There’s a colorful whisky bar in Poblacion and it’s going to be up only until May.
Brand ambassador Nico Bolzico recently hosted the housewarming party of the Johnnie Walker House, a pop-up pub along the bustling Burgos area in Makati (look for the Striding Man logo beside Ringside midget-boxing bar, you won’t miss it).
The Scotch brand “built” the previous Houses on Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street, and the Poblacion pub is so far the biggest with several couches, cozy chairs and a full bar. It occupies the second level of the building and can accommodate a crowd when the DJ plays till around 3 a.m.
For a bit of fun and liquor education, Bolzico and senior brand manager Andrea Raralio facilitated a blind whisky pairing activity. Guests were served a whisky flight with four Johnnie Walker blends, paired with grazing table bites from Aperitif: premium Italian cold cuts, crackers, nuts, fresh and dried fruits, and cheeses.
And since we love Scotch, this writer got it right.
First, the fruity Johnnie Walker Green Label with a hint of grass and sandalwood (eaten with cheddar); followed by the smooth Gold Label Reserve with notes of vanilla and dark fruit (with strawberry); then the classic Black Label with smoke and vanilla (with torched marshmallow); and finally the luxurious Blue Label with velvety chocolate, honey and rose petals (with Jamon Serrano).
Bolzico gave us a prize: a glass of the rare, top-shelf King George V served neat—after making sure he won’t be paying for it.
‘Tall, Dark and Have Some’
Check out the cocktails by mixologist Lester Ligon: “A Study in Scarlet,” “Meet Joe Black,” “It Takes Two to Tango,” “Blister in the Sun,” “The Witching Hour” and the “Game of Thrones”-inspired Night King Sour.
Absolutely no beer at the Johnnie Walker House. For something light, the classic combination of whisky and ginger ale is offered.
Ligon, Diageo Reserve World Class
Philippine Bartender of the Year 2019, can make basic drinks, but please, try the Special Highballs: Red Opera House; Tall, Dark and Have Some; Tap Tap Double Tap; Grass Is Greener, Birds and the Beest.
Getting a bottle for a group is also a good idea, especially when partying to the music acts of CC Concepts, Logiclub and Groove Manila.
New to whisky? Bartenders are always game to answer questions. Price for the drinks start at P180, whiskey flight at P450 and bottle at P2,200.
Bar chow is typical Tex-Mex: empanadas (cheese, pork or beef), salchipapas (sausage and fries), albondigas Frito (meatballs), tacos, peanuts and popcorn.
Since it’s Poblacion, Johnnie Walker House is legit Instagrammable. There’s a neon wall of pop art. A mural by street artist Jappy Agoncillo, and artworks by Lee Caces, Kate Quebrar and Kara Pangilinan complete the industrial look. They also designed the limited-edition labels on Johnnie Walker bottles, sold on site.
Johnnie Walker may been typecast as old school “tito drink,” but it can be a chill one, too.