How to enjoy brandy? Fundador cafe makes it more fun

March 22, 2018

A toast to Fundador Cafe: Kendrick Tan and Kevin Tan with an original Fundador barrel from Bodegas Fundador in Jerez, Spain

The cafe courts millennials with cocktails and spiked coffee and cupcakes. The British Royalty-approved Harvey’s Bristol Cream is exclusively available here.

Fundador is the preferred brandy in the Philippines for 120 years.

As far as drink personalities go, brandy is often seen hobnobbing with hard liquors such as smooth whisky and hip-hop favorite cognac — the kind of company Emperador executive director Kendrick Tan describes in millennial-speak as “pang-tito.

Being tito suggests a certain refinement that only comes with experience. But it also refers to the years behind you. Fundador has plenty of those — it is Spain’s largest and oldest brandy maker — but there’s a reason why it’s been the preferred brandy in the Philippines for 120 years. With Emperador’s acquisition of Fundador in 2016, Kendrick wants more millennials to learn to appreciate why.

In Jerez, Spain, this meant setting up a restaurant in Bodegas Fundador, allowing younger visitors to linger, order tapas and savor the aromatic boldness of brandy. In Manila, it’s settled down in café culture: the one located near the picturesque bridge of Megaworld’s Venice Grand Canal in McKinley Hill features 50 sqms of wooden finish and Spanish tiling, plus an original Fundador barrel from Jerez.

Alliance Global executive director and Megaworld SVP (plus Kendrick’s big brother) Kevin Tan, sons of Alliance Global CEO Dr. Andrew Tan, affirms: “Fundador Cafe gives you a full experience of the brand. It’s important to make people understand the heritage while presenting it without being too old and stiff.” Mashing it up with Manila’s booming café culture is one way to stay young.

Top of the line: Fundador Supremo

“A lot of young people want to be amateur bartenders and invite friends over for drinks,” notes Kendrick. “Sometimes their mixes work out, sometimes not. But when they come here and try our concoctions, they get new ideas.” With seating capacity for 15 people, it’s an informal, laidback venue for brandy education.

Kendrick gives this sage advice: “If you don’t want to get drunk fast, drink coffee first.” He knows from experience, having first sipped from his father’s whisky stash as a tipsy five-year-old, to researching and developing Emperador brands as an adult (those include Dalmore Single Malt Whisky and Andy Player Blended Whisky). He also trains annually with Bodegas Fundador master blender Manuel Jose Valcarcel, a true Jedi master of spirits.

Fundador Cafe’s brandy-spiked, freshly brewed coffee concoctions are served hot and cold. There’s Cafe Solera: espresso spiked with the classic Fundador Solera served over ice as a good pre-game alternative. Served hot is Fundador Cafe Latte, an ode to the carajillo, a traditional Spanish morning pick-me-up of coffee infused with the warmth of brandy, elevated by premium espresso, Fundador Solera and the richness of Fundador Gold Reserve. Cafe Exclusivo is hot, freshly brewed coffee with Fundador Exclusivo. Modern cafe blended drinks also make an appearance in the Double Salted Caramel, a blended ice drink mixed with Fundador Double Light, and Fundador Frappe, an espresso ice swirl infused with Fundador Gold Reserve and Fundador Solera.

Hot and heady: Ask for the Fundador Cafe Latte, Cafe Exclusivo, or the Salted Double Caramel(left). Keep it cool: Harvey’s Mojito(center). Fundador Cafe's banana cupcake topped with Harvey’s infused dark chocolate ganache (right)

Not a coffee person? The short but well-rounded menu offers Light Iced Tea, spiked with a shot of Fundador Light; and Matcha Light, a creamy blend of matcha with Fundador Light.

The cafe also highlights another Spanish favorite. “Pang-tito for the Spanish is sherry,” says Kendrick, referring to Harvey’s Bristol Cream wine. It is one of the few Spanish companies granted Royal Warranty to supply to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II — and it doesn’t get more tita than the queen of England herself. But being tita also means a taste for quality, and Harvey’s Bristol Cream is no exception. In the Philippines, it is sold exclusively in the café.

Since 1796, Harvey’s Bristol Cream has been crafted from a delicate blend of 30 Jerez wines—delicate finos, aged amontillados, fragrant olorosos, and the special Pedro Ximenez grape — aged in American oak casks using traditional soleras and criaderas. An aroma of caramelized fruits opens up sweet-spicy overtones as you sip, not unlike dried fruit or raisins. The finish is silky, velvety caramel. Kendrick suggests drinking it neat as an aperitif. “We can’t allow these products to be forgotten.”

Fundador Café offers brandy-spiked, freshly brewed coffee concoctions served hot and cold.

At Fundador Café, Harvey’s is mixed with lemon juice and mint to cut the creaminess in a Harvey’s Mojito (the cocktail is originally mixed with rum) and with sweet soda in the ice-blended drink Orange Passion.

Harvey’s is also infused into the café’s cupcakes: the spiced kick in their traditional-style Fruit Pudding, Sherry Butter Cupcake with white chocolate frosting, moist Chocolate Cupcake frosted with Harvey’s dark chocolate ganache, Banana Cupcake topped with Harvey’s infused dark chocolate ganache, Vanilla Butter Cupcake spiced with Harvey’s and swirled with Harvey’s infused white chocolate frosting. Even the Creamy Amara Dark Chocolate and Dulce de Leche gelato is blended with Harvey’s. Savor them al fresco to enjoy the hints of Jerez swirling in the afternoon breeze coursing through the outdoor mall.


Fundador Cafe is in the Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Taguig.

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