How does a tall glass of Isabela Secret cocktail sound to you? Or do you prefer the extra kick of a Sarangani Punch cocktail?
These are just some of the Tapuy Cocktail blends being launched by PhilRice, a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture. Their research on the different uses of rice led to an improved version of tapuy, a naturally fermented alcoholic beverage made from cooked glutinous rice and starter culture locally known as “bubod.” This local rice wine is often served during feasts by the mountain tribes in the Cordilleras.
An ordinary tapuy has a limited shelf life, often ending up discolored, off-flavored, and turbid. To improve the quality and shelf life of the traditional rice wine, PhilRice has optimized the process parameters and ingredients, and eliminated the use of preservatives. The PhilRice Tapuy is also free of sulfites, the preservative used in wines which could lead to hangovers or allergic reactions.
To raise awareness on this traditional Filipino wine, PhilRice introduces the Tapuy Cocktails, a wide array of drinks concocted using tapuy and different ingredients that are grown or associated with different places around the Philippines.
“The names are catchy to tickle the fancy and imagination of those who wish to try the different blends. So far, we have launched ‘Aurora Love Affair’ and ‘Haller Baler’ at Aurora and Baler, the Tagaytay Escapade in Tagaytay, and the Baguio Flame at the forthcoming Panagbenga flower festival,” says Chona Suner-Narvadez, PhilRice Business Development Office Marketing Manager.
Other cocktails that are about to be introduced are Palawan Playmate, Tubbataha Adventure, Manila Addiction, Los Baños Lust, Subic Sin, Boracay Flame, Zambales Seduction, Tawi-Tawi Tickles, and Cariñosa Zamboanga.
“‘Manila Addiction’ has a ‘secret ingredient’ that is not really from Metro Manila but it’s a unique combination, much like the sights and sounds of Metro Manila. The Batangas Bold Sensation has coffee liqueur, while the Sarangani Punch, which also has rice vodka, is inspired by the incredible fighters from the area. Drinkers can expect a kick out of that one,” Narvadez continues.
Aside from getting recognized, the Tapuy Cocktails are also created to help promote the different tourist spots in the Philippines, and PhilRice intends to partner with the Department of Tourism to achieve this goal. This idea stems from the DOT slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” which sits well with the idea of sharing a drink or two of the traditional rice wine with some friends while visiting different destinations across the country.
Much like Japan’s sake or Koreans and their soju, PhilRice wants to promote tapuy as the Philippines’ national wine, a drink made with rice, the lifeblood of the Filipinos.
Tapuy has also played a significant part in the rich tradition and culture of the tribes in the Cordilleras.
“The Ifugaos have developed a tribal religion, the core of which is the “baki” or the rites for man and for rice culture. There are rites performed at the start of every phase in a man’s life, and rites for every stage of rice agriculture. The rites are performed by a native priest called “mumbaki.”
On the other hand, according to an Ibaloi tale, tapuy was introduced to them by the gods. The gods should be invited during rites and feasts to celebrate with the people. The tapuy is then passed around for all the guests to take a sip,” shares Evelyn Bandonill, Senior Science Research Specialist, Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division.
The Tapuy Cocktail blends will soon be available in PhilRice outlets in ECHOstore, Sta. Lucia Supermarkets 1 and 3, UP Coop, and the DA Export showroom.
PhilRice is also coming up with a cookbook of recipes that use tapuy as one of the ingredients. The cookbook features a collection of recipes from the kitchen of some of the top chefs and culinary enthusiasts in the country.
“We came up with the Tapuy Cocktails and Cookbook because our lofty idea is for all households to have tapuy rice wine in their home for drinking, cooking and cocktail mixing,” Narvadez says.