From its humble beginnings in a small distillery in Quiapo, Manila, Ginebra San Miguel, the first-ever gin in the Philippines, is now celebrating its 185 years in the business. The brand, which was already an award winner as early as the late 19th century, became the most sought-after liquor drink by Filipinos. That’s because Ginebra San Miguel represents more than a drink. It is testament to the passion, perseverance, and the unwavering spirit of the people it has served for almost two centuries.

Since its creation, Ginebra San Miguel has been a witness to the changes that shaped and defined the Philippines. It has withstood the test of time, the challenges of war, the transitions of governments, and even technological developments. Ginebra San Miguel evolved from being a drink of the elite to winning the hearts and taste buds of the masses. Today, it is considered as one of the country’s most respected and iconic brands and has become part of Philippine history, culture, and tradition.

As a brand patronized for more than nine generations, Filipinos celebrated Ginebra San Miguel’s 185th anniversary this year as One Ginebra Nation in a celebration of World Gin Day last June 7 at Seda Vertis North, Quezon City.

True to its One Ginebra Nation theme, the event featured food and special gin cocktails prepared with ingredients from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Chef Rolando Laudico created sumptuous dishes to pair perfectly with the gin concoctions of top mixologists. Called “The Best of the Islands,” the three grazing tables featured sisig rice baskets, laing tempura bites, Ilocos empanaditas, Vigan longganisa, and pancit habhab for Luzon; Cebu lechon, chicken inasal skewers, ngohiong bites, lumpiang ubod Rolls, and chorizo Cebu for Visayas; and tuna kinilaw, chicken and beef satti, pyangang chicken bites, sinugba platter (grilled liempo, bihod, and white marlin) for Mindanao.

Ginebra San Miguel Calendar Girl and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, GSM Blue endorser Sue Ramirez, and GSM Premium Gin ambassador Alex Calleja prepared elevated Ginebra San Miguel drink mixes with world-class mixologists.

Kalel Demetrio paid tribute to Luzon with his “Beautiful with a Heart” gin concoction, made with kamias juice and blue sampaguita spritz.

Enzo Lim created the “Carabao Cocktail” that highlighted the sweet mangoes of Visayas.

Mindanao’s tablea and durian was mixed beautifully in Icy Mariñas’ “Shalalala.”

While everyone enjoyed the free-flowing gin cocktails and the delicious food, the highlight of the night was a musical spectacle chronicling the 185 years of Ginebra San Miguel, directed by award-winning director Rommel Ramilo and starring Miss Saigon alumnus Gerald Santos, plus with the brand endorsers participating in the show.

“Ginebra San Miguel mirrors the resilience and the “never say die” spirit of the Filipinos,” said the brand’s marketing manager Ron C. Molina. “As the pioneering gin in the Philippines, we take pride in its legacy because the story of Ginebra San Miguel is the story of the Filipino people.”

The World Gin Day festivity kicked off of the One Ginebra Nation Tour. To learn more about promos and special Ginebra San Miguel packages, check out the One Ginebra Nation website. Be on the lookout for the One Ginebra Nation Truck touring the country with special treats.