Spiked coffee and cupcakes put the “fun” in Fundador Café.
The new “booze shop café” concept opened last Thursday at Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill—“a fitting location for Fundador, which is the largest and oldest brand of Spanish brandy in the Philippines,” said Kendrick Tan, executive director of Emperador, Inc.
Tan knows his liquor well, having trained in Jerez, Spain, to better offer “brandy of a different hierarchy” to the Filipino market. Providing the drinking crowd with world-class liquor has always been a family affair, he said, since the established local liquor company Emperador, Inc., headed by his dad, tycoon Andrew L. Tan, acquired Fundador in 2015.
Kendrick, together with his brother, Megaworld first vice president Kevin, led the toast on Thursday afternoon to formally open the grab-and-go Fundador Café, which targets younger drinkers.
But first, a clarification.
“Brandy is not a tito drink,” said Tan. “We incorporated it in cocktails—even coffee—to give the drinks a bit of a buzz.”
At Fundador Café, one may buy drinks and pastries, and grab a bottle—or three. The basic bottles are the oaky Fundador Gold Reserve, full-bodied Fundador Solera, and the smooth, “pre-game” favorite Fundador Light.
The sweet aroma and elegant taste of these brandy variants come from aging in wine-enriched wooden barrels, which makes these liquor complementary ingredients to the café’s offerings.
Fundador Café also carries Harveys Sherry, a line of sherry also produced in Jerez, Spain.
Fundador Café may be a cute 50-square-meter store, but its “cocktail bar” makes up for the lack of a dining area. The menu includes drinks in three varieties: hot, cold and blended.
Hot drinks are mostly spiked coffee, indeed a gift for people who can’t decide whether to have coffee or a shot. Fundador Café Latte, created after the traditional Spanish carajillo drink, is espresso laced with Fundador Gold Reserve and Fundador Solera.
Other espresso-based drinks are Fundador Café Latte with Fundador Gold Reserve, and Café Exclusivo with Fundador Exclusivo.
For something sweet, Salted Double Caramel is hot black tea flavored with salted caramel and Fundador Double Light, topped with a swirl of caramel syrup.
Since it’s summer, Fundador Café’s cold and blended drinks have so far been a hit since the café’s soft-opening a month ago, Tan said.
Cold drink choices are Light Iced Tea with Fundador Light, Café Solera with Fundador Solera, and the crowd-favorite Harveys Mojito with lemon, mint and a shot of Harveys Sherry.
We like the Matcha Light blended drink, which has refreshing green tea, vanilla cream and Fundador Light. “It seems harmless but it’s not,” Tan warned. Orange Passion is soda with Harveys Bristol Cream.
Although the menu is created with millennials in mind, the café remains an 18-and-up shop, said Tan. So don’t be surprised if the barista asks for an ID when you order the Fundador Frappé—a swirl of ice, espresso and two kinds of Fundador.
In keeping up with the European coffee-shop vibe, Fundador Café also serves Italian gelato.
“The gelato flavors are infused with Harveys Bristol Cream,” said Tan. “The Amara Dark Chocolate and Dulce de Leche gelato can be had with candy and white chocolate sprinkles.”
Harveys Bristol Cream is a dessert wine with chestnut and amber tones. It is fragrant and has a velvety finish, and is a perfect flavoring for the Fundador Café cupcakes: Sherry Butter Cupcake, Banana Cupcake, Chocolate Cupcake and Vanilla Butter Cupcake.
These rich cupcakes are topped with Harveys Dark Chocolate Ganache frosting and “injected” with a mini squeeze tube of Harveys Bristol Cream—an Instagram dream.
The next Fundador Café will soon open in Iloilo, said Tan. Spiked sweets, and a line of premium Fundador Supremo (which costs as much as P15,000 per bottle), are some of the Fundador items Ilonggos can look forward to.