I spent a couple of hours today at the Distilleria Limtuaco Museum along San Juan de Letran St. in Intramuros, Manila. This is an old Spanish-era “bahay na bato” that was acquired by Julius Limpe in 1979 to house the private memorabilia and ephemera of the distillery that was founded by his great-grandfather Lim Tua Co (later Christianized to Don Bonifacio Limtuaco) in 1852.
Apart from a detailed and elaborate reproduction of the process for making wines and spirits, a display of actual vintage plant equipment, and a curated exhibit of documents, photographs and personal effects of several generations of the family, what amazed me was the stunning showcase of old bottles used for medicinal tonics (Siok Tong), whiskies, rums, brandies, gins and other craft spirits, as well as the flavors, extracts and essential oils used for enhancing their liquors and liqueurs.
At an entrance fee of Ps 100 (Ps 50 for seniors), the museum, opened to the public only last February 6, is a veritable paradise for bottle collectors and gurus of glass. I’ll post a few photos, but would recommend that you visit (9am-6pm except Mondays), and travel back a century or so to experience how a Chinese immigrant from Amoy used a secret formula for medicinal wine to become a world-class maker of spirits and alcoholic beverages.