Tanduay Rhum is the drink you want to keep handy, a Filipino rock star once said during an unguarded moment.
When a drunken spree the night before leaves you completely plastered the next day, Tanduay can help you party again the next night and the night after that, the hard-drinking musical artist told his groupies.
“Just make sure you enjoy it moderately,” he said, sounding like a radio advertisement.
But then again, moderately or not, that piece of advice might be a bit hard to swallow.
After all, Tanduay is an acquired taste — and it’s not just because it’s the drink of choice of your neighborhood toughie (provided he survived Operation Tokhang, the Duterte government’s program that has resulted in murders of suspected drug addicts, including innocent civilians). Indeed, tokhang is enough to drive anyone to drink, whether Tanduay or brake fluid.
But that’s a story for another day.
Despite its bite, Tanduay remains mellow when taken neat or enjoyed with ice, the rock star said.
And since the rock star has enjoyed its rich texture more than he can ever care to remember, he has become something of a self-proclaimed expert on the Philippines’ best-selling rhum.
To preserve its strength and flavor, a bottle of Tanduay should be kept away from direct sunlight.
Harsh lighting can ruin its taste, the rock star added, without citing any scientific proof.
Moreover, a bottle, once opened, should be consumed immediately.
“Fortunately, that’s something that’s easy enough to do,” he said, in between sips of rhum during a late-night gig.
Although produced for the Philippines’ low-end — and possibly mid-tier — market, Tanduay’s appeal has gone global decades ago.
In the late eighties, a bottle of Tanduay was presented by a Filipino executive to his principals in Germany. It was all he could think of — and lay his hands on — while on the way to the airport after being dispatched from Manila on urgent business the day before.
“The Germans went crazy over it,” the executive said. “They said it was one of the world’s best rhums.”
As a result, every time he flew to the company’s headquarters, he made sure to bring a case. The gifts didn’t help his career but it certainly didn’t hurt it.
“I was only too glad that they enjoyed something that was uniquely ours,” said the executive, now in retirement.
Jovidel R. Tabuena (@_ourdailybrad on Instagram) works part-time, reads books full-time, and is half-asleep most of the time.
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