food + drinks by Isabella Argosino

Buzzed on a Budget: DIY Convenience Store Cocktails

Who says you can’t pop bottles at your local Ministop? Manila’s top mixologists, Cedric Cello, Erwan Heussaff, and Sonny Thakur show us how.

We’d love to get drenched in champagne showers, but we can’t all be Jay Gatsby or Kylie Jenner on a hot day. Fortunately, Erwan Heussaff of Niner Ichi Nana, Sonny Thakur of The Curator, and Cedric Cello of Hooch show us how we, too, can get our booze fill for much, much less.

Using affordable ingredients you can find at your corner Ministop or Puregold, or even lurking around your own cupboard, follow our guest mixologists’ easy recipes and you’ll have yourself buzzed sooner than you can say “Sex on the Beach.”

Cocktails 013_editInuman ni Juan by Cedric Cello
While some drinkers steer clear of pure lambanog for fear of its potent kick and images of crazy provincial titos, this flavorful spirit actually makes for a versatile cocktail base. “Lambanog is a popular drink around many of our country’s provinces,” Cedric explains. “I want to elevate this cultural drink and provide an easier way to drink it.” Owing to the evolving nightlife industry in Manila, he claims that Filipinos deserve to have their own brand of spirit to be proud of. “That’s why I named it ‘Inuman ni Juan.’

Infused 180ml lambanog
20 mint leaves
6 slices of 1-inch sliced cucumbers
2 bar spoons of brown sugar
3 pieces of lime wedges

1. Combine lambanog, mint leaves, and cucumbers. Leave overnight.
2. After, take 60ml of your lambanog mixture.
3. Mix with brown sugar and lime wedges.
4. Muddle all ingredients in a rock glass.
5. Add crushed ice.
6. Stir garnish with mint cucumber and lime.

Cocktails 049_editCanto Siete by Erwan Heussaff
Think back to your childhood days when Frutos candy was a coveted after-school special. Tamarind was usually the last to go, because how could it stand against the beloved, familiar tastes of strawberry or orange? But this time, tamarind – in all its tangy, distinct glory – lends its punch to this fresh concoction.

30ml Tanduay Select Blended Rum
30ml Emperador Brandy
30ml fresh pineapple juice
60ml Pale Pilsen beer
Moniegold candy for tamarind syrup

1. Muddle the pineapple juice.
2. To make the tamarind syrup, take the Moniegold candy and double the amount in water.
3. Boil the candy mix until you get a syrup consistency.
4. Place all ingredients in a tall glass and fill with crushed or pearl ice.
5. Swizzle with a stick of a bar spoon.
6. Top with more ice.
7. Serve with a straw.

Cocktails-084_editSPF by Sonny Thakur
In a tropical country with only two climates (‘hot’ and ‘really hot’), you’d think it would be easy to feel like it’s a summer holiday everyday. But alas, the Manila city grind has to be had. If you can’t go on a beach trip, drink it instead. “Remember that first road trip you took with your summer sweetheart? This is that,” describes Sonny. “She rented surfboards for two and assured you everything will be alright, [as you] swam and laughed and watched the sun set.”

10ml coconut syrup
30ml freshly squeezed lime juice (or one fat piece of lime)
60ml Bacardi White or Havana Club White
4-5oz Creso Coconut Soda (available at Family Mart/SM Hypermart)
10ml Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum (optional; non-budget)

1. To make coconut syrup, combine equal parts coconut sugar and water. Let sugar dissolve.
2. In a tall glass, combine two teaspoons of coconut syrup with lime juice and two ounces of white rum, plus ice.
3. Top with coconut soda.
4. Optional: add a bit of Overproof rum to make this drink sing.

Photos by Cereaal Studio (@cereaalstudio)
Drinks Mixed by Rj Dimla
Sittings by Sam Potenciano

Isabella Argosino
Isabella—better known as Argo (yes, like the movie)—is a freelance writer with too many thoughts and not nearly enough outlets for shameless self-expression. When she's not busy preaching the gospel of skin care (sunscreen is a MUST!), she finds fulfillment in jazz, a platter of sushi, and denim jackets. Follow her on Twitter at @argowho.
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