As the face behind SMITH Butcher and Grill Room, Ebeneezers, Poulet Manille, Ampersand, and the steam punk bar Hooch, restaurateur Icy Marinas knew it was only a matter of time before she redirected her passion to making and writing about drinks. “The idea of DrinkManila.com popped up three years ago when I had a weekly column called 'Tipple Tales,' under my drinking buddy and editor Tatum Ancheta. She was leaving the publication after a year and asked me if I was planning to continue writing for them. I asked her what her plans were, and a few days after, she came back to me with an initial idea of continuing her blog called The Forked Stiletto, which talked about her love for fashion and food. But then she also wanted to add a mixology section and she needed my help on that part. I thought, why not? I wanted to support her and happy continue to share my knowledge about drinks," she recalls.
Drinkmanila.com was born out of that collaboration, Icy continues. "We both loved cocktails and spirits—she has the advertising and editorial background, I had the F&B industry experience, connections, plus the understanding of the art of mixology. It all made sense to us. We had a chance to do what we loved and set up a business around it."
To get into the holiday season, Icy has conceptualized the perfect concoctions hinged on her most treasured memories growing up. “The inspiration I draw from are my Christmas and New Year childhood memories. I was immediately reminded by the first line of the song that goes, 'Malamig ang simoy ng hangin…' Basically, you can channel your energy and your love into what you do and that will make all the difference when you make a drink,” she admits.
And if ever you're one who has always enjoyed a cocktail but never had to make one, Icy says this Christmas season might be the best time to experiment. She gives the following tips to bring out your inner mixologist!
[related: Cheat Sheet: Four Creative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays]
Just think of your favorite childhood Christmas dessert. “Think of holiday treats and combine it with your favorite cocktail. For instance, a Marshmallow Old Fashioned or a Candy Cane Martini, a Leche Flan ramos fizz would also be a great and yummy idea,” Icy says.
Special fruits for a special season. “There’s no denying Christmas is very special time of the year. So it deserves the most special drinks like sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco, Champagne! Pop open the bottle and add the seasons fruits like, Baguio strawberries or a ponkan even. They look great and pairs well with your bubblies.”
Lay on the goodies. “Garnish you favorite cocktails with Christmas goodies like a ginger bread man or edible glitter. Make your cocktails fun with edible glitters in colors of red, white and green.”
Some like it hot. “For those who already find the weather a bit cold, you can also have your cocktails hot. They are called hot toddies or mulled wine. You could also enjoy a good spiked hot chocolate with whisky and creme dusted with more chocolate and Xmas sprinkles you find at baking shops.”
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Photographs courtesy of DrinkManila.com