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9 Uniquely Filipino Alcohol Drinks From Iconic Beers To Local Wine For An Authentic Filipino Drinking Experience

Uniquely Filipino alcohol drinks to try

Whether you’re lounging on the beach, hitting the clubs, or just chilling with friends, having the right drink can level up any occasion. And what better way to elevate your drinking game than with drinks that are uniquely ours?

From locally brewed beer to local wines and spirits, we’ve rounded up 9 uniquely Filipino alcohol drinks that are sure to tickle your taste buds and add a splash of Filipino flavor to your next gathering.

What’s the alcohol culture in the Philippines?

Most Filipinos drink alcohol, save from the Muslim minority in the country. During special occasions and festivities, alcohol plays an important and sometimes traditional role. Most Filipinos regard drinking alcohol as “part of their heritage” and alcohol is often gifted to relatives and friends during special occasions, even during funerals and wakes.

While Filipinos sometimes drink alcohol as part of their meals, they also frequently hold drinking sessions called inuman. This event is usually planned out by groups of friends and/or relatives and can go on for hours. Oftentimes, as part of festivities or fiesta, an inuman is accompanied by karaoke, and folks sing and drink together as a celebration.

This drinking practice is also paired with drinking food called pulutan, which usually comes in the form of sisig, chicharon, or inihaw.

What are the alcohol laws in the Philippines?

Alcohol is only allowed for people aged 18 and above in the Philippines. Selling or offering to sell alcohol to anyone below the legal age is illegal and it is punishable by imprisonment and a fine.

While it is illegal to drink in public places, there are designated locations in the Philippines where it is okay to drink. These are bars and pubs, clubs and party spaces, restaurants, and private event spaces.

It is also illegal to drink inside vehicles. It is illegal to drink and drive. During some days, the government can issue a liquor ban to maintain public integrity and keep peace during special days of the year such as elections.

1. San Miguel Pale Pilsen – the pride of Filipino beer

Sandara Park with San Miguel Beer.
Image credit: @daraxxi via Instagram

What’s a Filipino gathering without a cold bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen? This iconic beer has been a staple in Pinoy celebrations for generations, boasting a crisp and refreshing flavor that pairs perfectly with barbecues, karaoke nights, and everything in between. It’s no wonder, as this beer brand is 100 years old. San Miguel is such a big name in the Philippines that K-pop star and former Filipino actress Sandara Park has become the face of the brand.

Brewed with high-quality hops and barley, San Miguel Pale Pilsen is the epitome of Filipino beer culture—a true crowd-pleaser that never fails to bring people together.

2. Tanduay Rhum – the beachside spirit of choice

Image credit: @tanduayrhumph via Instagram

When it comes to Filipino spirits, nothing beats the bold and distinctive flavor of Tanduay Rhum. Made from locally grown sugarcane and aged to perfection in charred oak barrels, Tanduay Rhum boasts a rich and complex taste profile with hints of caramel, vanilla, and spice. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite cocktail, Tanduay Rhum is a true testament to the spirit of the Philippines—a country known for its warmth, hospitality, and passion for life.

3. Lambanog -the Filipino moonshine with a kick

Image credit: @kiyomi_aoyama via Instagram

Step aside, vodka—there’s a new kid on the block, and its name is lambanog. This traditional Filipino spirit is made from the sap of the coconut flower and packs quite the punch, with an alcohol content that can rival even the strongest moonshine. Despite its potency, lambanog has a surprisingly smooth and mellow flavor, making it a favorite among adventurous drinkers looking to add a little Filipino flair to their cocktails.

4. Emperador – the “king” of Filipino brandy

Image credit: @emperador_brandy via Instagram

If you’re a fan of brandy, then you’ll love Emperador—a Filipino favorite that’s been delighting drinkers for decades. Your dad and granddad probably keep a bottle of this somewhere – usually opened during family gatherings and special occasions.

Crafted from carefully selected grapes and aged in oak barrels, Emperador boasts a rich and velvety smoothness that’s perfect for sipping straight or mixing into your favorite cocktails. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just unwinding after a long day, Emperador is the perfect companion for any moment worth raising a glass to.

5. Red Horse Beer – when you want a stronger kick in your beer

Image credit: @redhorsebeer via Instagram

Looking for a beer with a little extra kick? Look no further than Red Horse Beer—the bold and fearless brew that’s not for the faint of heart. With a higher alcohol content than your average beer, Red Horse packs a powerful punch that’s sure to get the party started. Whether you’re craving a bold and flavorful lager or just looking to unleash your wild side, Red Horse Beer is the perfect choice for those who like their drinks with a little extra bite.

6. Tuba – Local spirit that’s great for every occasion

uniquely filipino alcohol - tuba
Image credit: @aaronwanderlust via Instagram

Made from the sap of the coconut flower, tuba is a traditional Filipino alcohol drink with a sweet and tangy flavor that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. Whether enjoyed straight from the coconut or mixed into cocktails, tuba is a true taste of the tropics that’s guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It’s typically found in rural areas and served fresh or fermented.

7. Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur – a Filipino twist on a classic

Image credit: via Instagram

Looking for a lighter alternative to traditional beer? Look no further than Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur—a refreshing blend of rum and natural mango flavors that’s perfect for sipping under the sun. With its crisp and invigorating taste, Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur is the ultimate thirst-quencher for those hot summer days. You’ll taste Philippines in every sip.

8. Basi -the Filipino wine with a sweet surprise

uniquely filipino alcohol - basi
Image credit: @projecthelloo via Instagram

Move over, merlot—there’s a new wine in town, and it’s called basi. Made from fermented sugarcane juice and flavored with indigenous herbs and spices, basi is a sweet and aromatic wine that’s as unique as the Filipino culture itself. Sip it straight for a taste of tradition, or mix it into your favorite cocktails for a modern twist on a classic libation. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just looking to expand your horizons, basi is sure to delight your palate and leave you craving more.

9. Laksoy – a super-local wine made from nipa

filipino alcohol drink - laksoy
Image credit: @thetradingpost_ph via Instagram

Originating from Butuan City, Laksoy is a local wine made primarily from nipa palm. The sap is taken from bloomed nipa palm flowers and wine is created from it. It’s an incredibly local wine drink that dates back to the Spaniards in the city of Butuan. With its smooth and creamy texture and sweet taste, Laksoy is sure to transport you to a tropical paradise with every sip.

What alcohol is the Philippines known for?

The Philippines is known for its more unique and traditional Filipino alcohol drinks like basis and lambanog, featured above. However, the most famous and well-known global brand of alcoholic drink from the Philippines is arguably San Miguel Beer.

The most consumed alcoholic beverage in the Philippines is beer and San Miguel stands as one of the most popular beer choices. Its popularity can be attributed to the fact that, unlike its more traditional counterparts, San Mig is more widely exported to foreign countries.

Well-known Filipino spirits such as Tanduay and Emperador have followed suit but have yet to match San Mig’s popularity.

Experience the Philippines through these Filipino alcohol drinks

Whether you’re a seasoned drinks connoisseur or just looking to explore the world of Filipino drinks, there’s something on this list for you to try. From locally brewed beer to unique spirits, these drinks showcase the rich cultural heritage and vibrant flavors of the Philippines in every sip

So gather your friends, stock up on supplies, and get ready to embark on a flavor-filled journey through the Philippines—one sip at a time! And remember to drink responsibly!

If you want to explore cocktail recipes for summer that are uniquely Pinoy, try these summer cocktail recipes but if you just want to sit back and relax while someone else prepares your drinks, why not check out the bars around Poblacion, Makati.

Cover image adapted from: @daraxxi, @projecthelloo, and @tanduayrhumph