Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

Our family is spending the holidays in San Francisco (which explains my absence). We are loving it here. The weather is nice and chilly, the people are amazing, and the sights are so beautiful.

That being said, I admit to debating whether or not to post right now. Given the time difference, however, I want to be able to put up a post in time for New Year’s Eve in Manila.

If we were back home, we would probably be sitting in front of our window, watching the fireworks in the village across our apartment, having 12 grapes, jumping at the stroke of midnight.

Given that we are a hop skip and a jump away from California’s famous wineries, Chad’s sister’s BFF decided to treat us to a New Year’s Eve romp around Napa.

That being said, we will be welcoming the year with the best buzz ever. 😉

Coming soon, a proper look at the year that was, and a San Francisco special.

How are you spending your New Year’s Eve? If you’re in the Philippines, please don’t drink and light up a firecracker. 😉 Cheers and Happy New Year!

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A little sneak peek on the upcoming San Francisco special (shot in Fairmont Hotel San Francisco)

EGGNOG – A 2shots Christmas

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One of the first things that popped in my head when I was thinking of a holiday special was the ultimate Christmas cocktail: Eggnog.

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Festive Holiday Eggnog!

The origin of eggnog is widely debated, but there is more literature to support that it came from Europe (noggin is a Middle English term for a carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol; posset is a medieval European drink made with egg and hot milk). It eventually spread to the British colony in the 18th century. With the heavy taxation of brandy (a key ingredient in making eggnog at the time), the colonies began to use rum as a substitute. America also used the accessible bourbon as an alternative.

Today, the accepted recipe for this holiday staple is cream, rum, eggs, cognac, sugar, and cinnamon or nutmeg.

Here is my personal (not necessarily the IBA standard) recipe for eggnog.

eggnog the making

Eggnog in the Making!

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts rum (Bacardi is easy to find, but I also recommend a darker rum for added color)
  • 5 parts milk (I used low-fat milk here, but heavy cream is also recommended for a thicker consistency, and lactose intolerant people can use soy milk, almond milk, or any milk substitute)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ part simple sugar (1 part water, 1 part sugar, mixed thoroughly to make it syrupy)
  • A splash of cognac
  • A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg (I honestly prefer cinnamon for a more Christmas-y feel)
  • Ice

 

Materials Needed:

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Glass (I used a low ball for my example, but a martini glass can be used for a little panache, or a festive mug)

 

Procedure:

Mix rum, milk, egg, simple sugar, and cognac together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake well, and strain in desired glass. Add a dash of cinnamon on top. Enjoy in snuggly sweaters under a Christmas tree with your loved ones. 😉

With that, we here at 2shotsandapint would like to greet everyone Happy Holidays!

Hermès Style

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I know I’ve mentioned it in previous entries, but the holiday rush has really thrown our family for a loop. Our schedules have been insane with back-to-back parties, last minute work related matters, and errands to run before we leave for the holidays.

I finally managed to have a break today, which means I got to actually have some much-needed “me” time.

After watching the much anticipated and highly controversial Miss Universe 2015 (Yay, Pilipinas!), I spent the the rest of the day like any normal “woman with a plan” would: I had my nails done in our neighborhood nail spa, followed by a long overdue (9 months!) spa day.

I decided to really treat myself and try out the new-ish spa in our neighborhood: Hua Spa (Tordesillas Street). It was a little more expensive than most of the spas in the neighborhood, but I can vouch for the fact that it was worth it. They had eloquent and splendidly professional staff, amazing therapists, and…

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Amour Thé in an Hermès tea set

Tea.

The tea was not just the standard salabat served in some spa chains (I have nothing against salabat, but I’ve been dying for a change). They let clients choose from four varieties of TWG tea served in pretty Hermès tea sets. It felt like the epitome of luxury and relaxation.

To top it off, I had the best treatment ever: A coffee scrub. Apart from the anti-oxidant benefits (and caffeine jolt) coffee has, it’s awesome in removing cellulite. I don’t think I became a VS Angel with that one treatment, but I smelled fabulous, and my skin felt amazing.

I know this entry isn’t much, but I’m hammering out a very traditional holiday article in time for Christmas Eve (I just really needed the break today).

Let me know what you like to do on your down time. Cheers!

My Favourite Things!

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Holiday rush has definitely arrived. I have spent so many hours shopping, participated in as much revelry that an introvert could (hint: it’s not as much as the average person, but it’s certainly enough to drain my energy reserves), and drank enough booze to merit a self-imposed alcohol abstinence (if I’m not in a party).

I still say that the best part of this year’s Christmas season is Star Wars VII… In an effort to promote the movement against #spoilers, however, I will save that entry for another time.

Sorry, I needed to sneak that in… I am still emotional after watching the film during last night’s premier. In fact, I was such a mess after the film that I ended up indulging myself in some late night shopping (yay, Rockwell!).

That being said, I want to go back to the beginning of today’s entry and talk about Christmas shopping.

Over the years, some of my friends have blatantly told me that while it’s easy to figure out what to get me for Christmas (wine, duh), they constantly live in fear that the wine wouldn’t be good enough for my “taste” (seriously people, if it’s wine, I’ll drink it).

So, I’ve decided to come up with a list of really nifty beverage related things that take out the guesswork involved in purchasing booze, and who to give it to:

 

For the girly girl friend that makes anyone feel like doing a Sex and the City marathon: Cocktail-Shaped Tape Dispenser by Scotch (National Bookstore)

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Nothing says “My job makes me want booze” like this

It’s cute, practical, very pink, and makes you think of having a round of cosmos with your girls after work. Need I say more?

For the spunky friend who loves bringing his own booze to a party: Colorful Wine Skin (Gourdo’s)

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I haven’t lost this in a wine dinner yet!

I can’t tell how many times this baby has saved me during BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) dinners. Colorful enough not to lose it and too cute to be boring, this wine skin keeps wine in its optimum temperature from cellar to party.

For the dude who is a wino by day, bookworm by night (or is it the other way around…?): The New York Times Book of Wine (Fully Booked)

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One of my go-to books for drinkspiration!

This book contains 31 years of articles (156 in total). It has features from different perspectives in wine writing: challenging, humorous, out-of-the-box… Each story is full of wit, and I find that I keep learning something new from the book.

For the experimental mixologist: Arctic Chill Ice Ball Maker (arcticchillproducts.com)

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*insert jokes on blue balls here*

These spheres can be used to make ice that takes 3 hours to melt, which means a longer time for that glass of whiskey to get watered down. Bonus: They can also be used to make frozen coffee, cocktails, or juice. Yum!

 

I hope that this list helps in finding that perfect present for everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood drink fanatic. 😉

What’s your favorite drink-related present? Cheers!

Pinoy Arts and Crafts

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To be quintessentially Pinoy is to be “mixed”, and be cool with it. We Filipinos come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: Polynesian (the typical Filipinos with the enviable year-round tan), Mestizos, Filipino-Chinese…

No matter what our family’s bloodline looks like, one thing is for certain: We are generally awesome and #morefun. We win beauty pageants (we just won Miss Earth through Filipino-Chinese Angelia Ong), we are phenomenal singers (any jeepney driver can carry a tune), and we can knock out any LEGIT boxer in a ring (#shotsfired).

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Mouthwatering Juan Brew Pale Ale

Like a typical Pinoy blend, Juan Brew Pale Ale (the name couldn’t get more Pinoy) is made out of different ingredients from Germany, America, France, and parts of Europe. This recipe was conceived using the best procedures possible (as their site says, it involved “research, experimentation, late nights, and a few hangovers”), and perfected in our own shores. Also, just like us, the mix is still evolving, so…

#spoileralert

New styles will be introduced next year. 😉

Meanwhile, I find that the taste of Juan Brew Pale Ale is closer to the full-flavored pints I’ve had in London. It’s crisp, clean, well-rounded, and smells pleasantly fragrant… Perfect for a dinner with friends over pulutan (now I’m craving for proper sisig and isaw), or a hot summer day, lounging around in one of our renowned beaches.

What’s your Pinoy way of enjoying your beer? Videos of your karaoke night over beer are absolutely welcome. Tagay!

Interested in Juan Brew Pale Ale (tamaraw not included)? You can contact them through:

Telephone Number: +632 821 7181

Email: sales@juanbrew.com

Website: www.juanbrew.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/juanbrewonline

If these establishments are in your neck of the woods, you can find them here as well:

BGC

Big Bad Wolf

Makati

Mr. Delicious

Alabang

Bugsy’s

Tagaytay

Marcia Adams Restaurant

QC

Novotel

…just to name a few 😉

 

“Whatcha Upto?”

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This was the message I got from a friend last week, after I seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.

Truth is, this year’s Christmas season has been unusually frenetic for our family… Unusual amounts of travel added a certain element of chaos to the usual holiday rush of Christmas presents/parties, which is the reason why I haven’t been around.

To answer my friend’s question, here’s what I’ve been “upto”:

 

Christmas Gift Giving

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Christmas Presents All in a Row

It’s that time of year when my home office evolves into a part restaurant/beverage consultant’s office, part French student’s study nook/library, part beverage blogger’s writing haven, and Santa’s workshop. I have shopped for, wrapped, and delivered as much Christmas presents as I could before traffic and even more travel happen.

Those looking to give wine or coffee for Christmas can look at my previous entries (here and here) for recommendations (I would like to add Wine Depot as a great wine source as well… Bulk buyers can be offered discounts, and the items they have on sale are pretty good).

 

Wine Dinner

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Good Dinner, Good Wine, Good Service…

 

I was fortunate enough to catch a break and attend a multiple course “Modern Basque” themed dinner in the Tasting Room. Each delectable course was paired with beautiful Spanish wines, punctuated by great company and stupendous service… All in all, it was a fabulous treat.

 

Cocktails and Presidents

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Chic-looking Sangria over Books and History

 

Chad and I attended the book launch of “Eldpidio and Alicia – The Love Letters”. Elpidio Quirino was the 6th president of the Philippines during the postwar reconstruction.

It was difficult to find literature on his wife, Alicia Syquia, who was killed (along with three of their five children) by Japanese snipers during the Battle of Manila in 1945. It was great to see their love story, and the life of the Filipinos during the American occupation, through these intimate letters.

The launch happened over cocktails on a Saturday afternoon in Ayala Museum (I highly recommend people to see their diorama on Philippine history). I couldn’t resist taking photos of the chicest looking sangrias I’ve ever seen.

 

Singapore

I had a great (albeit short) time in Singapore… Chad had a meeting, and I took advantage of Singapore’s massive holiday sales to shop for Christmas presents (and stuff for myself, of course). I just HAD to buy a Laphroaig PX (a tremendously smoky, slightly sweet powerhouse of a single malt Islay… Just the way I like it), and a bottle of Hibiki Suntory Whisky Master’s Select (a fruity Japanese whisky with the smoothest texture on earth).

whiskey final

Whisky Shopping!

On a non-alcoholic note, I did find a lot of liquor infused chocolates, and ended up getting myself an Amarula chocolate bar. 😉

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Amarula Chocolate Bar #nomnoms

We also managed to catch up with some girl friends over coffee… I loved Coffee Club’s Aged Sumatra Mandheling. “Aged” coffee is made out of green coffee beans stored over time. This particular coffee has low acidity, extremely flavorful, and has quite the body.

sing - coffee (FINAL)

Aged to Perfection Coffee

What’s next on my agenda? Another trip out of the country, and part 2 of my “proudly pinoy” story arc.

Cheers!

Kapehan With An Old Kumpadre

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I was once again hit with a terrible bout of writer’s block (hence the absence). I ended up looking for inspiration from one of my all time favourite gourmands on the planet: Anthony Bourdain.

With the expectation of yet again capitalizing on another European beverage discovery, I decided to watch Bourdain’s No Reservations episode shot in Burgundy (featuring celebrity chef and Burgundy native, Chef Ludo).

The funny thing was, instead of finding a European inspiration, the overarching theme of the show resonated with me (I’m paraphrasing here): You really have to look to your roots to find inspiration.

I looked back at recent posts and realized that I have been featuring so many foreign beverages. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose… After all, one of the goals of this blog is to provide accessible content for Pinoys who want to learn about beverages in a safe, anti-snob environment.

The thing is, I feel I’ve let go of the other goal: Highlighting our wonderful indigenous products.

Next question was: What do I feature? Where can I find something truly Filipino and new?

I found answers from an unlikely source: A Christmas bazaar. Over the years, Christmas bazaars have exploded and have become part of the Filipino holiday tradition, so much so that many of these have popped up everywhere. St. James Bazaar is legendary for its size; the Noel Bazaar causes a bigger traffic jam than usual in Pasay with shoppers coming from all over… Of course, there’s the Rockwell Bazaar.

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Loving the #hashtag!

In Rockwell, I was particularly interested with a group of people who promised good coffee without the acidity (perfect for someone like me who has a tendency to drink copious amounts of wine), packaged in funky looking black bags with, of all things, an owl.

As I talked to Doctor (that’s right) Mitch Villafania, I found out that the owl was conceptualized because hardcore coffee drinkers have a tendency to share nocturnal qualities with an owl (excellent point made). They named the owl “Old Juancho”, which ended up becoming their catchy brand name (and mascot). Old Juancho is a collaboration between family and friends: Doctor Mitch, John (his younger brother), Jessica (his wife), and John’s former schoolmates Steve Cardona and Jan Michael Jose. This close-knit group is very hands-on with the production and sale of the coffee, making sure that each bag maintains impeccable quality.

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The wonderful team behind Old Juancho (L-R): John, JM, Jessica, and Doc Mitch (not in photo: Steve)

Before I go any further, a little coffee 101:

  • Coffee aficionados are probably familiar with the “big four”: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsia. Old Juancho uses Liberica, the rarest of the four. The beans originated mainly from Libya (which gives an insight to the etymology of the name), and were brought to our shores around the 1800s.
  • Liberica is the most resilient of the four (pest resistant, and once upon a time, it outlasted Arabica crops during the “coffee rust epdemic” 0f 1890).
  • Proudly Pinoy fact: These beautiful, rare beans are mostly cultivated in Batangas. A familiar Pinoy coffee term is “barako”. Much as barako harkens thoughts of a muscle-bound dude (barako means “tough man”), there is more evidence that the “barako” are the men who climb Liberica trees (which could reach upto 30 feet high).
  • Liberica coffee is a dream for people who suffer heartburn because of its naturally low acidity (I can’t stress enough how happy this fact makes me).

Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve had a difficult time trying to find a good, affordable source of these gems in groceries or gourmet shops. Thank goodness for Old Juancho. A guarantee of quality: the coffee is sourced directly, and the process from roasting to grinding does not exceed three days.

Now, the all-important question remains: What is it like? Mitch says the taste is “initially smoky and a bit bold, which later shifts to a more subtle style with rich caramel tones”. I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, though… It’s like a warm, fuzzy hug in the morning. 😉

Interested in having your own Old Juancho experience? Bags can be bought through:

Mobile: 0919-8014957 (John)

Email: oldjuanchos@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/oldjuanchos

Makes excellent stocking stuffers too. 🙂