Sunday, August 10, 2008

Alcohol Done Right ... Basi

I usually don't care for alcoholic beverages very much. They either taste bad, taste bad and tear out your throat, or taste moderately acceptable but have a sugar content that will drive small nations into diabetes and have moronic names designed to make sorority girls laugh at Spring Break.

What do I like? Typically something good. Like a Macallan 25-year Anniversary Malt. None of that blended garbage. Smooth single-malt goodness.

I also like tuba. That's palm wine made here in Leyte. Made right, it's very good. And, a friend of mine makes it very, VERY right. Just next week, I'm told I get the pleasure of sampling one of his two-year old bottles. Don't plan on missing it.

I was at the golf course yesterday morning practicing when I ran into the Captain (pronounced cap-EE-tan). He's the President of the golf course and definitely a VIP, in general. He told me that he was going to be back yesterday afternoon with some special alcohol from his home and that I should be sure to drop by to try. How could I say no?

So, I go back, play nine holes and wait. Here comes the Captain with a bottle of what looks like Chivas Regal. That was just the carrying case for the dark, rich, smooth alcohol I was about to enjoy.

The alcohol is called basi. Fortunately for him, the leader of Test Team M was with me. The Captain poured us both generous glasses of alcoholic perfection.

The Captain told us about the Basi Rebellion in the early 1800's. The Spaniards wanted the locals to stop making homemade basi. Their love of this fine alcohol was so great that the people rose up in protest.

Turns out, what we had was five-year old basi made by a friend of the Captain's in Ilocos Norte. Very, very good. In fact, typically reserved for national level politicians (presidents, senators, visiting dignitaries). We were very, very lucky.

The basi was amazing. Best alcohol I'd ever had in my life ... by far. Smooth, rich flavor, not even a hint of throat-destroying harshness. And yet, it was potent. It burned slowly inside ... sending its effects out through you at a slow pace. Even 30 minutes after drinking, I could feel the warmth slowly moving out my arms and legs.

This is definitely a sipping drink. And, a very happy drink. Not harsh, not a big slap in the face, but a huge, warm hug of fermented cane sugar love.

I have a new favorite alcohol. We were very lucky indeed.

So, maraming salamat po Captain!

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