Beer is the most preferred Alcoholic drink in the Philippines. (Gin is a very close 2nd) The most famous and widely known brand is San Miguel Pale Pilsen. San Mig Light, is also popular, mostly preferred by the Yuppies and the younger drinkers. Beer na Beer is a close competitor for San Miguel. Gold Eagle Beer is more common to the Rural Areas of the Philippines. Colt 45 and Red Horse beer is favored by hard drinkers. The local slang for Beer is “Kalawang” which is the Tagalog word for “Rust” since beer seem to take the color of rust. Other beer labels include Lone Star, Lone Star Light, Lone Star Ultra, Carlsberg, , San Miguel Superdry, San Mig Strong Ice, and just recently, Coors Light.
If beer is “Kalawang” or rust, then Gin is called “Stainless”. The Ginebra San Miguel brand is the most well known brand. It’s the most selling gin brand in the world, although it is mainly sold in the Philippines. The Ginebra San Miguel brand even earned some monikers for their Gin products. The small round bottle is called “Bilog” (round) for its shape, and the bigger square shaped bottle is called “Kwadro Kantos” (Four Corners). GSM Blue is a variant of Ginebra San Miguel gin which is said to be smoother in taste. Gin Kapitan and London Gin brands are also sold in the market, but nowhere near the sales of Ginebra San Miguel. Gin has also come to be known as “Gin-Bulag” (Bulag is Tagalog for “blind”) since it is said that drinking too much Gin would make you go blind.
Rum and Brandy
Tanduay is the most popular brand of Rum. As with the Gin, the Tanduay bottles have also earned monikers of their own. The smaller bottle is called “Lapad” (wide) because of their distinctive wide-bodied bottles. The tall round bottles are often called “Tore” (Tower). Emperador is a close second to the Tanduay brand. The Tondenia Premium Rum and Anejo 65 Rum brands are also sold but is not as commonly known as Tanduay nor Emperador. Barcelona, Genoroso, and Gran Matador are the popular brands of brandy.
Other liquors are also sold here in the Philippines, but Gin, Beer, Rum, and Brandy are the most popular drinks. Cossack Vodka and Antonov Vodka are a local Vodka brands.
Don Enrique Mixkila is supposedly a combination of Tequila and distilled spirits. Erg is as brand of Alcotonic, which only has 5.5 proof alcohol content. Q-Shandy and Cali are brands of NABs (Non-Alcoholic Beer). Vino Kulafu and Siok Tong are brands of some sort of Chinese wine and is popular among the older drinkers (55 years old and up) specially in the Rural areas.
Original Filipino Alcoholic Concoctions
Gin Pomelo is a cocktail made out of Gin, Pomelo Juice Powder, and crushed ice. It became the drink of choice for the younger drinkers back in the late 1990’s when Tang introduced its “Litro Pack” line of powdered Juices.
This simple concoction is made up of two 500ml bottles of Red Horse beer mixed with one small bottle of gin. It is then poured into a large pitcher and a big chunk of ice is added into it. Some put two “Storck” brand menthol candies into the mix. It was called expired since drinkers say it tastes like “expired beer”.
Kagatan is the Tagalog word for “Biting”. But biting has nothing to do with this cocktail. It was called “Kagatan” because the ingredients for this drink are KApe (kape, coffee), GAtas (gatas, milk) and TANduay (the Tanduay brand of Rum).
So called because this drink was apparently invented in the Island of Boracay. It is the said to be the Filipino version of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It is made up of Rum, beer, chocolate malt powder, evaporated milk, gin, and finely ground peanuts.
This drink has made quite a stir from its name alone since “Libog” mean “Libido” in Tagalog. Rumor has it that this drink acts like an aphrodisiac, hence the name. But the truth is that it got the name from its ingredients: CALI for the Cali brand of non alcoholic beer, B for Beer, and OG comes from lambanog.