Time flies when you’re having fun. And before you know it, you’re already part of the infamous Titas and Titos of Manila, having merienda at Mary Grace (which I hear is the ultimate “Tita” place), trying to figure out what the new slang is, and complaining about how loud bars have become. It’s like we blinked and now the best plan for a Friday night is to get a massage and sleep.

It’s good to look back every once in a while to reminisce about the good old days, when we would sneak out of the house, stay up all night, without a care in the world. Come with me as I take a trip down memory lane, and all the way back to the turn of the century (late ‘90s to early ‘00s). This was when the Y2K bug was the biggest concern, you needed a landline to connect to the Internet, and when Britney was bigger than Beyoncé. Let’s take a look at—and a sip of—some of the drinks we liked back then.

SUPER SUBMARINE

(See Recipe)

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This was a staple at Penguin (RIP) in Remedios, Malate. Take a bottle of Red Horse beer, pour it into a large beer mug and drop a shot of lambanog (coconut vodka) and enjoy this cold beverage that is sure to give you a swift kick. The sweetness of the lambanog (from Quezon, not the mass-produced flavored ones you see in convenience stores) balances the strong malty bitterness of the beer.

SOJU + YAKULT

(See Recipe)

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Who would’ve thought that Yakult, the innocuous milky-yogurty drink in the iconic little plastic bottle (Remember the commercial with the cartoon “good bacteria?” Lactobacilli Shirota strain!) could be paired with alcohol. It seems unlikely, but paired with Soju (Korean distilled rice liquor), it definitely works! Just mix equal parts Yakult and Soju in a glass with ice and you have yourself a sweet, creamy drink—like lassi—with a hint of alcohol.

WENG-WENG

(See Recipe)

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This drink, which is kind of like a Long Island Iced Tea when it comes to the number of spirits in it, is something that will surely get you buzzed in no time. Nobody really knows how the name came about. It’s said that it’s named after diminutive action star of the 1970s, Ernesto de la Cruz, who was better known as Weng Weng. Another story has it that the drink was called that because it’s the local slang for “totally wasted,” which, if you’re not careful and pace yourself, will happen to you. This cocktail is very spirit forward, and the alcohol balanced by the sweetness of the juices. Honestly, it kind of tastes like bad decisions.

GINOCOLAIT

(See Recipe)

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The gin of choice way back then was Ginebra (bilog or kwatro kantos), also called gin bulag because there were rumors it would make you go blind. Now we’ve already tackled the Gin-Pom (gin-pomelo), also from this era. Another gin combo that you might (or might not, depending on how much you were drinking) remember is Ginocolait = gin and Chocolait. One more wholesome drink from childhood mixed with liquor. I know some of you might grimace at the thought of mixing gin with chocolate milk, but the result is surprisingly yummy. The taste is predominantly chocolatey, with just a slight gin flavor. It’s like a poor man’s Bailey’s.

COSMOPOLITAN

(See Recipe)

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Sex and the City (1998-2004) was groundbreaking. No one had ever seen anything like it before. No show before it centered on the lives of four single women in their 30s. It openly discussed sex, tackled relationship hits and misses, and showed real female friendship. It dictated fashion and set trends. We all tried to see which ones in our group was the Carrie, or the Charlotte. The show (let’s just skip the movies) left a lasting impression on the culture, and their influence even reached the drinking world, where they made the Cosmopolitan the ultimate go-to cocktail. This fruity, citrusy, sexy drink is something you can enjoy by yourself, but it would definitely taste better with a group of friends.


OTHER DRINKS

There are other drinks that we drank from that era. The combo of Gilbey’s Gin and Island Lime comes to mind. Just line up the bottles and watch the gin and mixer blend together. The usual vodka Sprite was also a staple back then, though when we felt a little fancy, we would mix Absolut Kurant with 7 Up and top it with a cherry. We’d also class up a rum coke (made with Tanduay Rum) with a bit of calamansi; the added citrus takes it to another level. There is also something we used to make called LPG, meaning “Lasing Pero Gising” (drunk but awake), that could rival the vodka Red Bull. It’s made of Red Horse and Extra Joss (energy powder). Make sure that you drink some of the beer before you put some of the powder in (do not, I repeat, do not put all of the powder in one go; one sachet is good for three or four bottles) because it will cause a reaction and bubble up before settling down, and what you have is something that tastes like Mountain Dew with a hint of beer.

It’s good to revisit the past every once in a while and see how much we’ve changed and marvel at the reckless things we’ve done (and survived). It’s also good to see how far we’ve come, in terms of the drinks that we have and enjoy. It’s like a rite of passage, going through this phase in drinking. And we’ve come out the other side, knowing better (at least we hope so) and with a more developed taste in drinks.

Drinkmanila.com is your learned drinking buddy who can tell you what to drink, what you’re drinking and where to drink. Learn about the coolest and the latest bars in the metro, or the newest beverage or new product out in the market, or have fun creating enjoyable drinks from our features and videos within the comfort of your homes.

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