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The Maria Clara Lite

Desperation — not necessity — is the mother of invention.
After all, it was desperation which forced me to look for a quick, cheap fix one night when I discovered that the sangria I bought — Maria Clara sangria produced by Destileria Limtuaco — was far too sweet for my taste.
The company’s sangria used too much sugar, making it taste like the sweetener used in taho, a local snack food made from tofu.
But then again, I can’t blame the company.
Majority of Filipinos like to have their food and drink sweet, explaining why local companies produce ham, wine, spaghetti sauces, and indeed — sangria — to suit market preferences.
Let me just say that I have nothing against Destileria Limtuaco and their products.
Fact is, I love their calendars, pictures of which can be found at the company’s website. However, the calendars are not large enough to be used for desktop wallpapers, an oversight that the company should rectify (that is, if it wants increased website visits).
Anyway, a few days before Christmas, I bought two bottles of Maria Clara sangria, which were priced lower than various imported brands.
Although I had tried, liked, and bought a foreign-made sangria before, I was prompted to buy locally when I was reminded that yes, a Philippine liquor company also made and sold sangria.
Besides helping the environment — foreign-made goods, however cheaper, incur more emissions since these need to be transported to our shores — buying Filipino also boosts the Philippine economy since local demand will encourage domestic firms to invest more in their operations.
More investments for local operations creates new jobs. New jobs increase demand for goods, which in turn, will lead to a virtuous cycle since companies will invest more for local operations.
But I digress (and too much at that).
When I finally took a sip of Maria Clara sangria, I realized that I wasn’t only endangering my liver, I was also increasing my risk for diabetes.
So I thought about a compromise, which in some way involved the manner by which I would kick the bucket (I went for liver cancer).
While seeking inspiration, I headed for the apartment’s micro-bar, which, at that time, was running low on supplies.
JMB — that’s Jack’s Micro-Bar to you, my friend — consisted of nothing but bottles of tonic water, a cocktail shaker, a shot glass, and a dozen or so lowball, champagne flute, and wine glasses.
I was then seized by inspiration.
And so, I now bring to you instructions for making what I call the Maria Clara Lite, a drink which I won’t call my own because someone else may have thought of this one beforehand.

1) Put two shots of Maria Clara sangria into cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2) Pour one shot of tonic water.
3) Shake vigorously.
4) Enjoy.

Pay much heed to instruction number four because this formulation can also work as a refreshing midday drink. Cheers!

From the Due Recognition is Given to department. Gratuitous White Castle billboard ad picture featuring RR Enriquez from White Castle whisky is produced by Destileria Limtuaco, the same company that makes Maria Clara Sangria. The pic is arguably a long shot from the blog entry topic but it remains better than a photo of a Maria Clara Sangria label.

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  1. Oi Booj, sounds really good when you frame it as a midday drink. Since SMB fooled around with Cerveza Negra’s formula (to cater to the young, they increased the sweetness a tad; same with Red Horse), might as well try that other midday drink too using Negra, but this time with lots of small ice and a light ring of salt around the rim of your tall glass and throw in a slice of lemon. The sugary Negra will then be just right. It makes for a good break.

  2. Thanks for reading, Red. And yes, thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t had enough of Negra to actually distinguish between the old and the new, sugary formulation. What I do remember however is that the Maria Clara sangria of old was less sugary. I once had a sip as a child during summer vacation at my grandma’s place in Bataan.