People close enough to me know that it takes a really, really good reason to get me to Makati these days (for perspective, I live about 21km away from Makati now, and the nightmarish traffic of that area has convinced me not to frequent my old neighbourhood).
A good reason for me to go there on my own volition (read: without kicking, screaming, and suffering from anxiety at the notion of spending two hours in a car then eventually having to pay through the nose for parking, if I’m lucky to find one) is a mind-blowing, knock-your-socks-off drink (or two three four five)…
…Preferably during the afternoon, because day-drinking (and CBD’s traffic around the afternoon) isn’t as bad as one may think*.
One of the places I go to for a proper afternoon drink is Belle & Dragon. They have come up with brand-new cocktails (and matching yummy bar chow) in celebration of their fourth year anniversary, which cater to the office lunch and pre-dinner crowd. They also get extra points for having reasonably priced Happy Hour Cocktails (from 4-7pm) for only (drumroll please) PHP150, all in.
Here are the cocktails featured on their new menu:
The Wrong Iced Tea
The first thought after I’ve had a sip was, “How can something so right be so wrong?” Cheesy attempt at being witty aside, Belle & Dragon’s take on a classic Long Island Iced Tea is a truly yummy way to unwind after a long day… After all, it is a potent cocktail made with rum vodka and gin, all local brands for an added twist of course. Pro-tip: Health conscious people can request to switch the soda to a diet version.
Belle All The Way
My Asian side is a huge fan of Yakult in everything: In a bottle, in ice cream, in candy… Everything! This is why the idea of putting Yakult in a cocktail (the marriage of two of my favourite things!) is just heavenly to me. Mixed with Jinro and Midori, the Yakult added a creamy element to it that I liked.
This cocktail made with vodka, calamansi juice, elderflower syrup and lychee syrup is a rich, aromatic concoction. It’s equal parts sweet and sour, and could pair well with Belle & Dragon’s Spicy Orange Chicken (also a new addition to the pub’s menu).
Dark and Bolder
The short tiki drink, which had pineapple juice and elderflower syrup, packed a flavourful punch. It’s easy enough to drink it on its own, but I’d rather have it with the Monster Loaded BBQ Fries for a flavour-on-flavour action.
My personal favourite of the bunch, the mix of cucumber, mint, and lime juice is perfect for a hot day, or with greasy bar chow. I loved it with Belle & Dragon’s Dragon Kaldereta because it cut through the fat and balanced the richness of the dish.
Spice Me Up!
The cocktail was named after the predominance of ginger in the drink. It sounds a little intimidating on paper, of course, but it was actually delicious with the lime juice. I thought it was lovely with the White Chicken Rice (Belle & Dragon’s homage to Hainanese Chicken) because it ended up being a full-on Asian flavour odyssey.
Bonus: In keeping with the site’s equity, I don’t primarily talk about food (except in the context of pairing them with drinks), but I’d just like to say that the Matcha Cheesecake on the menu is a must-try.
…and Extra Bonus:
LOOK AT THIS SPREAD. I MEAN, C’MON.
People thirsty (and hungry!) for more can visit Belle & Dragon in OPL Building, 100 Don Carlos Palanca, Legazpi Village, Makati (11:30am-3:00am everyday). For more information and reservations, call +632-6258828 or +63917-6258828. For updates, follow them on Facebook and Instagram: @thebelleanddragon.
*According to a nutritionist friend of mine, it’s actually healthier to drink during the day as opposed to right before bed, because it allows the body more time to metabolise the fat from the alcohol. As with drinking at night, of course, drinking in excess is still bad for one’s health.