Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Artist as Bartender

The artist as bartender.

Taiwanese artist Po Chih Huang is interested in two things for his project: to know more about the storied past of the Escolta district, where Transi(en)t Manila finds its home, and to develop a drink made from the local calamansi. 

Tools of the trade. 

His interest in developing a drink made from citrus fruits stems from his award winning Five Hundred Lemon Trees project, where he previously sold wine labels in exchange for funds to buy the said 500 lemon trees, which he then planted and from which he hopes to harvest enough fruit to turn into wine in the next couple of years. Upon arrival in Manila, he first noticed how ubiquitous calamansi is. Filipinos can't seem to live without it. We drink it as juice, we use it in our sawsawan in almost every meal. Po Chih and Chien Yu then chanced upon a locally made calamansi liqueur and found inspiration from it. Po Chih called his calamansi-based drink "Manila Research," which is an apt name for something that combines history, art and alcoholic alchemy. 

Po Chih Huang mixes history and art and turns it into a really nice drink. 

Add this to wanting to find out more about Escolta. Thus was born an idea for his laboratory. Why not ask Manila locals for stories about the districit, and in exchange, he would give them a sample of the drink he's developing based on calamansi? 

It's quite a combination: history and mixology, tales and cocktales. 

The laboratory at TEOFF in Escolta. 

It was happy hour in the middle of the day, in the middle of Escolta. The would be tellers came in, more than happy to tell their tales, but also curious about the strange brew that was promised. It was a happy exchange indeed. 

A first timer leaves his mark on Po Chih's lab wall. 

And we're not done. Come again tomorrow, 26 November, Wednesday, between 12:30-1:30 PM, and again on Saturday, 29 November at 2PM onwards at the TEOFF in Escolta. 

Tell us your stories. We'll give you a drink. 

More photos from Dayang Yraola's Facebook post

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