Japanese drinking culture invades Manila

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Resident whisky connoisseur Francis Hasegawa (top photo) and the collection of over 300 bottles of liquor (right, below)

Refined yet convivial, Japanese drinking culture is fascinating, especially to those who are used to drinking sessions that are rowdy right off the bat. Nevertheless, there is an emphasis on savoring flavor to give tribute to the makers of the liquor.

Whisky connoisseurs have already ventured deep into the undiscovered world of Japanese whiskies, regarded among the finest around the globe. Since the first whisky distillery opened in Kyoto nearly a hundred years ago, the Japanese have created some of the most elegant flavor profiles for the drink.

In Manila, it is best to have the first taste of Japanese whisky where the experience is curated by those who love the liquor but also strive to create a connection between the concoction and the drinker.

Enter spirit bar Lit Manila, which promises the first taste of Japanese whisky to be “both experiential and emotional.” Served with different themes every Wednesday as facilitated by resident whisky connoisseur Francis Hasegawa, its mission is to help Filipinos navigate the uncharted waters of Japanese spirits and enlighten them on the unique flavors, diversity, stories, and experiences they present.

Starting with “whisky flight” experience, the drinker savors three taste portions of whisky and a highball (a whisky soda). Each flight features famous Japanese whisky company Suntory’s selection, various blended whiskies, and “Franco’s Choice,” personally curated by Hasegawa.

Located at the ground floor of Serendra, Bonifacio High Street Taguig City, one unusual feature of the bar is the emphasis on bar seating to encourage interaction between bartenders and customers.


Their collection of over 300 bottles includes limited editions and rare vintages of whisky, plus other Japanese crafted spirits and liquors—from Nihon-shu (sake) to shochus, rum, gin, vodka and beer.

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