Vogue Partnerships

The Gin and Tonic as Drinkable Art

Courtesy of Tanqueray Philippines. Neon Island founders Chi Gibbs and Aira Medina at Tanqueray & Tonic

Inspired by the heritage of gin, Tanqueray hosted a series of workshops where greenery, art, and a twist on the classic gin and tonic blend in a harmonious fashion

Gin is a versatile spirit that lends itself well to creative cocktails. One of the most popular concoctions born from the juniper berry-distilled spirit is the classic gin and tonic, a highball cocktail with origins stemming from the British East Indian Company

Since fruits, herbs, and spices were introduced into the mix of the classic G&T, the stiff drink has been known as a fresh-tasting summertime beverage or a daily happy hour tipple.

At the Tanqueray Terrace, a pop-up alfresco bar in Bonifacio High Street Southway, the global gin brand hosted workshop sessions that merge visual arts with the popular cocktail across four workshops in the entire month of March with an artist-bartender pair.

Stylist Gabs Gibbs and bartender Rian Assidao Photo by Tanqueray Philippines

Each session includes an hour-long art workshop for guests to design their own Tanqueray Copa Glass followed by a round of mixing their signature Tanqueray & Tonic.

“In designing their own cocktails, we want to immerse our consumers into the world of Tanqueray while still allowing them to explore their flavor preferences with any Tanqueray flavor that serves their fancy,” says Cheenee Flordeliza, brand manager of Diageo Reserve and Word Class.

Courtesy of Tanqueray Philippines

For the theme “Native Floras,” Vogue Philippines sat down with mural artist Alaga and 2018 World Class Philippines Bartender of the Year Lester Ligon on their unique perspective on how they came up with Flora Aurora, a cocktail inspired by citrus, pandan leaves, and sampaguita that are endemic species in the Philippines.

“I [think] bartenders convey drinking like arts and crafts,” says Ligon. “There are many bartenders now who want to expand the craft into drinkable art so this is a good avenue to showcase that. Since working with Alaga, I took note of how they want to express Philippine culture in a drink.”

Growing up, Alaga was surrounded by the natural world. Every Saturday, his lolo would take him to the zoo. “That intuitive connection and appreciation for life really came in close to me,” he says. “Through nature, we have a lens to examine our humanity and history as human beings, [and] especially in the Philippines, we’ve always been connected to nature.”

He says that for Flora Aurora, he was inspired by plants found in a typical Filipino garden. Using the flavors and citrus hints of Tanqueray Sevilla and Rangpur Lime, the duo added Sampaguita, pandan leaves, and aloe vera juice to the mix.

Mural artist Alaga with his Tanqueray Copa Glass design Photo by Tanqueray Philippines
A bespoke gin and tonic at Tanqueray Terrace Photo by Tanqueray Philippines

“Gin is definitely pliable. It dresses itself in such a way where you can create a variety of drinks every single time,” says the bartender. “I figured that the floral notes of Sampaguita worked so well with the nutty notes of the pandan leaves.” He adds that the aloe vera juice adds a bit of comfort, especially on a sunny day.

“I really want to integrate this intention that whoever will taste [this drink], we want everyone to feel like they are right at home,” says the mural artist. “Being in a tropical country and with access to nature, we want Flora Aurora to have a sense of familiarity and evoke wonderful childhood memories.”

The Tanqueray Terrace series of workshops saw visual artists and award-winning bartenders collaborate with the goal of elevating the flavors of gin in diverse themes:

“Pacifico Summer” brings Neon Island founders Aira Medina and Chi Gibbs together with mixologist Rian Assidao, with cocktails styled by Gabs Gibbs. “Definitive Flavors” is one with illustrator Soleil Ignacio and 2019 Bartender of the Year winner David Abalayan. “Native Floras” presents Alaga and 2018 Bartender of the Year Lester Ligon. Finally, “A Botanical Journey” pairs multidisciplinary visual artist Anina Rubio and 2022 World Class Philippines World Class Bartender of the Year Claude de Lima.

For more information, follow Tanqueray Philippines on Instagram. The Tanqueray Terrace is open for all guests aged 18 years old and above from Wednesday to Sundays, 4 PM to midnight from March 11 until April 2 at Bonifacio High Street Southway. Drink responsibly.

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