In my previous post about the Destileria Limtuaco Museum, I mentioned availing of a wine tasting upgrade – which I will be tackling in this entry. Here are the museum’s admission details to refresh your memory. Admission costs P100, but senior citizens and students can avail of a P50 entrance fee when a valid ID is presented. The wine tasting costs an additional P100 on top of the entrance fee, but it is only for visitors 18 years old and above.
The guide led me to the mini bar as soon as we finished the tour. It didn’t occupy a large area of the museum so big groups who might want to try out the wines may not be able to find a seat. I checked out the souvenir shop while the museum guide prepared the shot glasses. Merchandise such as mini bottles, full-size liquors, glasses, T-shirts, flasks, and a lot more were sold on the spot; even mangosteen jam from the company’s factory in Mindanao!
Now, the moment of truth. One of the staff members explained how the wine tasting session goes. Visitors who avail of this can have six shots of liquor from Destileria Limtuaco’s diverse cellars—all ice-cold! I had no idea if you could have multiple shots of one liquor, but that would defeat the purpose of a wine tasting – which is to sample a wide range of liquors one hasn’t tried before.
(Just a reminder moving forward: when a liquor’s alcohol content is denoted as x proof, it means that its actual alcohol by volume in percent is half the number of x.)
The first two shots I tried are the Gaz RTD Cocktails in strawberry margarita and green appletini flavor. These contain 14 proof alcohol and come in doy packs—similar to the ones used for fruit juices—so drinkers don’t have a hard time. Both these cocktails appealed to me, with the strawberry and apple on top whilst the alcohol isn’t too pronounced. However, I’d choose the strawberry margarita out of personal preference. Two down, four to go.
I tried the Intramuros Chocolate Liqueur after these two cocktails. This 48 proof craft spirit is made from rich chocolate tablea—the same one in your grandmother’s hot chocolate. You can clearly taste the tablea with an alcohol punch; an earthy chocolate aftertaste soon follows. Intramuros Chocolate Liqueur is grittier compared to the Chocolate Mudshake Vodka drink, which is smoother and has hints of milk. As with non-alcoholic chocolate drinks, settling usually occurs on this spirit so shaking it before pouring in the shot glass is a must. Third shot down.
On a side note, this particular liqueur brings to mind Antonio Pueo. The Limpes acquired the latter company and brought it under the wing of Destileria Limtuaco. Whereas Olivia Limpe-Aw handles the distillery, her sister Patricia Limpe is in charge of chocolate purveyance. Patriarch Julius Limpe acquired the Antonio Pueo factory from its original owner Jose Maria Pueo in 1991, putting Patricia at the helm of this historical brand.
Amadeo Coffee Liqueur uses all four species of Philippine coffee—Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa—sourced from Amadeo, Cavite to create this drink. It boasts of a full body that even the 48 proof alcohol could not mask. If you ask me, it’s similar to downing a freshly brewed cup of espresso mixed with a shot of vodka. The bitterness of Amadeo Coffee Liqueur cleans up the earthy, lingering sweetness of the chocolate liqueur I previously took. Four down.
I remember seeing Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur as a cocktail ingredient at Boracay and Palawan’s beach-side bars. Today, this drink joins the rest of Destileria Limtuaco’s world-class craft spirits. If memory serves me correctly, they used Guimaras mangoes for this drink. Guimaras mangoes are known for their exceptional sweetness, so much so that the Philippines exports this mango to other countries! The lower 32 proof alcohol content lets the mangoes’ natural sweetness to emerge. The fruit welcomes drinkers at the first shot, and the rum taste follows soon after. No wonder Destileria Limtuaco even promotes it as an ingredient for cooking and baking!
I wanted my last shot to count so I chose the legendary Kung Fu Sioktong (medicinal wine.) This Chinese spirit boasts of a secret combination of herbs infused in it to promote vigor and stamina. True to its branding, the sioktong tastes of Chinese herbs and you could barely feel the 50 proof alcohol in this caramel-colored drink. I surmise this was how it tasted when it was first brewed in the 1850s.
Seeing the variety of liquors I tasted and the lack of museum patrons during that Sunday afternoon, my guide offered me a bonus shot of the Manille Liqueur de Dalandan. Manille Liqueur comes in Calamansi (calamondin) and Dalandan (citrus aurantium) variants, with the former having sour hints and the latter leaning more towards the sweet side. Regardless, he explained, both of these 55 proof citrus-based liqueurs are best for cleaning the palate. Digestifs, I mentioned—and the dalandan liqueur is a perfect example of such. True enough, it leans towards the sweeter side while retaining the citrus notes of its other variant. Dalandan is less tart compared to calamansi and it pleasantly jives well with Manille Liqueur’s vodka base.
I wanted to take home something before I left, so I checked out their available souvenir shirts. There were tees with designs based on Destileria Limtuaco’s products like White Castle Whisky, Napoleon VSOP, and Old Capatain Rum. However, I chose a shirt with the original Siok Hoc Tong logo. Why? A lot of kids nowadays wear Jack Daniels tees but have not yet tried the liquor. In my case, I tried out the liquor before getting a shirt! The staff told me that this was the most popular design out of all the shirts they have in stock. They had a hard time finding one in extra large, but they managed to find a shirt in that size.
All in all, my trip to the Destileria Limtuaco Museum was a fruitful one. I learned about the colorful history of Destileria Limtuaco—from how the company creates its signature products using local ingredients, how its brands became ingrained in Philippine society, and how the five generations of its master blenders lived their lives. Not only that, I also tasted products that support Filipino farmers and promote Filipino skill in artisan liquor production.
Destileria Limtuaco Museum is located at 482 San Juan de Letran Street, Intramuros, Manila 1002. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Entrance fee is P100 for adults and P50 for students and senior citizens. An additional wine tasting session can be availed for P100, but this is only open for patrons 18 years old and above.
Visit the Destileria Limtuaco Museum page on Facebook, or call Ann Roque at 0917-652-8935 for more information.
This ends my two-part special on the Destileria Limtuaco Museum. Until my next post, cheers to the legacy!