Bottoms Up! Filipino Beverages You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

Whether it’s a hot cup of coffee or something to combat the hot weather, the Philippines got you covered!
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In addition to the distinct and tantalizing food of the Philippines, which will no doubt get your appetite going, Filipino beverages are one of the country’s greatest cultural treasures that deserves its time on the limelight as well. Besides, what else do you do after you’ve munched on the delightful feast that is Filipino food? You’ll be needing something to wash all of that down and there’s no better way to do so by indulging in some of the best drinks the country has to offer!

When it comes to beverages, the Philippines has a diverse selection, which includes anything from piping hot cups of coffee to ice-cold fruit smoothies that are quite refreshing. Everyone will find something to their liking!

Kicking off another food series, this is the first out of a series of articles that will tackle the incredible drinks found in the Philippines. First stop: drinks that don’t contain alcohol!

Batangas' Best: Kapeng Barako (Batangas Coffee) –
Photo from Wow Batangas

In the Philippines, coffee is a ubiquitous and essential beverage. Coffee is definitely one of the most widely consumed drinks in the Philippines, which should come as no surprise given that Filipinos are hardworking people who get their days started early. Kapeng barako is a kind of coffee that comes from the Coffea liberica species and is cultivated in the Philippines, most often in the regions of Batangas as well as Cavite. 

In the 1740s, Spanish friars were the ones responsible for bringing barako coffee to the Philippines. Its roots may be tracked all the way back to the lowlands of Lipa, Batangas, where it was first cultivated. From there, it moved to other parts of the province, and eventually Batangas became well-known in the country for the high quality of its coffee. The word “stud” has the connotation of masculinity and machismo in the languages spoken in the Philippines, hence the word “barako” is associated with manliness. 

Even while the demand for barako hasn’t reached the heights it did two centuries ago, it hasn’t prevented certain restaurants and enterprises in the Philippines (and throughout the globe) from recognizing its worth. This is due to the fact that barako bushes may reach heights of up to 17 meters and have huge branches that call for expansive tracts of land.

Fun fact that may come as a surprise to learn is that in addition to being consumed as a drink, kapeng barako is also used in the spa industry as a body scrub.

Learn more about Kapeng Barako: Kapeng Barako: The Endangered Philippine Liberica 

Honey Lemon Salabat - Ang Sarap
Photo from Ang Sarap

The Filipino beverage known as salabat is prepared with fresh ginger and is considered a traditional herbal beverage. Salabat is often associated as a cure-all for flus, sore throats, and other mild illnesses.  The warming spice of the ginger helps to relieve a sore throat and gives comfort, which is especially useful around the cold and flu seasons

. The act of drinking salabat is said to bring on emotions of nostalgia, home, and comfort as they are typically prepared by worrying mothers and grandmothers. Just cut up some fresh ginger into thin slices, cover it with water in a saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes so that the robust and fiery taste can infuse the beverage. Include the lemon, and then use some brown sugar to sweeten it and you’ve got yourself a nice, warm cup of salabat—ready to soothe your troubles.

Learn to make it here:

Kamias Shake Recipe |
Photo from Yummy PH

The Philippines is a tropical nation, so naturally, there will be an abundance of fruits to go around. And, as a humid, tropical country, it’s no surprise that these fruits have been turned into refreshing smoothies. One fruit that often gets overlooked when it comes to citruses is kamias. Kamias on its own can be extremely sour—it’s common to use the fruit as a souring agent for some recipes. But the combination of sweet and sour in this cold refreshing drink creates a taste that is nothing short of explosive. This beverage is not only good for you from a nutritional standpoint, but it is also a great way to cool down when it’s hot outside!

It’s not hard to whip up a batch of this refreshing beverage at home. Just put Kamias fruits, water, ice, and sweeteners in a blender and puree it and you’re already halfway done. After that, continue to add ice as necessary in order to get a smooth consistency, and then serve!

Iskrambol - Ang Sarap
Photo from Ang Sarap

Iskrambol is yet another way that can be used to alleviate the discomfort brought by by the sweltering heat of summer. This Filipino drink is a true star in the early memories of each and every child who was raised in the Philippines. It is a common item sold by street vendors and is a well-liked sugary treat among children thanks to the fact that it is reasonably priced and is available in a wide range of vibrant colors. Often found outside of schools, it’s not uncommon to see children lining up to a vendor’s cart waiting to get their hands on the vibrant drink. Iskrambol is created with shaved ice, banana essence, and evaporated milk with added sugars (or condensed milk). It is then topped with a variety of ingredients like marshmallows, sprinkles, and milk powder among others.

Why not try making this sweet drink yourself? 

Freshly-Squeezed Calamansi Juice - Kawaling Pinoy
Photo from Kawaling Pinoy

Calamansi is another citrus fruit that can transformed into a delightfully cold sweet and sour drink. This particular citrus fruit is native to the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. Calamansi, also known as Philippine lime, is native in the country which means there’s a slew of recipes that utilize the sour fruit. In addition to these delicious dishes, you’ll also find a recipe for a cool drink that is not only a terrific way to beat the heat but is also beneficial for the health.

The flavor of calamansi juice is enhanced when it is chilled before drinking. If you are going to serve it over ice, you should make it a bit stronger by squeezing in more calamansi since the taste will be diminished as the ice melts. This juice is sometimes made sweeter by the addition of sugar or honey.

Here’s a guide on how to make one: 

Photo from: Authentic Filipino Recipes

You cannot call this a Filipino beverage list if it does not have the all-time favored panulak, Sago’t Gulaman, which literally translates to “tapioca pearls and almond jelly.” Also referred to as “samalamig” or  “palamig,” this refreshing drink has an incredibly distinct taste and color that effortlessly makes it stand out among other beverages found here in the Philippines. Sago’t gulaman’s unique savor is attributed by a simple yet a “match-made in heaven” mixture of water, lots of ice, sugary syrup, tapioca pearls, and gelatin. Some also add banana essence to make the aroma and taste all the more pleasant and enticing.

This beverage is so widely-known throughout the Philippines that you can find it in a lot of food establishments. What’s more is that due to its fairly cheap price, sago’t gulaman can be considered as a drink for people from all walks of life; it is also sold in the streets and food stalls found inside schools, malls, and even train stations! 

Try making one at home:

Photo from: Buhay Verde

If you want a drink that could make you feel refreshed and healthy at the same time, look no further because this next one got that covered! Looking at its name, one can easily have a clear idea of what Pandan tea is made out of. 

Pandan or pandan leaf is a fragrant plant that originates from the countries of Southeast Asia. Southeast asian households usually utilize this tropical plant to improve the taste of their dishes as well as to make it smell a bit more pleasant. They also use this plant as a natural air freshener and insect repellant. And get this,  apart from being a good taste and smell enhancer, it is also packed with nutritious properties that are beneficial to one’s health! The versatility of this plant is indeed interesting. 

But what’s most interesting about it is the fact that people in the Philippines discovered a way to turn this versatile plant into an aromatic beverage–with health benefits, too! Either served hot or chilled,  Pandan tea is a drink that possesses a great amount of healthiness disguised in an addicting savor and aroma. As your tongue enjoys its taste, your heart and kidneys enjoy it, too! You see, pandan is proven to have components that are helpful in making your heart and kidneys healthy as well as in lowering your blood pressure. If you have asthma, then drinking this will also benefit you. What’s more, this tea can save you from developing the painful arthritis known as “gout” by lowering the uric acid levels in your body.  

Learn a recipe here:

Photo from: Home Remedies & Natural Treatments

Another tea in the list is the one made from lemongrass or tanglad. Similar to pandan, tanglad leaves are also utilized for boosting the fragrance and savor of particular dishes. And since it is comparable to pandan, the tea version of this plant is also packed with health benefits. A cup of tanglad tea not only makes your kidneys and liver healthy, but it also helps you in flushing out toxic wastes from your body. Pretty amazing for a common plant right? 

Learn its recipe here:

There we go, some deliciously reviving beverages for everyone to enjoy! Keep an eye out for the next one because we’ll be taking it up a notch with alcoholic drinks! 

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