Revving up your quarantined life with cocktails and wine
Alongside restaurants, restaurant suppliers were also hit hard by the quarantine regulations, including wine and spirits merchants.
One company that had more than its fair share of challenges was Don Revy.
Founders Jojo Vega and Australia-based Scottish partners Robert Ferguson (+) and Piers Kinloch began the company seven years ago with an impressive list of whiskeys and their own wine labels made in New Zealand: Pebble Lane, Jules Taylor and Mills Reef.
Through the years, the company also began to carry a good range of wines, with highly recommendable Italian and Australian labels, among others; a really good gin; and excellent beers such as Pilsner Urquell, a Czech brand that has the distinction of being the world’s first pale lager, and Kozel, also a Czech label and today my favorite dark beer in the Philippines (if you love Guinness draught, this is the next best thing in Manila today to enjoy at home—a better pour than Guinness in a can).
In 2018, they even opened a new showroom on Pasong Tamo Extension that doubled as an events space called The Bevvy, which quickly grew its own loyal following with its cozy feel amidst gentlemanly interiors.
However, business as they knew it was put to a halt by the pandemic and the space that was once filled with happily inebriated customers suddenly became a makeshift extension of their warehouse.
Thankfully, Vega has a lifetime of experience as a salesman, regional operations head and eventually country head of different multinational companies.
He was, therefore, quick to analyze the market, act and pivot the business to cater to the opportunities in the new normal.
“Online sales increased from just 3 percent prepandemic to 15 percent during the pandemic,” he notes. “The appointment of community dealers in clusters of affluent villages was a big help.”
Besides distribution, they also did a pivot in product development. They started to create their own quarantine concoctions and the Bevvy craft cocktail series was born.
This is how they describe it: “The Bevvy craft cocktail series is a story of resilience and innovation in the face of adversity. It’s about people with a shared passion for their crafts and genuine love for the F&B industry. It’s about the good times we all miss at the bar, the sights of the beach with a drink in hand or just simply the great, fun company of friends everywhere and anytime. It’s celebrating life like we were used to before as we look forward to better days ahead for everyone soon.”
There are three flavors—or what those in the industry call “expressions”: Pisco Sour, which is inspired by the Chilean version; Purple Zest and Cucumber Spritz.
The Pisco Sour was created by mixologist Lennon Aguilar and has Bauza Pisco Reservado, Monin sweet and sour mix and Peychaud’s aromatic bitters.
The Cucumber Spritz, also concocted by Aguilar, is described as having sweet and tangy tastes of cucumber alongside floral, herby notes of elderflower liqueur. It contains Bauza Pisco Reservado, Giffard elderflower liqueur, Peychaud’s aromatic bitters and a cucumber and lemonade mix.
Meanwhile, the Purple Zest was the winning cocktail in the first ever Pisco Competition in 2018, inspired by the movie The Perfume about one of France’s finest 18th century perfumers. Mixed by Auie Benisano, it contains Bauza Pisco Reservado, Monin lemon rancho, Monin blue pea syrup, cardamom and bayleaf tincture.
I have tried these (P595 a bottle) and can tell you that they are refreshing and perfect for day drinking.
At a certain time of the day when real whisky might still be considered vulgar, these pastel-colored, nice and just a tad naughty drinks are most welcome.
In these times, it helps to be brave and to give your drinks a little character and life. God knows we need it for our own sanity.
Come dinner, though, it’s back to wines even if you’re just having another rice cooker version of adobo.
Now you don’t whip out a Margaux or even a Montrose for this. What you want are good accessible wines: something that is not a splurge but will remind you of better days and somehow strengthen your resolve to carry on to tomorrow.
Don Revy has these, too, and you can just take your pick of what country and region you want it from: Oz (Barossa Valley, Coonawara, McLaren Vale); New Zealand (Marlborough, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Central Otago); Spain (Rioja, Ribera del Duero); France (Burgundy, Provence); Italy (Piedmont, Tuscany, Venetto), and soon from the United States and Argentina as well.
Many are in the range of P400 to P2,000 so you can really make it a daily dinner bonus. Serve yourself free-range chicken with green papaya and moringa (tinola) or mackerel scad in coconut milk (ginataang galunggong), plate it nicely, and then pair it with any of these wines and you have a beautiful “restaurant at home” experience. Welcome to the new normal.
Don Revy Philippines. Call 8-5563312 or visit donrevy.com or http://bit.ly/DonRevyShop.
More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com and @margauxsalcedo on Instagram.
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