The Blind Pig
227 Salcedo St. Corner Gamboa
0917 549 2264
So the cat is out of the bag. The Blind Pig was featured on CNNGo Best of Manila last week and I must confess I was a little bit sad. The secret has been told and now the flood gates are open. There’s no use trying to keep it secret anymore so here it is.
I first went to the Blind Pig around December of last year and immediately loved the place. It made me feel like I was back in San Francisco for just a fleeting moment. The influence of the American cocktail culture was evident and surely enough I later learned that the owners had brought in a bartender consultant from Milk & Honey in New York.
So what’s so special about the Blind Pig?
The Blind Pig is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar where there is no sign and the door is locked. After you get buzzed in, you enter a very dimly-lit room with booths around the walls, a couple tables in the center and a four seat bar. The staff will hand you a card with the drink and bar food menu, but are eager to leap off of the menu to suggest classic or prohibition-era cocktails. Maybe that’s why they turn the lights down and hand you a menu with a 4-point font.
The cocktails at the Blind Pig are good. Really good. No sour mix, no freakishly blue schnapps, nor will you find 40 different flavored vodkas. They squeeze citrus to order and use high quality spirits. Also ice is taken very seriously. Depending on the drink you order the ice will either be hand crushed or shaved to the shape of the glass.
When I go, I usually start out with clear spirits before inevitably working my way towards whiskey cocktails as my vision begins to blur. The Gordon’s Cup is a great one to start with. It is a gin based cocktail with muddled cucumber and mint. It is lightly sweetened with simple syrup and then finished with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. It has a slightly savory aspect from the salt and pepper but is still very refreshing.
The Gold Rush is a favorite at the Blind Pig. This is made from bourbon, honey and lemon, served in a highball with hand-shaved ice. As I mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the classic whiskey sour and here they top it off with a dash of Angostura bitters.
What most distinguishes the Blind Pig though is the staff. When they take your order they ask for your name and refer to you by name for the rest if your stay. They have a great depth of product knowledge but pull it off without being stuffy.
In other words they’re doing it right. There’s no shortage of places to go in Manila to slam buckets of San Miguel Light while your ears bleed out from nerve-grindingly high volume pop music. But if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and a really good stiff drink your choices are far fewer. Now let’s hope they are able to keep their chilled vibe despite all of the unwanted attention.
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