Johnnie Walker opens pop-up bar in BGC

JOHNNIE Walker is making the wholesome Burgos Park in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) one of the city’s evening hotspots with the opening of the Johnnie Walker Highball Bar.

The pop-up bar will be open until May 28 (following an opening on April 28), every day from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Aside from the highballs themselves, the bar features arcade games like a claw machine, air hockey, and a football table, where one can play games to win Johnnie Walker merchandise. The drinks cost a minimum of P250.

There were six drinks up for grabs during the opening evening: Johnnie and Lime, Johnnie and Ginger, Johnnie and Apple, the Johnnie Citrus Smash (basically a whisky mojito), the Johnnie Root Beer Float (you read that right), and the Johnnie Brown Sugar Boba (a milk tea with Johnnie Walker).

Diageo Brand Ambassador Rian Asiddao told BusinessWorld what makes a good highball. For starters, he explains what a highball is: a drink template that uses spirit and a mixer, citing gin and tonics as one. “For me, what makes a good highball is a good ratio — 1:4, 1:3; one part of your Johnnie Walker and three parts of your mixer,” he said.

Citing the more unconventional mixers like the root beer and the milk tea (he specified using Earl Grey, to get some earthiness), he discusses what other mixers can go with Johnnie Walker Black Label. “The good thing about whisky is it’s all about flavors,” he said. He cites the smoky, fruity, creamy, and spicy notes in Johnnie Walker, which a mixer can bring out individually. For example, the root beer would complement Black Label’s spiciness. He also gave other unconventional whisky mixers like kombucha and tea and soda a mention.

“A lot of people think that a cocktail can be complicated, but it’s very easy to make,” Merell Beltran, Diageo Marketing Manager for Culture and Advocacy said, citing as well Mr. Asiddao’s 1:3 ratio.

Highballs are perfect for the Philippines, she noted: “It’s really the perfect drink, especially with weather such as in the Philippines. You want something that’s really fresh, really cold, and easily enjoyable by everyone.”

Ms. Beltran touched on their performance during the pandemic, as well as measures they have taken to face changes in a world that had been forced to stay at home. “A lot of industries have really shifted into channels that allow us to accommodate the needs of consumers who are stuck at home.” This means that Diageo has opened official online stores, one in Lazada, and one in Shopee. “That’s basically the route that we’ve heavily invested on,” she said. — Joseph L. Garcia