Compared to say, China, for example, the Philippines is almost a haven when it comes to getting a decent cocktail. There’s a real Western influence, and the quality is decent. But there is one place in Manila where the cocktails are not just good, they are bat-shit crazy amazing – and whilst expensive for Manila, it is cheap if you come from anywhere that isn’t Asia.
The Manila Hotel is a 560 room hotel, originally built in 1909 that has a real colonial charm to it, and in some ways is a bit reminiscent of Raffles in Singapore.
They serve a huge array of cocktails, whilst a band plays classical music in the background. Cocktails start at around $5 and go up to 7/8 bucks at the top end.
As a cocktail geek, what I loved the most is how all cocktails are served in the correct glasses. It really is the small things that make a difference.
Without wasting any more time here are the 5 best cocktails in Manila Hotel:
5) Amaretto Sour
One of my go-to cocktails and that is rarely seen much these days. Amaretto, sour mix, and sugar topped with grenadine.
4) Frozen Midnight
Ice, baileys, Kahlua, ice-cream, cream, all served in a nice cocktail glass. Essentially this is a dessert in itself. I hadn’t heard of this cocktail before, but it is very much in my orbit now!
The Brazilian classic! Cahacha (a kind of rum), lime, sugar packs a real punch! Manila Hotel did a really good job here.
2) Chocolate Martini
Holy wow! The chocolate martini in Manila Hotel blew my mind, not only did it include chocolate sauce, but also chocolate flakes. One of our group even got two. Can’t say bigger than that.
1) Moscow Mule
The original cocktail of vodka and ginger beer, but served in a tin mug with ginger. This is the only way to serve a Moscow Mule.
And did you eat at the Manila Hotel?
Dining was a lot cheaper than we expected with a special Octoberfest German menu (we got the bratwurst salad), and an amazing Japanese cheesecake for $5.
All in all, we ate and drank a lot, and it didn’t touch 30 bucks a person.
A man cannot live on Street Food alone, sometimes he needs a bit of class, and the Manila Hotel fully delivers.
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.