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Filipino Drinks to Try When Visiting the Philippines

group of friends holding up their glasses of Filipino drinks
Bottoms up! It’s time to try out some of the most famous Filipino drinks.

“Shat na!”

Regardless of whether you’re in the streets, visiting a Filipino family’s home, at a wedding celebration, or at a fiesta, when there’s a gathering, there’s bound to be inuman.

Filipinos don’t need an occasion to serve as an excuse for drinking. It’s simply part of their culture as a way to bond with family and friends. The best thing about it is that they don’t feel the need to make the bonding experience exclusive to only those closest to them.

So if you’re a foreigner in the Philippines and you happen to come across a Filipino inuman, you’re bound to receive an invitation to join in on the fun.

You can decline their invitation and Filipinos won’t take offense to that.

But if you’re courting a Filipina or dating one, and her father or uncle offers you a drink, it’s best for you to accept.

Although there aren’t any consequences if you decline, take their invitation as an opportunity to share an intimate bond with her family.

The moment you say yes, they’ll quickly give you the center seat and offer you a glass. However, avoid putting yourself in a situation wherein you haven’t tried any Filipino drinks.

Some Filipino liquor doesn’t easily get people drunk. But there are some that quietly sneak up on you.

Here are some famous alcoholic drinks in the Philippines. Knowing these, you can properly pace yourself and keep up with a Filipina’s family.

You wouldn’t want to end your night early because you don’t know your drinks or how to enjoy them, would you?

Filipino Alcoholic Drinks

In an inuman, Filipinos love to switch things up. You can observe that on one night they’re drinking beer, and on the next, they’re sharing a whiskey brought home by a relative from the U.S.

That said, when they invite you to drink, you never really know what you’re getting until you see the bottle or get a taste of it.

Here are some popular Filipino alcoholic drinks – from beers, cocktails, and whiskeys to locally-produced Filipino liquors. This way, you’ll at least have an idea of what you’ll be offered and get to try them beforehand.

A group of people bonding while drinking Filipino alcoholic drinks
Have a fun time with Filipinos! Accept their invitation to a drinking session and try out various Filipino alcoholic drinks.

Filipino Beers

“Tagay!”

Oftentimes, when you hear Filipinos shout that word, they’re holding a bottle of beer. That’s because in Filipino drinking culture, beer has been established as the go-to drink.

It’s cheap, keeps you buzzing, and is tasty. It checks all the boxes, hence its popularity. Many restaurants, bars, and even convenience stores also offer promos for beers, which makes purchasing them for an inuman session more enticing.

Filipinos, however, don’t just drink any beer brand. They have a preference and these are their top choices.

1. San Miguel Pale Pilsen

This beer brand is the most popular Filipino drink. It tops whiskey, rum, wine, and other cocktail drinks.

Its popularity can be attributed to how it’s an “easy to drink” beer. This means that even first-timers will enjoy drinking this particular brand of beer.

Moreover, in Filipino drinking culture, San Miguel Pale Pilsen is associated with friendship. That’s because the beer brand has been Filipinos’ number one choice whenever they want to share in each other’s struggles or joys over a drink.

2. Red Horse Beer

When it comes to purchasing alcoholic beverages, Filipinos want to get their money’s worth. Which generally means that they want to feel its effects.

That’s why Red Horse Beer is also a popular choice. Unlike the Pale Pilsen, Red Horse has a stronger kick due to its higher alcohol content.

If you’re at a party and you’re offered a Red Horse, prepare to see your energy level reach an all-time high. You may be left hungover in the morning if you drink too much, but at least you got to let loose the night before.

3. Gold Eagle Beer

Gold Eagle Beer is also produced by the San Miguel Corporation. However, if you’re in the big city of Metro Manila, it’s unlikely that you’ll see this during drinking sessions.

This beer brand is more popular in the province of Visayas and Mindanao.

If you’re visiting these regions, you’ll often see Filipinos and Filipinas sitting at a sari-sari store with this beer in hand.

When they call you over to join them, don’t miss out on bonding with them and trying this rare brand.

A bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen, a popular Filipino drink
For Filipinos, a night of drinking isn’t complete without beer. Find out why beer is a well-loved Filipino drink.

Filipino Wines

If there’s anything you should know about Filipinos, it’s that they have a sweet tooth. Because of this, the fine bitterness in wine is something that is unappealing to their palate.

But the Filipino people’s ability to innovate knows no bounds.

Among the famous beverages in the Philippines are wines sourced from organic products in the country’s different regions. They also make up a part of many traditional Filipino drinks.

Here are some of them.

1. Basi

A fun fact about the Philippines is that one of its major exports is sugar. So, it should come as no surprise that one of the most popular Filipino drinks is made from sugarcane.

Basi or sugarcane wine originates from the Ilocos region and has been consumed by Filipinos since the time of the Spanish colonization.

It has a sweet and sour flavor that can be addictive, hence its long-standing popularity.

2. Tuba

If you visit the rural areas in the country, you’ll definitely see an abundance of coconut trees. And out of the coconuts, Filipinos make their own wine called tuba.

This Filipino drink originated from Cebu and its taste can be likened to champagne. It’s sweet, carbonated, and has a strong kick. But unlike champagne, it’s highly affordable.

For Filipinos and Filipinas in the provinces, there’s no specific time when to drink tuba. If they feel like drinking it in the morning, during lunch, in the afternoon, or in the evening, then so be it.

3. Calamansi Wine

In the Philippines, there’s a fruit crop called calamansi.

It’s indigenous to the country and Filipinos use it for a variety of reasons. One is for cooking, which is what makes Philippine cuisine one of the best in the world. Other uses are for cleaning, strengthening the immune system, and cleansing the skin.

Other than that, Filipinos often use calamansi to make wine.

Its sweet and citrusy flavor makes it the best palate cleanser. This is why if you’re staying with a Filipino family, especially in the province, they’ll offer this drink to you immediately after lunch if they have one in stock.

A coconut being sliced to create one of Philippines’ famous beverages.
Indulge in a sweet alcoholic drink with a kick. Tuba is one of the Philippines’ most famous beverages.

Filipino Whiskeys

1. Tanduay Embassy

Among the many Filipino whiskeys, Tanduay Embassy is one of the must-have drinks during an inuman. That’s because it’s both cheap and flavorful, hitting two birds with one stone.

Most of the time, older men in a Filipino family would pull out a Tanduay Embassy on a quiet afternoon. They would then take leisurely sips as they play cards or talk about plans for their family.

If this scenario happens while you’re staying at your Filipina girlfriend’s house, you’re likely to receive an invitation.

Keep in mind that if you accept, you’re signing up for a discussion on deep topics.

2. Crows Single Malt Craft Whiskey

Bold and gutsy. That’s how Filipinos are. So don’t be surprised if they love an equally bold and gutsy whiskey brand.

Crows Single Malt Whiskey is the first single malt brand produced in the country. Moreover, the brewery had to make a transition from producing botanical gins to whiskey, which was a risk met with success.

This whiskey has a strong taste with notes of caramel, bananas, citrus, and sourdough, and it’s well-loved by avid Filipino drinkers.

If you’re having an inuman session with Crows on the table, keep in mind to take it easy as this Filipino whiskey is not for the faint of heart.

3. White Castle Whisky

Back in the ‘90s, the advertisement for White Castle was shown on Philippine television. Since then, Filipinos started purchasing the brand and its popularity skyrocketed.

Even now, White Castle Whisky is something you are likely to find in an inuman.

Filipinos usually drink White Castle Whisky whenever they want to have hard drinks without having to face the consequences of a hangover the morning after.

When a Filipino offers you this brand, prepare yourself for a wild night ahead.

A glass of Filipino whiskey
Whether it’s in the morning, in the afternoon, or at night, it’s hard to say no to a glass of Filipino whiskey.

Other Famous Filipino Liquors

Aside from beers, wines, and whiskeys, Filipinos also drink other types of liquor. Here are some popular ones.

1. Tanduay Rum

In a street setting inuman, you’re likely to see Tanduay Rum placed at the center of the table. Those who have gathered around share the bottle until it’s empty.

But because of how cheap it is, you’ll also see Filipinos trying to finish one bottle by themselves on a casual Sunday afternoon.

Although it’s super cheap, it’s definitely not for non-avid fans of alcoholic drinks. That’s because after its sweetness comes a wave of spice that burns your throat.

This Philippine liquor is best when mixed with fruit juice or iced tea.

2. Ginebra San Miguel Gin

Regardless of whether you go to a sari-sari store in a rural area or to a convenience store in the city, you’re bound to find bottles of Ginebra San Miguel Gin.

This Filipino liquor is tagged as the largest-selling gin worldwide.

When drunk on its own, you can feel a chemical aftertaste. Because of this, Filipinos don’t usually drink Ginebra San Miguel Gin as is.

Instead, like the Tanduay Rum, they mix it with other beverages to create a cocktail.

3. GSM Blue Line

The GSM Blue line consists of lighter varieties of the Ginebra San Miguel Gin.

Although the latter has already reached the peak of popularity, the producers wanted to cater more to the changing tastes of their younger gin-loving consumers.

So instead of only producing hard drinks, they produced one with lower alcohol content and higher sugarcane percentage.

If the Filipina you’re dating is between the ages 18 to 24, she’s likely to offer you a GSM Blue Mojito or Margarita when at an inuman.

4. Emperador Brandy

During holidays, such as Christmas and the New Year, you can see Filipinos sharing a bottle of Emperador Brandy.

Not many Filipinos can afford this brand of Filipino drink to consume at a casual inuman. So, they wait for a special occasion to come around and purchase it.

Or, if they’re lucky, a well-off relative will bring over a bottle of Emperador Brandy as a gift. And if there’s an extra bottle, they’ll reserve it until the next occasion.

If Filipinos end up getting their Emperador Brandy out of the alcohol cabinet to share with you, then know that they’re doing this to share their blessings.

A bottle of Filipino liquor.
Filipino liquor is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared and remember to pace yourself when drinking with Filipinos.

Filipino Cocktails

When in the Philippines, you’ll notice that Filipinos love to mix and match.

For example, when it comes to their music, Filipinos love a blend of traditional and contemporary sounds.

You can also notice from their everyday conversations that they love to mix different languages in one sentence. Oftentimes, you’ll hear at least three - Filipino, Spanish, and English.

Of course, drinks are not an exception.

Out of the Filipino beverages already mentioned, Filipinos create their own blend of Filipino cocktails.

1. GinPom

One of the classic Filipino mixed drinks is the GinPom.

Although the GSM Blue line has a Gin Pomelo flavor, people still prefer to make it the traditional way.

Based on its name, the main ingredients of this drink are gin and pomelo juice.

You may think that making this takes a lot of effort as you need to juice up real pomelo. But Filipinos just use powdered juice.

Moreover, since gin is a hard liquor, Filipinos set it on fire before pouring it into the mix. They believe that by doing this, they’re lessening the kick of the alcohol.

But don’t be fooled by what they say and the sweet taste of this cocktail, as the GinPom mix can still give you a rough hangover.

2. Mestiza

In America, there’s a highball cocktail called Rum and Coke, which is basically what the name suggests.

Filipinos took inspiration from this American drink and made what they call a mestiza.

In everyday conversation, the term is often used to describe a woman of mixed ancestry. And for them, that’s what this drink is.

But instead of purely mixing rum and Coke, Filipinos add two parts of beer.

Also, instead of Coke, sometimes they will switch it with other Filipino sodas like Sprite, Pepsi, or 7up.

3. Kagatan

You’ve probably heard of the famous Italian coffee dessert called Affogato.

Well, Filipinos have their own version of it called kagatan.

The name of the drink describes its ingredients, which are kape (coffee), gatas (condensed milk), and tan (Tanduay rum).

Aside from that, however, the name is derived from the word “kagat” or to bite, which hints at the bitter taste of alcohol that follows the drink’s sweet, creamy flavor.

When offered kagatan, beware of the bite.

4. Weng-Weng

For Filipinos, they describe the sound of an ambulance siren as something that goes “weeeng weeeng.”

Out of inspiration, they named a Filipino cocktail weng weng.

Although it may sound funny, the name is fitting for a drink that’s a mix of five different alcoholic beverages - gin, vodka, rum, tequila, and brandy.

To even out the flavor, however, Filipinos add grenadine syrup, orange juice, and pineapple juice.

One piece of advice? Don’t let the sweet taste fool you. You might think that you can drink this straight up, but the strong alcohol content can easily knock you out, especially if you have a low tolerance.

That being said, know how to pace yourself when agreeing to drink weng weng.

A glass of gin pom, one of the most famous Filipino cocktails
Are you ready to try out some mixed drinks? You’ll surely love our list of Filipino cocktails.

Bottoms Up! Enjoy These Filipino Drinks the Filipino Way!

In the Philippines, there’s no “right” or “wrong” time or place to have a drink.

It’s simply a part of Filipino culture to bond with family and friends and share a bottle of alcohol if they feel like it.

Being the kind and hospitable people they are, Filipinos are more than willing to let you in on the experience.

Regardless of whether they’re a stranger, friend, or your Filipina girlfriend’s family, they’ll invite you over for an inuman as a way to get to know you and have fun.

But as a foreigner, keep in mind that Filipinos are avid drinkers. So before agreeing to a drinking session with them, get to know the various Filipino drinks and how to best enjoy them.

Create an enjoyable experience for yourself. Drink responsibly and don’t black out!

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