Where To Order Cocktail Kits in Metro Manila: 35cl Cocktail Co's Limited Edition Tipples
A cocktail a day keeps the doctor away: wasn't that how the saying goes?
These days, it seems to be that despite the bar scene's slow recovery, cocktails remain important as ever. The "e-numan", which is the digital translation of our (pre-pandemic) Friday nights out, has stayed as strong of a tradition as ever — and it's obvious why. Aside from the fact that we could all use a stiff drink (or two), we've also come to appreciate how good cocktails can be. And it's not just in the indulgence of classic favourites — such as the negroni — that we've become so enamoured with this newly formed drinking culture. It's also in the fact that these days, Manila mixologists have become so more adventurous with their recipes — and that's great news for all of us.
Meet 35cl Cocktail Co., a beverage company that, in their words, "aims to explore the boundaries of flavour through bottled cocktails". It's an intriguing goal, one that Creative Director, Alex, and Beverage Director, Niko, take pretty seriously.
"For as long as we’ve known each other, we would always bond over good drinks," Alex shares. "Cocktails intrigued us, more than anything. There was always something new that we’ve never tried, in every single bar we’ve been to, which we thought was really amazing and special."
This passion that the two college friends share stems from more than just the 2020 trend too. In many ways, they'd foreseen the potential in bottled cocktails long before it came into vogue. While most bars are just getting a headstart on it now, 35cl Cocktail Co., has been on its mission since 2019. "We wanted to target people who wanted to have drinks at the comfort of their own homes but didn’t know how to make them. Considering the fact that there weren’t much bottled cocktail brands back then, we thought it was a really good opportunity to explore," Alex explains.
Niko, the man behind the shaker, has described the brand as a "creative journal", one that he seemingly isn't afraid to experiment with. "We always strive to create something new, and our rule to never restock once we sell out," he says. And while the brand doesn't rely on crowd favourites to gain traction, it does cater to a wide range of palates through three different taste profiles: Sour, Experimental, and Built. "The ‘Sour’ category consists of sweeter, lower-ABV drinks, that are much easier to consume, while the ‘Built’ category consists of boozier and spirit-forward drinks," Niko explains. "The ‘Experimental’ category, on the other hand, is kind of our wild card, where we utilise different techniques."
So while each 35cl collection features drinks that are reflective of an aforementioned flavour profile, that's about as predictable as 35cl will ever get. The ingredients that go into each new flavour are all dependent on the collection's current theme. For example, the brand's latest holiday lineup had incorporated a surprising mix of spices that added a touch of warmth to each beverage.
This includes the fruity CE011, the cosy CE012, and the Asian-inspired CE013. "CE stands for Cocktail Experiment wherein each creation will be numbered for 'flavour logging' in our catalogue," Niko says, expounding on the cocktail's mysterious names. "We used three digits to signify our continuous creation process and to hopefully develop flavours that would reach that amount in the future as well."
It's a nascent brand and one that shows great promise. CE011, or Red for short, is a fruity and spice forward cocktail, best enjoyed with friends. Inspired by spiced fruit punch, the flavour is indicative of strawberries and passionfruit, but is also given a kick with the addition of Sichuan peppercorn.
CE012, also known as Gingerbread, is described as a "nutty and spiced cocktail". Inspired by the beloved gingerbread cookie, this cocktail also pays homage to its earlier cousin, CE005, or Eggnog. There is also CE013, or Barley. This is the brand's rendition of a Hot Toddy and was inspired by Korean grain teas. Enjoy it on the rocks or even with hot water, but if there's one thing Niko guarantees us, it's that it's best enjoyed during cosy or intimate settings, whether on your own or with a loved one.
35cl Co has a tightly curated menu with cocktail flavours ranging from coconut (an ode to the tropics), grapefruit (inspired by the complexity of Campari), turon (for the benefit of our farmers), to cascara (with coffee) - all of which won't disappoint.
Read also: Four Smart Cocktail-Making Devices That May Be Making You A Drink This Holiday Season
Last but not least, is CE013, or Barley. This is the brand's rendition of a Hot Toddy and was inspired by Korean grain teas. Enjoy it on the rocks or even with hot water, but if there's one thing Niko guarantees us, it's that it's best enjoyed during cosy or intimate settings, whether on your own or with a loved one.
The entire collection, which will be sold in its namesake 350ml (or 35cl) bottles, will also be available in sampler sets of 100ml bottles.
Straightforward and fuss-free, 35cl Cocktail Co. is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise saturated market that, oftentimes, can rely too much on the theatrics of a drink and not on the quality of what's in their cup. Instead, Alex and Niko take away the pretentiousness of elaborate recipes and focuses instead on honestly highlighting the ingredients that pours forth from their shakers. This year, the duo is set to release two more collections that consist of three cocktails each, and then focusing on collaborations with like-minded brands or creatives, that hopefully, we can get our tumblers in on yet again.