Sunday, December 6, 2015

Philippine Craft Spirits: The Best of the Philippines in a Bottle

The country's oldest distillery expands its line of Philippine Craft Spirits, offering the best of the Philippines in a bottle...

Now on its 163rd year, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. showcases the very best of the Philippines with its line of Philippine Craft Spirits. Drawing inspiration from the richness of local and regional traditions, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. formally launched three new products in its growing line of Philippine Craft Spirits, the Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine, or Basi; the Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine, and the Imeldifique Cooking Wine at Victorino's Restaurant. Finally, modern technology and tradition blend in an innovative fusion through a collaborative project between Destileria Limtuaco & Co. and local governments of Ilocos  for  regional spirits.

Held at Victorino's Restaurant in Quezon City, the launch highlighted the unique flavors of Ilocos to complement Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s new Philippine Craft Spirits. The signature produce of the region, including garlic, onions, and dragon fruit, were used as a design theme throughout the interiors of Victorino's Restaurant. 

Eleven years ago, then Governor Deogracias Victor "DV" Savellano dreamed of elevating the traditional Basi for a wider, and global market. In collaboration with Destileria Limtuaco & Co., they embarked on an epic journey of rediscovery, recreating the traditional Ilocano wine made from sugarcane juice, boiled and steeped with local herbs such as Samak, a native tree bark, and Kariskis, and stored in traditional clay jars called Burnay. In a seamless combination of tradition and technology, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. unveils its newest product in its line of Philippine Craft Spirits with Ilocano Basi, Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine.

Ilocos is also known for its bountiful harvests of Dragon Fruit, sparking another fruitful collaboration with Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Initiated by Governor Imee Marcos, and encouraged by the on-going development for Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine in Ilocos Sur, the dragon fruit offered a unique product opportunity for Ilocos Norte. The fruit itself is low in fermentable sugar, however, through the company's expertise and experience in fermentation and R&D, a high-quality product was eventually produced, with Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine. The vibrant magenta-colored wine retains the subtle sweet and tart notes of the dragon fruit for a unique flavor experience of the north. The innovative product led to another successful collaboration between Governor Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte with Destileria Limtuaco & Co., this time using Sorghum, common to the region, infused with the other agricultural staples of the province, garlic and onions, for a unique local cooking wine with a hint of "ginisa" or saute flavors common in local cuisine. With Imeldifique Cooking Wine, you can recreate the flavors of the north, with its pronounced garlic and onion notes, at home. The wine can be used to marinate meats, seafood and saute in oil, bake or fry. It can also be added to stews for an instant natural sauteed flavor and aroma. The line of Philippine Craft Spirits from Destileria Limtuaco & Co., in essence, represents the best of the region, and the country, in a bottle. 

And Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s line of Philippine Craft Spirits continues to grow, showcasing the best of the Philippines to the world, allowing a new generation to rediscover local spirits (more on Destileria Limtuaco's line of Philippine Craft Spirits like the Liqueur de Manilla Dalandan on my previous post here, regional Ilonggo cuisine paired with local cocktails made with Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s spirits here, and inventive local-inspired cocktails here).

At Victorino's Restaurant, the book Naimas! The Food Heritage of Ilocos Sur (L) by Deogracias Victor "DV" Savellano, Vice-Governor of Ilocos Sur, and certified Culinarian Heny Sison was also formally launched alongside Destileria Limtuaco's new products for its Philippine Craft Spirits series.   

The traditional and distinct flavors of the North were highlighted throughout the evening, from starters to mains and desserts, including Patopat (L), Broas (R) and signature dishes by Victorino's Restaurant, known for its flavorful Ilocano dishes. 

Traditional Ilocano favorites, like the iconic Ilocos Empanada, were served throughout the evening...

...along with other traditional flavors reinvented, like the Pinakbet Salad with talong, kamote, okra, utong, ampalaya, and kamatis topped with thinly sliced Bagnet resembling bacon and drizzled with shrimp paste dressing.

Other dishes served that evening included Poqui-Poqui (L) made with eggplant and tomatoes, and huge slabs of Chicharon (R), crunchy pork rinds served with Sukang Iloko. And the crunchy chicharon paired really well with chilled Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine with its deep and mildly sweet and smoky notes. 

Trays of bite-sized Empanaditas with a savory pork stuffing were also served, along with even more rounds of Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine and Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine.

To complete the Ilocano feast, trays of crispy pork Bagnet added a distinctly local and festive vibe to the launch...

...and a comforting bowl of Sinanglaw, a hearty Ilocano stew made with beef innards, rounded out the Ilocano flavors for the evening.

More rounds of Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine and the brightly colored Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine were served, as the main dishes were presented at the Carving Station, adding to the festive and celebratory vibe at Victorino's Restaurant.

The Cochinillo with Carimbwaya, with the mild notes of the slow-roasted suckling pig stuffed with local cactus pairing well with the sweet and smoky Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine and the sweet, tart, and fruity flavor of the Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine.

Lechon Baka paired with Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine, perfect.

The evening was a celebration of local flavors, made even more special with free-flowing Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine (L) and Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine (R). And you can expect even more new products  from Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s growing Philippine Craft Spirits line as more local regional spirits are explored.

Comfortingly familiar yet refreshingly new. Rediscover local spirits with Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s Philippine Craft Spirits...the best of the Philippines in a bottle.

Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s Vigan Philippine Sugarcane Wine (Basi), Dragon Fire Dragon Fruit Wine, and Imeldifique Cooking Wine will be available at Unimart, Cash & Carry, Landmark, Tesoro's, Rustan's Department Store, Shopwise and specialty stores like SM Kultura, Tesoro's Wines and other selected groceries. For online orders, you can visit Destileria Limtuaco & Co.'s e-commerce store at

Victorino's Restaurant is located at 114 Scout Rallos corner 11th Jamboree, Quezon City or call 922-8558 for inquiries and more information.

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