Who would’ve thought that cocktails can come in bottles?

As the Filipino drinking culture evolves occasion per occasion, and bottle per bottle, it isn’t just about beer and hard drinks anymore. Bottled cocktails have entered the drinking scene, and they’re performing better than we thought.

35cl Cocktail Co. initially used their bottled cocktails as gifts for close friends

Niko Tiutan, 35cl Cocktail Co.’s beverage director, says that in recent years more and more Filipinos have been drinking alcohol not just to get drunk but to really enjoy the beverage. There’s a better appreciation for alcoholic drinks now that consumers have become more knowledgeable and exposed to various types of beverages, particularly those with alcohol. 

THE ROLE OF TIME IN COCKTAIL-MAKING

Along with his partner Alex Atienza, Tiutan initially had the idea of uniquely crafted bottled cocktails as a creative outlet. Also, besides giving them as gifts to friends, their cocktail creations proved to come in handy during spontaneous gatherings in which they needed to serve drinks.

It’s creativity, not speed, that plays a vital role in their cocktails, anyway—and one needs to be well-inspired (and rested) to ensure just that.

“Limiting the [number of] bottles we create allows us to create consistently as well as to constantly create and conceptualize new beverages and pursue our end goal of experimentation and exploration,” says Tiutan.

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35cl Co. does not believe that operating full time and all-year round would be good for their business. They follow a biannual schedule, which gives them the break they need to research, experiment, and improve on the next collection while pursuing their other interests. Although having some “downtime” doesn’t seem ideal for a business, it’s what works best for them. It’s creativity, not speed, that plays a vital role in their cocktails, anyway—and one needs to be well-inspired (and rested) to ensure just that.

“Everything is priced just the same so that people only have to worry about what flavor entices them instead of what’s cheaper or more expensive,” says Tiutan.

35cl Cocktail Co. is all about being simple, direct, and impactful, and so they make sure that they’re not tied to a single variant,  instead creating one-of-a-kind flavors for their customers. Again, 35cl Cocktail Co. only releases their products biannually, with each made-to-order bottle representing their creative vision.

Having only launched in July last year, their past two collections showcased six cocktail flavors that tap into familiar food and drinks: grapefruit, coconut, caramel popcorn, chocolate, eggnog, and hibiscus. The flavors are grouped according to three categories: sour, experimental, and built.

“Everything is priced just the same so that people only have to worry about what flavor entices them instead of what’s cheaper or more expensive,” says Tiutan.

Flavors during their past two collections include coconut, popcorn, hibiscus, eggnog, chocolate, and caramel.

Taking into consideration labor and production cost, all of their cocktails are priced at 950 pesos. Following a small production setup, as it’s only the two-man team of Tiutan and Atienza who makes the cocktails, they were able to yield 120 bottles for each variant for the first two collections. 

“We believe that people are developing a better palate for good cocktails and are more willing to try different flavors. Given this, we also think that low-ABV cocktails or even mocktails could work in the Philippine market in the future, as it has in other countries,” says Tiutan.

Each of 35cl Cocktail Co.’s “straightforward yet thoughtful” drinks includes the company’s origin story, preparation instructions, a guide on aroma, tasting notes, and recommended servings in order to ensure that their vision translates into a memorable drinking experience. Considering that the past releases served as  somewhat of a testing ground, their products did better than expected based on their customer’s positive feedback.

CREATIVITY (AND EMPATHY) IN A BOTTLE

35cl simply means 350ml, the content volume of each of their bottled cocktails. The brand wants to encapsulate  Japanese beer brewers’ thoughtfulness and empathy—as seen in how, for instance, they add braille labels on their beverages so that visually impaired individuals won’t consume alcoholic products by accident. 35cl Cocktail Co. adopted a similar braille logo to make the same consideration.

“With the shift in preference for drinking at home, such as having wine or G&T nights at home with close friends, we believe that this new trend has created a market for our bottled cocktails. We believe that people are developing a better palate for good cocktails and are more willing to try different flavors. Given this, we also think that low-ABV cocktails or even mocktails could work in the Philippine market in the future, as it has in other countries,” says Tiutan.

35cl Cocktail Co. is looking forward to a more dynamic cocktail culture in the Philippines. Their future collections promise new concepts as they plan to work on lesser known ingredients while consistently striking a perfect balance among different flavor profiles. But more than anything, each of their meticulously crafted beverages will remain to be a product of creativity and empathy—with a little bit of alcohol.

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