Magbunga is Tagalog for “fruit” or “blossom” and indicates the culmination of a harvest or yield. In the case of this drink, the name is a nod to classic Tiki cocktail culture. Filipino ingredients and recipes inspired the recipe, which is an homage to the midcentury Filipino bartenders who contributed their know-how and creativity to the genre—notably Mariano Licudine, Bob Esmino, and Ray Barrientos.
I’ve used a number of ingredients that are common in tropical cocktails and also in Filipino cuisine: rum, pineapple, coconut, banana, and calamansi. The formula is also partly inspired by the piña colada, but I’ve swapped in nondairy banana milk for the coconut cream to render a slightly drier, more aromatic drink. The coconut flavor is deployed as an infusion to bring in those creamy, floral notes, without the added sweetness. As the name implies, flavors unfold and blossom as you move from noticing the nut and flora notes on the nose, take in the drinks dry, slightly creamy palate, and experience a dry, slightly spicy finish courtesy the rum and banana.
This recipe also lends itself well to batching up for a crowd: simply combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive container and chill for three to four hours before serving over ice. Oleo saccharum can be ordered online, but it’s also easy to make your own. For the infused rum, I suggest seeking out the Filipino brand Kasama.
For the coconut-infused rum:
- 16 oz. aged rum (preferably Kasama brand)
- ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil (liquified at room temperature)
For the cocktail:
- 2 oz. coconut-infused rum
- ½ oz. banana milk
- ½ oz. pineapple juice
- ¼ oz. calamansi concentrate
- ¼ oz. oleo saccharum
- Fresh or dried pineapple slice, for garnish
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