Monday, March 13, 2006

What's your Poison

My alcoholic beverage of choice is red wine, preferably a full bodied Shiraz. A couple of glasses after the sun sinks below the horizon, helps wash down dinner and sets up a relaxed evening apart from the fact that it is good for one’s heart.

My mate Michael, a Kiwi, who has made his home in the dry brown land, is a beer drinker who when offered a glass of red insists on adding ice. When he visited the Philippines a few months ago, the look of horror on his face when served a beer with ice in the glass was a sight to behold. His reaction to this desecration of his beer was payment in full for all the times he had abused those glasses of red. There must be some truth to revenge being a dish best served cold.

The Filipino habit of adding ice to their beer to my palate does it no harm, but I am not a connoisseur of the amber fluid. San Miguel, the largest brewer here, has a range of brews from the flagship Pale Pilsen through to their full strength Red Horse brand both of which can be purchased from your local sari sari store.

San Miguel is a Philippines’ success story; started in 1890 the company has grown into an operation with 100 facilities throughout South East Asia including China and Australia. Apart from beer it produces gin, brandy, vodka and rum, is the local coca cola bottler and has a range of food interests.

Brandy and rum are popular alternatives to beer with flask bottles being readily available from the ubiquitous sari sari stores. For the wine drinker there is a wide variety of the full spectrum that the grape can provide readily available from supermarkets and specialty wine stores.

Being a tropical country with an unfriendly grape growing climate, the available wines come from all corners of the world, from Spain, Italy, France, Chile, America and Australia. Aussie wines for the most part are priced at a similar rate to their home prices but for the others there is a considerable price advantage. A few days ago I had a very decent 6 year old Spanish Cab Sav for 350 pesos (AU$9.70).

Consequently, your humble scribe is having an enjoyable time discovering the range of red wines from around the world and saving a few pesos in the process. Especially if considered in the light of the cost of the same in the dry brown land.

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