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Lambanog among TasteAtlas's best spirits worldwide

By NICK GARCIA Published Mar 21, 2023 12:07 pm

Shot puno! Lambanog is among the best spirits in the world according to an international aggregated food guide.

In TasteAtlas's list of 50 best spirits, lambanog placed 10th with a score of 4.3 out of 5.

It bested bar favorites like the Carribean's rum (11th), Scotland's Scotch whisky (17th), America's bourbon (36th), and Russia's vodka (46th). Mexico's reposado tequila topped the list.

TasteAtlas took note of the potency of lambanog, which is made from the fermented sap of coconut palm.

"It is a clear, colorless spirit that is quite strong, with the usual alcohol content at around 40% ABV (alcohol by volume)," it said, adding that there are modern varieties that are often tinted, sweetened, and flavored. "Lambanog is traditionally enjoyed neat, usually as a shot, but it also blends well in cocktails and mixed drinks."

California-based nonprofit Alcohol Research Group of the Public Health Institute said the average ABV for liquor is 37%. Wine has 11.6%, while beer has 4.5%.

Lambanog is mainly produced in Quezon, Laguna, and Batangas, with Quezon being the leading producer.

The Food and Drugs Administration and the Department of Agriculture regulate the production of lambanog to maintain the highest of standards.

There are some people who brew lambanog themselves at home, but forgo taking enough safety measures to ensure the methanol doesn't reach dangerous levels.

Methanol is a by-product during the distilling process, present in small amounts. It must be removed after fermentation as it's toxic, and ingesting high amounts can lead to blindness, neurological dysfunction, and death.

There have been cases of methanol poisoning from lambanog in the past.

In December 2019, at least 11 people died and over 300 individuals were treated for drinking home-brewed lambanog in Laguna and Quezon. During the previous year, dozens of individuals also died of methanol poisoning.