Ah, April in Manila.
A time for wallowing in the intense heat.
A time for enjoying a teeny tiny sliver of traffic decongestion because local schools are out for summer break (this, of course, is debatable).
A time for putting aside wine for anything refreshing and cool.
I realize that the moment April arrives in Manila, writer’s block seriously hits me, and with good reason: I can’t stand drinking wine in this heat.
I can go as far as chugging down a very chilled Sauvignon Blanc, or maybe some sparkling wine. I cannot, however, get adventurous in my red wine exploration during this time of the year… I can’t even stand eating red meat these days (much to my doctors’ delight)… Which makes me veer further away from enjoying robust reds.
People who say I should just stick myself in an airconditioned room have obviously not heard that the Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia.
I apologize for being a ranting wino (I have yet to get started on the baloney that is the importation of alcohol in the Philippines), but let me blame this on the heat and move on.
In this temperature, I’d rather have coolers, cocktails, and beer… So let me focus on that.
Cocktail of the Month:
I like cocktails.
As most people know, however, the Pinoy palate is geared towards saccharine sweet food and drinks, and it does translate to the way we make cocktails.
I tend to shy away from diabetes-inducing beverages myself, so I’ve decided to butch up my Screwdriver and use scotch instead. Not just any scotch: A peaty, smoky, masculine Islay.
Here’s how the mix went:
1.5 jiggers Islay scotch
½ teaspoon honey
1 can soda water
Chill the soda water before starting. Juice the orange. Put the orange juice, scotch, and honey in a cocktail shaker with tons of ice. Shake. Strain in a rock glass. Pour soda water.
Beer of the Month:
Maybe it’s my wanderlust coupled with the desire to get out of this inferno added to the French classes I’ve been taking.
Maybe it’s the boredom of having to feature yet another crisp white wine (nothing wrong with that, though).
Whatever it is, my mind ended up transporting itself back to one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever had from the French wine countryside: a brewery.
See, Sancerre has always been about legendary white wine, and the notion of having a local brewery in the form of Brasserie Sancerroise floored me. Located in what felt like the middle of nowhere, Sancerre, this charming little brewery still uses traditional methods and recipes. They also make beer jellies and candied wines.
Inside, I was told by the nice vendeuse that a) I was allowed to take photos, and b) these are their best sellers:
- La Sancerroise (Blonde) – An earthy, soft, round blonde beer with hints of green lentils and berries.
- La Sancerroise au “Gruyt” – An award winning Belgian style beer that used herb and spices instead of hops, using methods done in the Middle Ages.
Unfortunately, my imagination can only get me so far… It’s still extremely hot where I’m sitting right now. Excuse me while I indulge in an ice cold beer and cool down.