In the heart of a local farm in Mindoro, Margarita Forès—amid the warmth of the sun that highlights the colour of the dalandans and the cool breeze of air that propels its fragrant citrus aroma—savours every sip of her glass of Destileria Limtuaco’s newest breakthrough in the Philippine craft spirits industry, of which she has been waiting for a long time.

Destileria Limtuaco & Co., the country’s oldest distillery and is known for its distinguished portfolio of spirits and liqueurs, officially launched its addition to the Manille Liqueur collection—the Manille Liqueur de Dalandan. After the successful introduction of Manille Liqueur de Calamansi, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. President Olivia Limpe-Aw and Manille Liqueur de Dalandan brand ambassador Margarita Forès unveiled the latest blend at Forès’ farm-to-table restaurant Grace Park in Rockwell. 

Besides the special concoctions made by the international mixologist Enzo Lim using Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, the guests enjoyed an exclusive array of dishes prepared and cooked using the vodka-based Dalandan liqueur and dalandan fruit. Notable of which was the roast Bacolod-style Lechon stuffed with the Dalandan liqueur and dalandan leaves that pairs best with the refreshing Sinturis Smash cocktail—a mix of Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, muddled lemon, mint leaves, and with a little bit of gin. The guests enjoyed as well the Doña Sol cocktail, which is a blend of Manille Liqueur de Dalandan, whisky, sweet vermouth, and orange juice, garnished with a dalandan leaf. Manille Liqueur was also a great drink even when it is served on the rocks or neat, proving the versatility of the liqueur.

“Manille Liqueur de Dalandan is the only liqueur in the world that utilised the essential oils of the fruit and captures the sweet zesty profile of dalandan,” said Limpe-Aw. “I saw the limited use of the crops we had here… I wanted to show everyone that with proper research, the right materials, and most importantly, drive and passion, we can find a way to be advocates of our own produce,” Limpe-Aw continued.

According to Limpe-Aw, the production of the liqueur helps the company’s CSR efforts to manifest because it cuts the middleman traders in the process making the local farmers to gain 100% profit. Also, the use of local Filipino products as its ingredient and exporting it to foreign markets helps not only the economy but also ignites pride in what the country has to offer. “I think we can very well compete with global spirits. We use natural products endemic in the Philippines. So maybe they [global competitors] are ahead of us because they’ve branded their products long ago but we got to start somewhere,” says Limpe-Aw. “We have to put the Philippines’ name in the liquor map.”

With this vision in mind, Limpe-Aw tapped the renowned restaurateur and chef Margarita Forès to be the brand ambassador of the collection’s newest addition. “I’ve always loved orange,” said Forès. “And I said to Olivia how I loved what they did with calamansi but why not try something with our Philippine orange, dalandan?” Forès then shared to guests her experience with the local farmers and she and Olivia visited the dalandan and calamansi farm that is few kilometres away from Calapan, Mindoro.

“Please spread the word about Manille Liqueur de Dalandan because not only are you showcasing the wonder and the beauty of Filipino products and cuisine, but we are also helping the Filipino farmers—bringing all these wonderful energy to the grassroots,” said Forès.