(PHILIPPINE INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The new “booze shop cafe” concept opened last Thursday at Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill - “a fitting location for Fundador, which is the largest and oldest brand of Spanish brandy in the Philippines”, said Mr Kendrick Tan, executive director of Emperador Inc.
Kendrick knows his liquor well, having trained in Jerez, Spain, to better offer “brandy of a different hierarchy” to the Filipino market.
Providing the drinking crowd with world-class liquor has always been a family affair, he said, since the established local liquor company Emperador Inc, headed by his father, tycoon Andrew L. Tan, acquired Fundador in 2015.
Kendrick, together with his brother, Megaworld first vice-president Kevin, led the toast on Thursday afternoon to formally open the grab-and-go Fundador Cafe, which targets younger drinkers.
But first, a clarification. “Brandy is not a tito drink,” said Kendrick. “We incorporated it in cocktails - even coffee - to give the drinks a bit of a buzz.”
At Fundador Cafe, one may buy drinks and pastries and grab a bottle or three. The basic bottles are the oaky Fundador Gold Reserve, full-bodied Fundador Solera, and the smooth, “pre-game” favourite Fundador Light.
The sweet aroma and elegant taste of these brandy variants come from ageing in wine-enriched wooden barrels, which makes these liquor complementary ingredients to the cafe’s offerings.
Fundador Cafe also carries Harveys Sherry, a line of sherry also produced in Jerez, Spain.
Fundador Cafe may be a cute 50 sq m store, but its “cocktail bar” makes up for the lack of a dining area.
The menu includes drinks in three varieties: hot, cold and blended.
Hot drinks are mostly spiked coffee - a gift for people who cannot decide whether to have coffee or a shot. Fundador Cafe Latte, created after the traditional Spanish carajillo drink, is espresso laced with Fundador Gold Reserve and Fundador Solera.
Other espresso-based drinks are Fundador Cafe Latte with Fundador Gold Reserve and Cafe Exclusivo with Fundador Exclusivo.
For something sweet, Salted Double Caramel is hot black tea flavoured with salted caramel and Fundador Double Light, topped with a swirl of caramel syrup.
Since it is summer, Fundador Cafe’s cold and blended drinks have so far been a hit since its soft-opening a month ago, Kendrick said.
Cold drink choices are Light Iced Tea with Fundador Light, Cafe Solera with Fundador Solera and the crowd-favourite Harveys Mojito with lemon, mint and a shot of Harveys Sherry.
We like the Matcha Light blended drink, which has refreshing green tea, vanilla cream and Fundador Light.
Orange Passion is soda with Harveys Bristol Cream.
Although the menu is created with millennials in mind, the cafe remains an aged 18-and-up shop, said Kendrick. So do not be surprised if the barista asks for identification when you order the Fundador Frappe - a swirl of ice, espresso and two kinds of Fundador.
In keeping up with the European coffee-shop vibe, Fundador Cafe also serves Italian gelato.
“The gelato flavours are infused with Harveys Bristol Cream,” said Kendrick. “The Amara Dark Chocolate and Dulce de Leche gelato can be had with candy and white chocolate sprinkles.”
Harveys Bristol Cream is a dessert wine with chestnut and amber tones. It is fragrant and has a velvety finish, and is a perfect flavouring for the Fundador Cafe cupcakes: Sherry Butter Cupcake, Banana Cupcake, Chocolate Cupcake and Vanilla Butter Cupcake.
These rich cupcakes are topped with Harveys Dark Chocolate Ganache frosting and “injected” with a mini squeeze tube of Harveys Bristol Cream - an Instagram dream.
The next Fundador Cafe will soon open in Iloilo, said Kendrick. Spiked sweets and a line of premium Fundador Supremo (which costs as much as 15,000 pesos or S$380 a bottle), are some of the Fundador items Ilonggos can look forward to.