I urge you to have a taste of Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka. The Philippine-made cocktail drink will make you proud.
To me, it’s like Werther’s caramel candy with a zing. I derive pleasure from it—on the rocks, mixed with coffee, spiked on milkshakes—whether in vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavors.
I love it so much, I have baked a delectable Kanto Tiramisu and cooked melt- in-your-mouth Kanto Salted Caramel Ribs.
Kanto Vodka is made by Destileria Barako, a quaint, state-of-the-art distillery tucked away in the jungle of Malay, just off Boracay.
Established in 2016, the distillery has become a tourist attraction. Backpackers and travelers visit to see the process of how some of the best small-batch gin and vodka in the Philippines are made.
Last year was more than kind to Destileria Barako. Its hard work and products were recognized by the SIP Awards (the only internationally recognized consumer judging spirits competition). The Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka, as well as the Sirena Blue Pea Gin, won the Double Gold (the highest award in its category), while Sirena Dry Gin won the Platinum.
Destileria Barako’s director and liquid chef Kalel Demetrio is in charge of concocting these cocktails with a Filipino spin.
At Agimat, a bar in Poblacion, Makati, that highlights local, indigenous ingredients in food and drinks, is where you can catch Demetrio at work on his cocktails. He says he’s inspired by travels across the Philippines—his work influenced by native traditions, local culture and personalities.
A recent to trip to Ilocos led him to pay tribute to Ilocano-born heroes Diego and Gabriela Silang.
It is said that Diego loved coffee while Gabriela had a penchant for pickled ampalaya and basi. Take a look at Demetrio’s drink recipes in which he incorporates the Silangs’ favorites.
30 ml Sirena Dry Gin
30 ml Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka
5 ml panutsa syrup
5 ml pandan extract
30 ml Ilocos beans cold brew
5 ml mountain herbs infusion
10 ml Lime Oleo Saccharum Water
Coconut pandan foam and latik for garnish
Combine in a shaker. Shake and strain. Garnish.
Laban ni Gabriela
45 ml Sirena Blue Pea Gin
45 ml Mountain Province tea infusion
20 ml mango bitter gourd basi shrub
30 ml Vigan basi
10 g pickled ampalaya
30 ml lime juice
Garnish rosemary leaves, dehydrated edible flowers. Combine in a shaker. Shake and strain. Garnish
Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka Ribs
2-3 racks St. Louis style pork ribs
½ c soy sauce
1½ c Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper, coarsely
3 pcs ginger, sliced
1 tbsp garlic, pounded
3 pc star anise
1 tsp all spice
1 cinnamon stick
Pork stock or water with 1 pork cube
Rub ribs with salt and pepper. Put ribs in a baking dish and add the rest of the ingredients, pouring just enough pork stock to cover the ribs. Do not drown the ribs in liquid so as not to lose flavor.
I bake my ribs meat side down for the meat to absorb more flavor. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a 350° F preheated oven for 1 hour or until the ribs are fork tender.
Put ribs on a griller and brush with stock from baked ribs, 2 minutes per side or until ribs are warmed through. Start basting with Kanto basting sauce, leaving the ribs on the grill until nicely glazed and lightly charred.
Kanto Salted Caramel Basting Sauce:
2 tbsp oil
1 c sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 c stock from baked ribs
1½ c Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka
2 tbsp butter
1 red onion, chopped
4 tbsp flour
In a heavy pan, add oil and sugar. Caramelize sugar in the hot pan. When sugar is golden, add soy, stock and Kanto. Simmer 20 minutes. Cool.
In a separate sauce pan, saute onions in butter until translucent. Add flour and mix well. Add cooled Kanto Salted Caramel Vodka mixture. Simmer until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. If you want your sauce sweeter, add sugar to taste. Add chili powder, should you want spice. Serve extra sauce with the ribs.
Destileria Barako products are available on Boozy.ph, Robinsons Supermarket and Rustan’s Supermarket.
www.reggieaspiras.com; follow @iamreggieaspiras on Facebook and Instagram