The Convenient Cocktail

TUSK Social’s bottled negroni makes craft cocktails available to anyone, anywhere.

by Philbert Dy, photo by Mica Abesamis
The negroni isn’t the most complicated cocktail: equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari mixed in a rocks glass with ice, garnished with an orange wheel or a piece of orange peel.


But even with a drink that simple, it can still be difficult for someone to get his or her fix. Not everyone wants to invest in a fully stocked liquor cabinet, for example. Is it really worth getting a whole bottle of Campari for the occasional cocktail? And what gin do you use? What kind of vermouth?


One could pop in to the nearest bar for a negroni, but then one would have get up and get dressed and deal with Manila’s ever-worsening traffic. Sometimes, especially at the end of the kind of long day that might require a cocktail, that might be too much effort.

It is a simple drink, but it isn’t usually a convenient one for most people. Kyle Francia’s TUSK Social aims to change that.

 

Right now, they’re offering up a pre-mixed negroni in a bottle. They recommend serving it chilled or poured over ice, preferably with a garnish of orange peel. And what you end up with is a drink that could be served at any of the hippest bars in Metro Manila. This isn’t alcopop, either: the drink doesn’t in any way try to mask the spirits involved. The herbal tones of gin are right up front, and the bittersweet aspects of Campari are right there along with it. Taken straight, the drink’s serious construction is evident. Ice and dilution will soften the edges, but it won’t entirely hide the wild things lurking within the amber liquid. This is a serious cocktail that seems to be meant for people who want to get serious about drinking.

 

 

But it puts all that seriousness into a compact package. The drink is delivered in 90ml bottles that might be mistaken for toiletries at first glance. That makes it a truly portable potable: one could conceivably carry a bottle around anywhere, and a guard digging through bag at the entrance of a mall wouldn’t give it a second look. That puts a serious cocktail always within reach of the thirsty traveler.

 

But its appeal is just as potent when kept at home. The bottles can be stored for up to eighteen months, and the complexion of the drinks may change as they age. So aside from the sheer convenience of just being able to pour out a real craft cocktail, these negronis can offer up a range of tasting experiences, the chemistry packed inside these bottles offering up the possibility of a very different kind of drink a few months from now. What it loses in edge, it gains in complexity: the mix of flavors becoming more delicate, the various spirits letting go of some of their sharpness as the blend and mature together.

 

TUSK Social is available at Taco Vengo, Global Beer Exchange, The Bottle Shop, and around 3 more establishments to be announced next week.

Also, check out there launch tomorrow at Taco Vengo.

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