Walk in bitter, walk out taken. This is the unofficial slogan of Bitters in BGC, an apothecary-themed bar where you can embrace your singularity in style with craft cocktails and flattering lighting.
“’Bitters’ is kind of a play on words – ‘cause if you’re single, then you’re bitter. But on the product side, you also get this extensive selection of bitters,” he explains. “We also came up with the whole idea of an apothecary, a pharmacy focused on bitters. And why? ‘Cause if you’re heartbroken, we have the cure for what ails you!”
Indeed, you can expect medical trays, chemistry equipment, shelves lined with jars of preserved infusions, and drinks in beakers when you visit.
Serious and casual drinkers alike would enjoy Bitters’ well-balanced craft cocktails. The bar has over 500 bottles of spirits, liqueurs, vermouths, bitters and more. Lee, who is an experienced bartender himself, stocks the shelves himself with rare bottles from the US and Europe.
“Our focus is on gin – we have at least fifty kinds – and a lot of bitter flavors,” he says, adding that he aims to have a hundred types of gin in the bar. “But we also play around with all sorts of infusions: barks, herbs, spices.” At Bitters, the barmen will use anything from cardamom to snake fruit, often sourcing their ingredients from Quiapo or Assad in Makati.
L-R: The Wink, 5-Spice Mojito, The Minx
One of Bitters’ popular cocktails is the 5-Spice Mojito (P470), made with Bombay Sapphire gin, 5-spice syrup, Angostura bitters, ginger ale, lime, and tarragon.
The Wink (right): Jameson Irish Whiskey, honey, lemon, tarragon, tonic bitters.
The Minx (left): Jameson Irish Whiskey, strawberry puree, rosemary pear syrup, Dolin sweet vermouth, lemon juice, rosemary
For someone on the prowl, Lee recommends The Wink & The Minx (P380), two cocktails for the price of one. The Wink (for men) and The Minx (for women) always come in a pair; while they’re perfect for couples, they work even better for singles.
“Say you’re single, sitting at the bar, and you see a girl at another table. You order the drinks. You get The Wink, and you send her The Minx. The drink will be served in a coaster with your name and number on it.” True to the Bitters theme, the coaster reads: My name is Doctor ___, sending you a prescription made with Jameson Irish Whiskey. If symptoms persist, call ____.
As for the success rate, “I have not been collecting data, but I’m guessing later in the evening, the numbers go up!”
L: Head bartender Ralph Allen Santos creating his Bacardi Legacy finalist cocktail.
R: The final drink, Nos Unimos. Made with Bacardi Oro, dry Rosé wine, honey, saline, lime & Angostura bitters
Bitters is not only home to playful cocktails, but to talented bartenders as well. Glenn Talavera and Ian Libang are finalists in the Diageo World Class 2017, Diageo’s worldwide mixing competition. Head bartender Ralph Allen Santos is headed to the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition with his cocktail Nos Unimos (P420): a delicious, potent combination of Bacardi Oro, dry Rosé wine, honey, saline, lime and Angostura bitters.
Bartender Jay Natividad adding the final touches to The Minx
If this still doesn’t catch your fancy, you can always ask any of these personable barmen for a classic cocktail or a bespoke one. For the latter, you will be asked for your preferred spirit and flavor profile (citrusy, spirit-driven, floral, etc). They will then whip up a specialty cocktail, inspired by your mood, personality, or even the clothes you’re wearing.
Cocktails at Bitters are best enjoyed with Bacon Chicharon (P250) from 2nd’s, the sister restaurant downstairs
If you’re raring to mingle, Lee recommends dropping by on their Love Potion Saturdays. DJs play well into the night, single ladies can partake of their special Love Potion cocktail, and the bar gets so packed patrons sometimes spill out on the street. But if you ask us, the best time to come by is on weekdays, when it’s quiet and intimate. Trust your bartender to become your friend, and time to pass by quick; by the end of the night you’ll be captured – if not by a new lover, then by a drink.
Words by Jess Jacutan
Photos by Jess Jacutan and Ian Benetua
Unit A7/B8 Burgos Parklane, Forbestown Road, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (above 2nd’s Restaurant)
Open Mondays-Sundays, 5 pm onwards
(02) 942 9750