of this bright and tangy fruit are used to extract its essence as well. Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, a liqueur made from a local type of orange, soon followed suit.

Capitalizing on the taste of Philippine mangoes, Paradise Mango Rum offers something unique to discerning palates with its nice sweetness and a bit of acidity just enough to balance the fruit's sweetness.

Not to be outdone is Amadeo Coffee Liqueur, which comes from four different types of coffee beans in the country. An espresso is made out of these combinations, serving as the base along with rum and sugar for the liqueur.

An interesting liquor in the lineup is the Very Old Captain Rum. It is a funky rum with aromas of rubber and gasoline. The distillery wanted to establish itself as serious rum producers, thus making a name for itself in this space. The company has set up a separate distillery to make rum from molasses.

Aside from these alcoholic beverages, Destileria Limtuaco also has San Juan Premium Lambanog, Dragon Fire (a ginger-infused vodka), Intramuros Liqueur de Cacao, and Vigan Basi Sugarcane Wine.

“We want to show traditional Filipino liqueur and scale it, making it in a way that would pass regulations. We make sure to use the most up-to-date technology available to us to ensure the product is safe,” Aaron voiced.

Destileria Limtuaco has indeed done an impressive job of creating its line of craft spirits by harnessing the unique flavors of Philippine fruits and crops. The local bar scene has just leveled up its game with these bad boys in its arsenal.

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