TRES PAPAS: HOMECOMING
Don Papa Rum, the Philippines’ single island premium rum, is celebrating its Filipino provenance by bringing together some prominent names in the industry in a series of bartender guest shifts called Tres Papas. For each night of the series, three bartenders will take over one of the metro’s top cocktail bars not only to introduce the different flavors of Don Papa Rum and the Philippines but to also showcase the pinnacle of Filipino talent.
The first in the series brings home the original Tres Papas, which includes David Ong, Cedric Mendoza, and Joma Rivera. They first got together in Singapore back in 2017 but last August 9, Don Papa Rum brought them back to their (and Don Papa Rum’s) homeland where they took over OTO, Makati for a one-night-only guest shift aptly called Tres Papas: Homecoming.
Why did Don Papa Rum choose to work with these Tres Papas, and who are they?
In case you haven’t heard, these guys are among those paving the way for Filipino talent in the spirits industry.
David Ong is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of The Curator Coffee & Cocktails, currently ranked #34 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars. He is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner of other coffee and cocktail concepts in Manila such as OTO, EDSA Beverage Design Group, #YKWRoasters at The Grid, and PourHouse Hospitality.
We also have Cedric Mendoza, the previous Head Bartender at Manhattan Bar, who helped put the bar at #1 for two consecutive years on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017/2018, and helped it climb to the #3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018. He is now a Managing Partner of Pourhouse Hospitality and ReCraft.
Finally, we have the well-decorated Joma Rivera. He is the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year in 2014 – Philippines, Campari Bartender Competition Asia – 2018 Singapore Champion, and Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2020 – Singapore Champion. He is currently Bar Manager at Kafe UTU and Tamba in Singapore.
Why use Don Papa Rum in cocktails? And what makes these concoctions special?
Due to its vanilla, honey, and candied fruit notes, Don Papa Rum is actually perfect for mixing in a wide range of cocktails. By letting bartenders explore different concoctions, Don Papa Rum’s versatility and complexity really shines through. What makes this series and the concoctions special though, is its championing of Philippine ingredients and stories.
One of David’s cocktails is called “Enriquez”, an homage to OTO’s street that they call home. This recipe is a riff of one of their original signature cocktails that is modeled after a childhood favorite, the Twin Popsies. Made with tablea-infused Don Papa Rum, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and sugar, the resulting drink is potent and delicious with that tsokolate bittersweet flavor that Filipinos know and love.
Cedric on the other hand created cocktails that are tributes to the 2 other Tres Papas. One of the cocktails is named “Dong Papa”, playfully named after David Ong’s industry nickname “Dong”. It is a nutty riff on the classic daquiri. Hazelnut and spiced syrup bring out the caramel notes and vibrancy in Don Papa Masskara.
Joma created the cocktail called “Hey-A-Ron”. This one is a tribute to Don Papa Rum’s Global Brand Ambassador, Aaron Goodall, who’s half Filipino and half Australian. Inspired by a drink from down under, this highball style drink mixes fresh granny smith apple, manuka honey, and bee pollen with Don Papa Masskara for a bright, velvety, and refreshing taste. Hey, it’s -A(pple)-Ron(Rum)!
So what now?
Don Papa Rum has come far, from a local brand launched in the Philippines 10 years ago, to now a well-loved premium rum present in more than 30 countries. As it did back then, Don Papa Rum will always proudly showcase its roots – its bountiful flavours and ingredients, its wealth and level of talent, and its wonderful tapestry of stories to tell.
There are 2 more Tres Papas guest shifts this September. Be on the lookout and follow Don Papa Rum on Facebook and Instagram at @donpaparum.
About the Tres Papas:
David Ong is a Barista/Bartender, Co-Founder/Managing Partner of coffee and cocktail concepts in Manila, Philippines namely: The Curator Coffee & Cocktails, OTO, EDSA Beverage Design Group, #YKWRoasters at The Grid, and PourHouse Hospitality.
He and his team have had the pleasure of operating these establishments in the last decade! All while traveling around the world for guest bartending shifts with the goal of putting the Philippines on the map by spreading Filipino Hospitality.
Cedric Mendoza is the Managing Partner of Pourhouse Hospitality and ReCraft Most recently, he is the Head Bartender of Grain cocktail bar at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, where he was responsible for menu development and cocktail conceptualization; Cedric actually began his bartending career at Singapore’s acclaimed Manhattan Bar in 2013.
Driven by passion and a desire to perfect the craft, Cedric pushed his boundaries in Manhattan by rising to the role of Head Bartender in three years. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he played a vital role in putting Singapore on the map, as Manhattan maintained its #1 spot for two consecutive years on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017/18 lists, and its climb to the #3 spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list.
Starting his career in exciting world of Flair Bartending, Joma’s passion for bartending runs well beyond just cocktails. At The Curator Coffee and Cocktails and 28 Hongkong Street, he began to hone his skills making craft cocktails.
Joma’s dedication and passion to bartending earned him the titles of Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year in 2014 – Philippines, Campari Bartender Competition Asia – 2018 Singapore Champion, and Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2020 – Singapore Champion. These titles propelled him to his position as Bar Manager at Kafe UTU and Tamba, a West African inspired restaurant where he continues to hone his skills as a world class bartender.
Available in over 30 countries worldwide, Don Papa Rum is the first premium single island rum from the Philippines, now ranked the third largest rum market in the world next to India and USA.
Distilled and aged for up to seven years in American oak barrels on the island of Negros Occidental (known locally as Sugarlandia), the pure, original Negros sugar cane is the foundation for Don Papa Rum’s long, rich-textured finish and flavours of vanilla, honey, and candied fruits.
The namesake of Don Papa Rum is inspired by the unsung hero and mystic, Papa Isio, who was one of the leading figures of the late 19th century Philippine revolution. Initially a foreman at a sugar plantation, his leadership and courage played a critical part in liberating the island of Negros from Spanish rule. Don Papa is inspired by his legend and captures his spirit and sense of magic in every bottle.