Restaurants / Bars

Savory Cocktails for When You’re Drinking for Dinner

November 21, 2017

If you’ve been reading Pepper.PH for a while, you know we’re very much into savory-and-sweet combinations. While cocktails are often known for their easy-to-guzzle sweetness, here are some mixed drinks that offer a surprise savory element.

DULO – Damuhan

If you’re drinking at Dulo, managing partner Alexa Arabejo says their Clam Miso Soup is the perfect accompaniment to your cocktail of choice.

Developed by Dulo’s bar consultant Kath Eckstein, one of the official bartenders for Don Papa rum, the Damuhan uses the local rum and combines it with fresh, green ingredients typically used in savory applications: cilantro and bell pepper. Don’t let that scare you off—the Damuhan is sweet and mellow with the cilantro imparting a fresh and grassy (hence, “damuhan“) taste and the bell pepper flavor popping in towards the end.

LAS FLORES – Wasabi Caipirinha

Head bartender Byron Mayo recommends pairing this with the pimientos del padron or with cold cuts like the chorizo iberico or jamon iberico.

The wasabi caipirinha is bright, light, and refreshing like the classic Brazilian cocktail that forms its base. Though take a bite of the nori and a sip of the drink and the wasabi flavor reveals itself. There’s nothing unnatural about the Japanese flavors of wasabi and nori making their way into Brazil’s national drink given the two countries’ strong ties, and this drink is just one example of how well the 2 cultures mesh.

PAPPY BISTRO – Sinigang Margarita

The Sinigang Margarita is one of the bestselling drinks at Pappy Bistro despite not appearing on their menu (It’s a secret menu item, made by request).

Joe Fores, who owns Pappy Bistro with Louie Guerrero, tells us that the Sinigang Margarita was inspired by a cocktail introduced to him, surprisingly, by a dentist buddy of his, who made a version of a cocktail he tried in Mexico. Fores created his own local spin on it, using local sampalok candy to both sour and sweeten it (and it’s for this tamarind ingredient that the drink is so named). A Tajin rim hollers back to its Mexican origin, and adds a spicy and umami balance to the tamarind’s sour and sweet.

PIGPEN – Fish Sauce Mojito

Pigpen’s bartender, Dan, geeks out on cocktail ingredients with us.

Not to be confused with our local patis, Pigpen’s Fish Sauce Mojito uses the mellower Thai fish sauce that is turned into a slightly pungent syrup. The first sip delivers the signature milk fizz and minty-freshness that you expect from a mojito, then reveals the carmelized fish sauce taste that offers a syrupy mouthfeel that hugs the tongue.


Head mixologist Ulysse Jouenneaud created all the cocktails served at Raging Bull.

Jouenneaud tells us that he finds cocktails are usually sweet or sour, but he wanted to offer something different—a salty cocktail. He says he did not invent the bacon fat wash, but this is the method he uses. “I grill the bacon and put it in the bottle with the fat then I leave it for 10 days. after 10 days, I put it in the freezer so all the fat goes to the top and freezes—the bourbon doesn’t freeze—so I can remove the fat. We have this fatty textured bourbon [that is] smokey, salty, that goes very well with a Manhattan.” The salt opens up your tastebuds to welcome the intensely spirit-forward Manhattan, while the fat elongates the flavor.


Bartender Byron Mayo says he first fell in love with food before getting into mixing drinks, and the Tentacion is a combination of those two loves.

Categorized under their “winter cocktails” section, the Tentacion (which translates to temptation from Spanish) smells instantly smokey and lemony. Take a sip and we find it pleasantly smooth and candy sweet with a comforting cinnamon presence. The smoky paprika rim highlights the think, crispy, salty jamon. Mayo recommends alternating between bites and sips: this results in a salty and fatty coating on the tongue that absorbs, spreads and enhances the tequila-based drink.

Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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