Morals and Mal­ice ups the ante of Cebu’s af­ter hours with craft cock­tails

Cebu Living - - Food - By RENZ NOLLASE Im­age by RYAN RA­CAL

“Craft” and “ar­ti­sanal” used to mean some­thing in the world of food and drink— that is, un­til they lost their nov­elty some­time be­tween their tran­si­tion from be­ing marks of qual­ity to be­com­ing prover­bial click­bait in the world of F&B. Since then, peo­ple have learned that craft does not al­ways equal ex­cel­lent and that la­bels mean noth­ing un­less some­thing ac­tu­ally tastes good. But in Morals and Mal­ice, the bur­geon­ing speakeasy’s pro­pri­etors are chang­ing the cock­tail game for Ce­buanos, giv­ing craft cock­tails the credit they’re due with an at­ten­tion to de­tail that turns Fri­day night li­ba­tion into a liq­uid de­gus­ta­tion.

The craft cock­tail con­cept was the prod­uct of part­ners Ken­neth Cobon­pue, Glenn Soco, Paco Ro­driguez, and Michael Yu’s shared pas­sion for a good drink. While mixol­ogy has been de­vel­op­ing as a sci­ence in west­ern cul­tures and gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in Manila for a lit­tle over a year now, Cebu has yet to boast its own craft cock­tail bar. But Yu notes of his fel­low Ce­buano drinkers: “Cebu’s ready for a con­cept like this. They know what they’re pay­ing for. We have a few cus­tomers who ask ques­tions about the drinks and who are re­ally ques­tion­ing the stan­dards.”

To en­sure they’re not sell­ing the craft cock­tail cul­ture short, the men flew to Manila to seek out the per­fect part­ners to build the bar’s menu and drinks. What they got were Lee Wat­son, who part-owns ABV and de­vel­oped the bev­er­age pro­grams at es­tab­lish­ments such as So­laire and An­to­nio’s, to name a few, and Kalel “Liq­uido Mae­stro” Demetrio. The duo re­fined the four part­ners’ con­cept for Mal­ice. When pre­sented with the idea of build­ing a bar, the pro­pri­etors wanted to stick to the con­cept of Cebu, hence a col­lec­tion of drinks that re­volves around in­gre­di­ents en­demic to the is­land.

In com­ing up with the 15 cock­tails for Mal­ice, Demetrio asked for a tour of Cebu’s lo­cal mar­kets, in­clud­ing a trip to Car­bon

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