There is joy in trying out different drinks, especially if they’re locally produced brews that respect the natural processes of the environment. Even more when a home brewery makes use of native ingredients accessible in local farms and values learnings from traditional cultures. These are exactly what I appreciate about the local wine home brewery, Pulot Gata.
Pulot Gata specializes in organic meads, its name a conjunction of the base substances—honey for their wine and coconut for their oils and balms. For those not familiar with it, mead is an ancient drink best known as honey wine.
According to Dayaw, the woman behind Pulot Gata, mead was mostly drunk with bread by pyramid workers in Egypt, and in Medieval Europe, it was used in marriage rituals where the term “honeymoon” came from, as it is a powerful drink that promoted fertility and virility.
Dayaw said that in the Philippines, local spirits only consist of tapuey (rice, Cordilleras), pangasi (rice, Bisaya), tuba and lambanog (coconut, Tagalog and Bisaya), basi (sugar cane, Ilokano), among other base ingredients. But after taking part in a ritual called “Basal” with the Palaw’an tribes of Rizal, the homebrewer learned that honey wine was also brewed and mixed with rice for sacred events.
Prior to her experience in Rizal, Dayaw mentioned that she also joined a ritual called Lambay performed in Puerto Princesa with residents of Tayuksidi, where a collective of Babaylans and healers exists. The ritual was “done to call onto the Diwata of honey bees, the partner of the Diwata of rice grains. The tribe believes that both Diwatas work together to maintain balance and harmony in the Batak territory. The bees pollinate the fields and the trees, etc,” Dayaw said.
The rituals inspired Dayaw to make organic spirits, “We decided to sell organic spirits to take care of both our health and the environment, treating the body as the earth of our soul. This way we embody and provide an alternative, mindful way of living and being,”
Phoenix Distillery of Paradise Project guided them to create their first brew. “We were inspired by the works of both Tayuksidi and Paradise Project, which are both conscious spaces aware of the divinity within the bond between humans, nature, technology and Spirit,” the home brewer explained.
Dayaw said that it was through witnessing the ritual that they were reminded that humans are not the only living beings in this world. She added that the present neoliberal economic framework made us forget of what is important, and joining the rituals reminded them to reconnect with nature and to go back in harmony.
The local brewery’s process is simple: it involves gathering raw materials of fruit, honey and flowers, boiling the herbs, adding yeast and lemon juice and letting three months pass. Dayaw, a mother of two, said that her family’s favorite part of the process is boiling the herbs. “It’s so fragrant in the house when we brew; it serves as free aromatherapy for the household. Everyone sleeps long and deep whenever we brew, especially the kids.”
Pulot Gata’s homebrewed meads are called “Solstice,” “Flower,” and “Heavenlight,” and differ in the herbs, fruits and flowers used. According to Dayaw, “Solstice meads were made to honor the two shifts in weather and season. When it’s summer solstice, it becomes rainy in the tropics. We experience the cold and wet habagat winds. When it’s winter solstice, the peak of puamihan, it’s cold and dry. Because of certain shifts, we get sick. And the ingredients in these brews help out with colds, cough, flu and some aches during these times.”
The homebrewer emphasized that their project hopes to serve as a “remembrance of our Indigeneity.” Dayaw said that times are calling for us to go back to the communal culture we had before feudalism and capitalism.
They source their ingredients from vegetable farms in Benguet and Rizal, and wild honey from Palawan and Quezon. This year, they hope to be able to use wild bioactive honey again. “We have to take back our lands and feed ourselves so we can create a more self-sustaining future. In Pulot Gata, we support efforts and campaigns on agroecology through using organic ingredients free from harmful chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers,” Dayaw stressed.
She added: “Pulot Gata is about observing the inherent connection and relationship of humans with the microbial world and the plant kingdom, as well as the bigger cosmology of things. We foster deeper links by engaging with multicellular and unicellular bacteria and fungi, as well as the medicinal properties of different seeds, roots, herbs, barks, flowers and fruits. The act of seeing patterns in the micro reveals us some beautiful designs in the macro.”
Pulot Gata’s homebrewed meads are available on Instagram
Header image from Pulot Gata