If you’ve been following my blog and social posts, you’ll know that my husband and I love our cocktails and going around different bars in the country and abroad to sample craft drinks. So when we got invited by Okada Manila to sample the drinks concocted by Ian Osillo, one of the mixologists featured in The Guest Bartender Showcase 2023, at La Piazza Ristorante Italiano’s Trattoria area last September 20, 6-9PM, we made sure to attend.
Toasting with Okada Manila guest bartender Ian Osillo
The Guest Bartender Showcase 2023 of Okada Manila features the country’s top bartenders as guest bartenders for one-night-only events, where they bring their world-class specialty drinks to different bars around the 5-star integrated resort.
The event last Wednesday featuring Ian Osillo, renowned mixologist and Campari Philippines Brand Ambassador, coincided with Negroni Week, happening around the world until tomorrow, September 24. The special off-menu cocktails Osillo crafted for the one-night-only event were Negroni #8, Negroni Sbagliato, Aperitivo Way, and Pineapple Jack. Each were sold for P488 Nett.
Negroni #8, Osillo’s twist on the iconic Negroni, was made of Bulldog Gin, Campari, Cinzano Vermouth Rosso, and Cynar. He recommended this when I asked him what my husband would likely enjoy, and my husband indeed liked how strong and dry the drink was, with barely any sweetness.
Ian Osillo crafting Negroni #8 and Negroni Sbagliato
One of two drinks I tried that night was the Negroni Sbagliato, which I was so happy to see on the menu because I’ve been looking for it at bars ever since it trended when Emma D’Arcy of House of the Dragon said in an interview that this is her favorite drink. It was strong and dry with just slight sweetness, and was easy to drink thanks to the sparkle from the Cinzano Prosecco. It also had Campari and Cinzano Vermouth Rosso. The drink paired well with the various pizzas, pastas, and Italian appetizers served by La Piazza that night.
Ian Osillo’s Negroni Sbagliato with La Piazza’s Arancini, my favorite appetizer that night
The other drink I tried that night, which I had when I arrived and right before I left, was Aperitivo Way, made of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Campari, Aperol, Orgeat, and Lime. I was instantly drawn to it because it had Aperol, which is in one of my favorite drinks lately, the Aperol Spritz. I liked how refreshing it was without being overwhelmingly sweet.
The only drink I wasn’t able to try was the Pineapple Jack, which had Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Campari, Pineapple Syrup, Elderflower Syrup, and Grapefruit Juice, because they said it’s the sweetest drink in the menu, and I’ve been veering from sweet drinks these days.
The next event under The Guest Bartender Showcase will be held at Sportsbook Bar on Oct. 13, 7-11PM, featuring Ichii Itoh, Glenfiddich World’s Most Experimental Bartender Philippine Champion 2018, Whisky Live Mentorshop Program Philippine Champion 2019; and Tina Tubig, Patron Perfectionist Philippine Champion 2022. This will be followed by the next event, again at La Piazza, on Nov. 10, 8-11PM, featuring Ralph Allen, Dean of Spiritual Arts. La Piazza is located at the Crystal Corridor of the Pearl Wing of Okada Manila.
Previously, Okada Lounge had Guest Bartender Extraordinaire Kate Osmillo last July 29. Okada Lounge is the Forbes 5-star integrated resort’s upscale intimate cocktail lounge, tucked in Okada Manila’s VIP area. Osmillo, the National Bartending Champion, was the first-ever guest bartender for a one-night-only engagement last July 29, where she offered a special one-off beverage menu for Okada Lounge patrons. Osmillo is a renowned mixologist, winning national championships such as Don Papa Cocktail Competition in 2017 and Glenfiddich World’s Most Experimental Bartender in 2019, and continues to stir excitement and anticipation for her extraordinary drink concoctions.
The Guest Bartender Showcase events are open for individuals 21 and up only. For inquiries and reservations, email email@example.com or call +632 8555 5799.