When it comes to quenching your thirst, you can count on the Philippines to offer you a delicious treat.
From the creamy indulgence of Buko Shake to the robust kick of Kapeng Barako, here are 12 traditional Filipino drinks that embody the rich culture coming from Filipino beverages. Each sip will leave you wanting more.
Table of Contents
Image credit: Ang Sarap Pinoy Recipes
The Philippines is one of the world’s largest exporters of coconuts or “buko” in Tagalog. It’s only natural that Filipinos have a special drink dedicated to this beloved fruit – the Buko Shake.
What’s in it: Water, sugar, and coconut juice mixed with evaporated milk and topped with shredded coconut meat.
How it tastes: Creamy, coconut-y, and sweet.
Melon Juice is one of the drinks that every Filipino reaches for on a hot sunny day as it only needs a few ingredients.
Image credit: Kawaling Pinoy
Depending on your preferences, you can add in some milk to achieve a creamier taste.
What’s in it: Juice of a melon (cantaloupe), shredded melon meat, water, sugar, and ice. Adding milk is optional.
How it tastes: Fruity, sweet, and refreshing.
Image credit: The Filipino Chronicle
If you prefer to drink coffee black and strong, then you’ll want to try out what Filipinos call Kapeng Barako. Originally started in Batangas, this drink has become widely known in the country for its robust and aromatic taste.
What’s in it: Liberica coffee beans brewed to taste.
How it tastes: Strong, woody, and smoky.
Image credit: Lazada
For those looking for a simple yet refreshing drink, a Calamansi Juice is a great option. Native to the Philippines and other parts of Asia, calamansi is one of the most used ingredients in Southeast Asian cooking that adds a distinct tartness to a dish.
On its own, a calamansi makes for a great refreshment.
What’s in it: Juice of calamansi, water, and sugar. It’s better if you add ice.
How it tastes: Tart and sweet; similar to the taste of lemon and lime.
Image credit: Recipes by Nora
Being sold at times by street food vendors, Sago’t Gulaman (short for Sago at Gulaman) is one of the most accessible drinks you can try out in a jiffy. You can even find them in malls around the food court or food halls.
This is another drink that’s simple to make that’ll quench your thirst in a second. You might even say that it’s a dessert in a drink.
What’s in it: Sago (tapioca pearls), gulaman (gelatin), brown sugar, water, and shaved ice.
How it tastes: Cold, sweet, and refreshing.
Image credit: Joshua Salva via Unsplash
If you’ve been to the Philippines, then you may hear “Taho” being yelled out on the streets every morning. That’s because Taho is a staple that’s commonly eaten in the morning.
Sweet and warm, it’s definitely a morning snack that’ll boost your energy to get you through the day.
What’s in it: Silken tofu, mini tapioca pearls, and arnibal (brown sugar syrup).
How it tastes: Sweet and custard-like texture (from the tofu).
Image credit: CLSU Navigator
Now, it’s common for everyone to know about cow’s milk. While it may come as a surprise for some people, carabao’s (water buffalo) milk is quite traditional in the Philippines. Aside from its nutritional value, carabao’s milk has been a staple ingredient in making kesong puti (cheese) and pastillas (milk candies) during the Spanish Era.
The beauty of it is that carabao’s milk is sold in different flavors in the country as well from a classic chocolate to a blueberry yogurt drink.
What’s in it: Carabao’s milk
How it tastes: Sweet, rich, and creamy.
Image credit: Alexander Mils via Unsplash
If you’re into smoothies or slushies, then a Mango Shake would serve you best. Mangoes, especially when ripe, make for a great blended drink as it turns into a smooth consistency along with mixed ingredients.
What’s in it: Filipino mangoes (frozen or room temperature), sugar, water, and ice. Adding evaporated milk is optional.
How it tastes: Icy and sweet.
Image credit: StyleCraze
Guyabano (soursop) Juice is another simple yet refreshing drink that you can try out. It has a distinct yet refreshing taste, especially when you drink it over ice.
It’s usually sold in concentrate form, so you only need to pour a certain amount, add water, and you’re done! And sometimes, they’re sold in a travel-friendly packaging, so you can drink it anywhere you go.
What’s in it: Fresh guyabano, calamansi, sugar, and water.
How it tastes: A mixed taste of strawberry, pineapple, and lemon.
Image credit: Ang Sarap
Different from the drinks mentioned above, Salabat (ginger tea) is best to drink when it’s hot. Used to remedy a sore throat, Salabat has a distinct ginger taste. If you find it overwhelming, you can add a hint of lemon and honey to give it more flavor.
What’s in it: Boiled ginger, lemon juice, honey, and hot water.
How it tastes: Spicy and herbal.
Image credit: Unsobered
For something with a kick, you can give Lambanog a shot. Also known as coconut wine or coconut vodka, Lambanog can pack a punch with a whopping 40% ABV. So if you decide to try this out, remember to drink responsibly.
So if you like coconut-flavored adult drinks, then this is definitely a great option to check out.
What’s in it: Distilled coconut sap.
How it tastes: Coconut-y and strong.
Image credit: Marilaque Fruit Wine via Facebook
Bugnay, also known as Bignay, Wine is another adult drink to try out if you’re into wine. Unlike Lambanog, this drink has a more fruity taste. Originating from different parts of the country, this drink is made from the berries of a bignay tree, considered cousins of a blackcurrant.
What’s in it: Fermented bignay berries.
How it tastes: Sweet and fruity.
Every dish tells a story. Drinks are no different. These timeless drinks doesn’t only indulge your taste buds, but it also serve as flavorful vessels that take you to the heart of Filipino culinary heritage.
Suffice it to say, these drinks are more than beverages – they are a celebration of the Philippines’ diverse flavors.
Also, check out ulam recipes from different Philippine regions, Filipino celebrity-owned restaurants, and up and coming Filipino food brands to try. For more recommendations like this, head to The Smart Local Philippines.
Cover image adapted from: The Filipino Chronicle, Alexander Mils via Unsplash, Ang Sarap
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