Ube is an ultraviolet dream.
Originating in the Philippines, ube is a bright purple type of yam that yields a distinctively sweet nutty-vanilla flavour. When blended with ingredients like condensed milk or coconut cream, it creates magic in the form of many traditional Filipino desserts such as Halo-halo and Ube Halaya.
Ube brownies, Halo-Halo, and Ube Halaya (Image sources: But First Boba, Bon Appetit, Ang Sarap)
Given its popularity in the region and centrality to much of Filipino cuisine, perhaps it was inevitable that the good people of the spirits world would find a way to enjoy it with a boozy twist.
Enter... The world’s first ever ube cream liqueur.
Destileria Barako, led by Brandon Green, Tyson Branz, Junalyn Alo and Kalel Demetrio (Image source: Destileria Barako)
A bit of context around this liqueur. It was produced locally in Manila, Philippines by Filipino distillery Destileria Barako. Founded in 2016, Destileria Barako is led by the team of Brandon Green, Tyson Branz, Junalyn Alo and Kalel Demetrio. While still relatively young, this distillery has been gaining attention for their use of indigenous local produce to develop small-batch, handcrafted spirits that showcase uniquely Filipino flavours.
(Image source: Destileria Barako)
Some exciting creations to have come out of the distillery include the Agimat Gin, a blend of Filipino spices like Ylang Ylang, Daladanfan, Libas Fruit, and Pink Pomelo. In addition, the Gayuma Liqueur, made of distilled Aklan lemongrass soaked with Lychees from Illocos and Dragonfruits from Batagngas.
(Image source: Agimat at Ugat Foraging Bar and Kitchen)
Yet perhaps their most raved-about release yet is the Ube Cream liqueur I have in my hands today. To make this, sugarcane vodka from the Philippines is blended with full cream and Ube.
For today’s review, I’ll be drinking it on the rocks.
Appearance: The packaging alone is pretty cool. Stored in flask-like glass bottle, the bright, rich purple hue of the liqueur shines through. It’s a nice touch that the bottle is also decoratively sealed with bronze wax.
Aroma: A robust whiff of vanilla and cream. It reminds me of sweet caramel leche flan, also another popular Filipino dessert. There’s less of an ube scent than I expected.
Taste: The texture is really smooth, thick and creamy! Now the nuttiness of the ube comes through at the fore, with complementing qualities of vanilla and milk. I also pick up some coconut and caramel notes, and find myself wishing I had an bowl of vanilla ice cream I can enjoy this liqueur with.
Finish: The finish is relatively short, with some lingering butterscotch sweetness that reminds me of gula melaka (a type of coconut palm sugar common in Malaysia).
A party on the tongue! With a great creamy mouthfeel, this liqueur pulled no punches when it came to delivering that uniquely vanilla-sweet flavor profile that many ube fans love.
This was seriously tasty! It’s a really easy sipper and highly drinkable on its own, but I suspect it would also make for a perfectly welcome ingredient to any bourbon-based and rum-based cocktail.
Heck, I would even pour this like a sauce over ice cream, it’s that enjoyable.