Poblacion has never been short on bars to try when you’re out looking for a good drink. Whether if it’s a complex cocktail or just a cold bottle of beer, this Makati night life district has an assortment of watering holes for whatever it is you’re thirsty for. There are the usuals like Agimat along Alfonso street if you’re looking for ornately made Filipino-inspired cocktails. If it’s a good glass of vino you’re in need of, there’s Dr. Wine on Algier street. And if you’re looking for a unique kick, as well as some creative Filipino food to go along with it, Lampara might be the new place for you to try.
Lampara is mainly known for its modern Filipino fare but their creativity extends to their bar menu as well. Resident bartender, Lawrence Soriano, served up some of their signature cocktails for us to try as well as sharing the background and inspiration behind each one.
Gasera ni Simoun
Named after El Filibusterismo’s ‘explosive’ conclusion, this rum-based cocktail is made with Don Papa rum and homemade beer syrup for sweetness. Grapefruit juice is mixed in for that slight sharp taste and the gasera part comes in with a burnt rosemary adding a herbaceous smoke flavor to the drink. The warmth of the rum pairs well with the smoke of the rosemary making for a deep profile that is lightened with the grapefruit juice and syrup.
Pana Kakana Kana
A personal favorite of mine. This cocktail with its tongue twister name is inspired by its spice heavy ingredients, Lawrence shares. With black pepper infused Bombay Sapphire as a base, you get that spicy kick off the bat. Mixed in, we have cardamom syrup (another spice) for a sweet balance and Angostura bitters for depth. Spicy as it is, it’s a refreshing and light drink. Its spicy sweet blend is carried well by the gin and the bitters deepen the cocktail’s profile. The dichotomy in flavor, that oddly works, makes the Pana Kakana Kana a highlight in their bar menu.
Bonus, a little challenge they have in Lampara is if you can say the cocktail’s name seven times in fifteen seconds you get a free shot. So better start practising.
For our last cocktail we have the Tinutong. A bourbon whiskey-based drink that has a carb-esque flavor. The whiskey is infused with barley tea mixed in with roasted rice syrup and orange bitters for that bittersweet note. Finally, it’s topped off with toasted rice for garnish. You can taste the rice in every sip and I mean that in a good way. The cocktail isn’t weighed down with all its carb-heavy ingredients, there’s a toasted sweetness to its taste that mingles well with the rich heat of the whiskey.
Two other cocktails round out Lampara’s signature drinks, the Asiong and Gayuma ni Albano. Though I’ve yet to try these drinks this time, I can only assume they taste as multi-layered as the ones I’ve already tried. Witty as Lawrence is with naming these cocktails, this wit also shows in their flavor. Lampara has already made a name for itself with its contemporary dishes, it’s about time their drinks get the same recognition.
Lampara Neo-Filipino Bistro is located at 5883 Enriquez, Poblacion, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila. For reservations contact (0917) 173-5883.
Read our food review on Lampara here.
Photos by Miguel Abesamis