Drink

Ginebra's 1834 Honors a Golden Era of Refinement and Discovery

1834 is a truly noteworthy year.
ILLUSTRATOR WARREN ESPEJO
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Ginebra San Miguel traces its history back to 1834 when the Distileria Licorea de Ayala or Ayala Distillery was established in the Philippines. One of its products was Ginebra San Miguel, a gin that was the result of purifying alcohol to give it a stronger body and smoother taste. It appealed to both masses and members of high society. 

But more than celebrating Ginebra’s heritage, the 1834 Premium Distilled Gin hearkens back to the glorious Philippine era it was named for. 

The year 1834 was a momentous period in Philippine history. It was the year when the Royal Company of the Philippines was abolished, ushering in the start of the country’s golden era of commerce and prosperity. It ended the Spanish monopoly over the Philippines and allowed free trade to flourish. Manila became a premier port for Asian and European traders.

That fateful event in 1834 would allow not only the entry of foreign goods into the Philippines, but also the entry of liberal and democratic ideas in the form of books, journals, and other periodicals shipped into Manila’s harbor. This influx of new ideas would give rise to the ilustrados—“enlightened” individuals who would shape the Philippines’ future as they fought for reforms. 

It was also a period of renewed culture and refinement brought by the rise of a new class of Filipinos: the mestizos. They were regarded with much respect as they exuded grace and sophistication, and had the financial prosperity brought about by the free market. These mestizos would later sire children—some of whom would later be instrumental in the Propaganda Movement, a nationalist movement that ultimately led to the Philippine declaration of independence in 1898. Jose Rizal, Mariano Ponce, and Marcelo Del Pilar would be the Movement’s three pillars of Filipino nationalism. They embodied excellence, refinement, and honor.

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All of these historic moments in Philippine history could be traced to 1834 when the great veil of Manila was lifted and opened to the world. It was the year Europe and Asia embraced the port of Manila, transforming the nation into a new world of enterprises. Among the few surviving and successful enterprises born in that year was Ginebra San Miguel, which commemorates that year with its most premium gin yet. 

If the year 1834 was made into a drink, it would only have to be the Ginebra 1834 Premium Distilled Gin.

The 1834 tastes exotic yet elegant, with distinctly Philippine floral notes: It is infused with sampaguita and calamansi, both of which provide an uplifting experience. Its body has a smooth quality, a distinction of purity Ginebra has been known for since its birth. Ginebra’s 1834 Premium Distilled Gin embodies the excellence, refinement, and honor of the people from 1834, a truly noteworthy year. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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