“Orange soda mixed with gasoline,” Kalel Demetrio says, thinking back to the most memorable drink he’s come across while scouring the Philippines in search of cocktail inspiration. “[On a foraging research mission] I came across some rebels and farmers living in the mountains and they showed me some of their unique regional produce and their favorite drink. I didn’t know it was gasoline at first—they drink it like a shot because it burns.”
Demetrio, known as Liquido Maestro, has spent the better part of the past decade researching and documenting rare and little-known regional Filipino produce and ingredients, with the goal of creating a cocktail culture in Manila that celebrates Filipino products. With his hands in the creation of cocktail lists at over 28 different bars and restaurants around Manila and the Philippines, Demetrio’s unique approach and focus has been instrumental in bringing Filipino cocktail culture to where it is today.
“What’s been missing is Filipino heritage and attitude,” Demetrio explains. “But my industry is now realizing the power of our own produce and our sense of patriotism is on another level now.”