Monthly Archives: May 2015

Last Bits of Manila Summer

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cooler

Yummy, refreshing, home made, bloat-fighting flavoured water

…and I’m spending it in the pool as much as I could.

Seriously.

Swimming is an amazing, cooling workout (and allows me to work on my tan).

Now. I’m not Adriana Lima (how I wish I could have that body, though!), nor do I aspire to be. I’m 32, my metabolism has shot itself ages ago, and my genes are going against me… At a certain point, I have to be realistic.

I just have to make sure I show a little less belly in my bathing suits.

With that in mind, I’ve had to increase my fitness “regimen”… Eating less (I’m missing pizza!), eating more veggies, having regular yoga sessions, and finding time to work out.

What does that have to do with beverages, you ask?

I found a recipe online that reduces bloating and refresh you at the same time.

You basically have a pitcher of water, put it some lemon slices (I like TONS of it), cucumber, mint, ginger, and a little apple cider vinegar.

It’s actually very refreshing, and I did notice an improvement with the bloating.

Admittedly, I don’t possess enough patience (or time) to assemble it myself. This is also my runabout way of thanking our super awesome yaya for making sure there is always a pitcher ready for me.

Cheers!

Great Scotch!

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After a particularly amazing dinner with one of our favourite couples in Singapore, Chad and I were invited to come over and check out their place.

lookit that scotch

Lookit all that Scotch!

Admittedly, they had me at “Islay collection”.

Islay is home to some of the most iconic Scotch whiskies. I have always loved reading about Islay for the “controversy”: Some argue that the terroir is inauthentic (the water used may or may not be from city mains, the malt may be European and not necessarily Scottish, etc). There was also the notion about thirty years ago that it was too smoky and too rough (as well as lacking in character) to be considered palatable.

These days, however, Islay whisky* is all about the peat.

Before I talk about that, let me backtrack and explain a very simplified version of making whisky/whiskey:

  • Grow then harvest grain
  • Add malt (optional)
  • Grind/mill the grain and/or malt
  • Mash/cook grain and/or malt
  • Ferment
  • Distill
  • Age
  • Blend
  • Bottle

Voila! Whisky/whiskey.

Peat comes into play because Islay uses peat fires to dry malted barley. This gives Islay whisky a distinct smoky flavour (or “peatiness”).

great scotch - octomore

The incredibly peaty Octomore

The Islay whiskies we tried that night were particularly peaty: The first was the Octomore (registering at 100 ppm in terms of peatiness level… Most whiskies register only up to 50 ppm). They made me try some without water or ice, and I was amazed… Octomore was so smoky; the smell clung to the glass long after the drink was gone.

great scotch - lagavulin

Lagavulin 16

I have always been a traditionalist, so I knew I had to have some of the Lagavulin on the table. It was the iconic one: The 16 year old single malt. Intensely peaty, it also has a powerful mouthfeel to it.

To add to the experience, there was so much conversation, art, music, and overall GV that night.

I also got to touch a Rickenbacker guitar (I’ve only seen them in music videos, particularly Slash’s 12 string). OMG.

What’s your favourite whisky/whiskey region? Cheers!

*Whisky is used for Scottish (Scotch, Single or Blended Malt) and Canada whiskies.

Whiskey is used for Irish and American whiskeys (like   Bourbon, which is unique to Kentucky).

Special thanks to A&B for having us over!

Sun. Food. Lake. Wine.

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I know… I’ve been complaining so much about the migraine-inducing heat these days.

We’re averaging at a high of 35°C with a real feel of about 43°C lately, and I couldn’t help but get wistful… I wish I were in a cooler area, surrounded by a tranquil body of water, the sun being there but not brutally burning me, with a glass of wine and good food.

As I wondered why this image is so vivid in my head, I remembered: I was in such a place once.

lake

Gorgeous view from our lunch table in Maule

Via Wines in Maule, Chile.

There was nothing more splendid than having one of their gorgeous wines while trying to take a bad photo of the place (it was impossible, by the way… It was too picturesque and perfect).

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A fabulous bottle of Oveja Negra

The wine we had that day was perfect for the sunny afternoon, the appropriately named Oveja Negra (“Black Sheep”). It was one of those unusual but beautiful wines… A white made out of both red* and white grapes. It was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Carmenere, which was both refreshing and full-bodied enough to pair well with the traditional Chilean empanadas we had.

empanadas

Soft, deliciously superb, traditional Chilean empanadas

What do you want to do to cool off right now? Cheers!

*Facty-fact: You can make white wines out of red grapes by removing the skin before fermentation 😉

2shots away from Singapore Traditions

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Chad and I had four full days in Singapore on our last trip.

In reality, Chad had two days for work, two days to spend with me. I had two days to gallivant as I pleased, and two days to spend with Chad.

In a previous trip, I decided to do cultural/historical related things: understand different religions by going on tours in a Hindu temple and Islam mosque, go to the Kranji war cemetery, walk around Little India, visit the Tampines war museum, explore the Singapore National Museum as well as the Peranakan musem.

Phew.

This year, however, I decided to explore drinking in Singapore.

I did need material for the blog.

#shamelessplugging

I realised that I actually have developed some beverage-related traditions when I travel to places… Here are some of my traditional drink must-haves in Singapore:

sling

Singapore Sling from the original source: Raffles’ Long Bar, Singapore

SINGAPORE SLING

The cocktail was created in the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel before 1915 by a Hainanese bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon. It is composed of gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine, grenadine, pineapple juice, lime juice, and Angostura bitters. Initially, the Singapore Sling was made as a sweet beverage with a dose of alcohol snuck in for female bar patrons (once upon a time, female drinkers were frowned upon).

What’s amazing is that people can still have the cocktails from its birthplace, still see the old-fashioned “ceiling fans”, and participate in the traditional disposing of nutshells on the floor.

brewerkz - tradition

Brewerkz Beer!

BREWERKZ – CLARK QUAY

Chad and I always manage to visit the oldest and largest microbrewery in Singapore (whether intentionally or otherwise).

On this trip, we decided to catch up with an old college buddy who has spent about seven years in Singapore. We thought of Brewerkz since he and I used to drink up a storm in college.

Like finding time to visit him, it is tradition for us to enjoy a couple of pints of Brewerkz beer. For this visit, we had the recommended Centennial Pale Ale from the Single Hop Series. It was a little citrusy, a bit floral, and a whole lot of bitter.

We decided to have an even more traditional beer afterwards: a dark stout (Guinness is all over Singapore and I wanted to try a home brewed version). The Oatmeal Stout was smooth and silky, with flavors of coffee and chocolate.

Delicious. So were the Wagyu burgers.

LAU PA SAT FESTIVAL MARKET

I firmly believe in the notion that a country’s culture is reflected in their street food.

While Singapore is no exception, they are also well known for their cleanliness. So, unlike the Philippines’ turo-turos, they have immaculately clean facilities that house several food stalls featuring local cuisine: the hawker centers.

This being a beverage blog let me focus on the “street beverages”.

milo dinosaur

Throwback to 2010: Milo Dinosaur

One of my favorite street drinks in Singapore is the Milo Dinosaur. It is essentially an iced Milo topped with Milo powder, and is oh-so-yummy.

This year, Chad and I went with the cabbie’s recommendation of Lau Pa Sat (“I promise, lady, local food with local prices!”).

It did not disappoint.

sugar cane - traditions

Yummy, fresh sugar cane juice!

Not only did I have the best Indian buttered chicken EVER; I had a fresh (and I mean FRESH) sugar cane juice. It was so fresh that the lady only juiced the sugar cane when I ordered. It was mildly sweet, rather earthy, and beautifully refreshing. It went perfectly well with the spicy food.

horlicks

Horlicks (most groceries in Singapore)

HORLICKS MALTED DRINK

I first learned about Horlicks from a friend of ours who had lived in Singapore for over a year. He brought a pack of it home for us during one of his breaks.

We fell in love with it.

It’s beautifully malty, light, and just hits the spot if I’m craving for a quick, healthy snack.

Naturally, I bought packs to take home the first chance I could.

What are your travel drink traditions? Do share them. Cheers!

#2shotsaway from Carlton Hotel, Singapore

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After careful deliberation with my brilliant husband (marketing extraordinaire), we’ve decided to use “2shotsaway” as a tagline (check out the new tab!).

To kick-start the idea, I would like to start off with telling you about the hotel we stayed in, the Carlton (I promise this isn’t paid, and I won’t go into travel-blog mode).

The moment my husband and I landed, we promptly had drinks with one of our best friends, K.

K and I share a love of anything adventurous, gastronomic, and alcoholic. Despite the fact that she was flying off to Boracay THAT SAME NIGHT (giving us about an hour to drink catch up), we decided to hole up in the lobby bar (Gravity Bar) and drink.

white lady - carlton

One of the coolest bartenders on earth, Karan, and his creation, the White Lady.

She and I decided to have some of the bartender Karan’s recommendation: The White Lady. After reassuring him that we can take the “strong version” (bad idea if you have a FLIGHT TO CATCH or have JUST LANDED), we enjoyed the refreshing, lethal cocktail made with a vodka base and sweet flavors (the recipe of which I never got Karan to ‘fess up).

Needless to say, the following day, I was groping around for coffee before I even went to the café for breakfast (Chad had to go to a business meeting). I was desperate enough to (gasp!) go for a 3-in-1 sachet in the room (a standard in most hotels).

nespresso - carlton

Nespresso Essenza – A lifesaver!

Thankfully, my taste buds were saved from an abominable fate, as there was a (drumroll) Nesspresso Essenza in the room. It made for an easy morning coffee before I had more downstairs.

After breakfast, I packed up complimentary bottled water from the hotel and headed out (cheapskate). The name of the bottlers pleasantly surprised me: DR. WHO.

who - cartlton

Just a touch disappointed that neither Tardis nor David Tennant popped up *lol*

After half expecting Tardis to pop up, pick me up, and make me travel through time, I knew: I was in the right hotel.

More of my drink adventures in SG in my next entry.

Do you have any of your own Singapore adventures to share? Cheers!

yy - carlton

I only caught “YY” on his name tag, but man… His happiness is one of the most infectious ones on the planet

*Extra special shout-out to the happiest, most cheerful, all-knowing, efficient, courteous, and helpful doorman that I’ve ever met in all my 32 years. You are THE definition of hospitality. Carlton and Singapore should be proud to have you. I promise that if we can get Pacquiao to meet you, we will. 😀

#2shotsfromafar vs #2shotsabroad

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My husband (marketing genius extraordinaire) and I thought that 2shots should also chronicle some beverage adventures we have abroad.

We are still keeping in mind that the focus is on beverages, the Pinoy audience, and keeping it far away from being a travel blog.

Of course, exploring a place away from home means I would have a minuscule amount of time to blog… Please be patient with me. 😀

I normally post photos of travel-related drinks on the Facebook fan page, though. Please like: https://www.facebook.com/2shotsandapint

I also re-post interesting stuff I find online there, so feel free to have fun with it.

For the meantime, please help us decide a good hashtag for travel drinks. So far, the candidates are #2shotsfromafar (from Leica) and #2shotsabroad (from Mikey).

Let us know what you think.

Meanwhile, allow me to post something touristy from last night’s Raffles adventures.

Singapore Sling, straight from the original source

Singapore Sling, straight from its original source

Cheers!

PS:

Late Entry from Uich: #2shotsaway