From left: Good Day Peach Soju; Josmeyer Pinot Blanc Mise du Printemps 2015
Food & Drink

The 10 drinks that got me through the lockdown, from Korean soju to French wine

With quarantine measures and liquor bans in place, the author worked her way through her wine and liquor stash, to reminisce about past travels, relish lutong bahay, and enjoy the latest K-drama. By GAIL SOTELO
ANCX | Jun 14 2020

While I understood the need for a nationwide lockdown, I shared in the collective frustration and sense of negativity it brought. I also would normally tell people not to imbibe during a crisis, but I admit to having had a drink (or 10) for… obvious reasons. Here’s a look back at the drinks I had during the lockdown:

Josmeyer Pinot Blanc Mise du Printemps 2015

One of the things that got to me was knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see my friends for a long time. I cracked open this bottle the moment I started really missing them, especially the one I last shared this with. The rounded, floral notes reminded me of spending French springtime with my buddies—appropriate, as "Printemps" means “spring” in French. Distributed by AWC, this wine is available online at

Suntory Japan Premium Muscat Bailey A 2016

My husband and I spent the holidays in Japan and got this bottle from a konbini. I never heard of the grape prior to a seminar I attended, and honestly, I thought it was too acidic to drink alone. With Japanese food, however, it’s perfect. My husband got Japanese beef, and in an effort to recreate our Kobe dining experience (involving rice, soy sauce, and wasabi), we decided to do a pairing night with the wine.

Good Day Peach Soju

I had nothing better to do during the lockdown than indulging in a few K-dramas. After watching Itaewon Class then feeling both hungry for Korean food and sentimental for Seoul winters, we decided to get ingredients for homemade tteokbokki to go with our last bottle of soju. Trivia: Every soju bottle has exactly seven shots. While the strict drinking etiquette rules can be daunting, Koreans have just as many drinking games to keep things fun. You can find soju in most any Korean grocery in town.

Geikkan Kome to Mizu no Junmai, Kyoto Prefecture

One of the biggest trends during the lockdown was innovating food and delivery systems—effectively addressing the need for “new” dishes “safely.” One of our favorite discoveries is sushi bake, which went well with the alcohol industry’s recent craze, sake. I’m not as well-versed with sake as I’d like to be, but I generally appreciate it with good Japanese food, no matter how non-traditional. Distributed by Philippine Wine Merchants, this sake can be found online at and

Certosa di Pontignano Chianti Classico 2015

I wasn’t planning on opening this bottle I bought during a trip to Florence, knowing that this red needed a few more years to open up… but I reached the point where I was running out of wine (the liquor ban was too real). Also, like most people during the lockdown, I was bored and decided to play chef. So I cooked Osso Bucco for the wine.

Oberon Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Despite being house bound, my husband and I made it a point to communicate with family via web conferencing apps no matter where they are in the world. We decided to open this bottle up after a day of chatting with our San Francisco family and reminiscing about the time we went to Napa with them.

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Bodegas Bilbainas La Vicalanda Reserva Rioja 2012

Honestly, I decided on this wine because I was feeling fancy. I missed dining in posh restaurants. Something I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anytime soon. I thought, however, that being stuck at home wasn’t reason enough not to be “upscale” even if it’s by simply drinking a good bottle of Rioja. Distributed by AWC, this wine is available online at

Engkanto Pale Ale

While I have no problems eating lutong bahay, I like finding ways to elevate the experience by pairing it with a good drink. We had pork adobo one lunch, and I thought craft beer would go really well with it. (Yes, day drinking during lockdown became a thing). I like that the bold passionfruit flavors and floral aromas of Engkanto Pale Ale hold their own against flavorful Pinoy comfort food. You can order this local craft beer at

Gin and Tonic

Two things happened during quarantine: The summer heatwave and the alcohol ban. That said, I thanked my lucky stars for having stocked up on gin. It’s not as sensitive as wine when it’s opened and stored in a slightly warmer environment. Plus, it’s refreshing on ice and topped with cold tonic water, which was still being sold in some supermarkets. I find the calamansi and Philippine mango flavors of ARC Botanical Gin add a Pinoy dimension to my G&T. Visit Full Circle Distillers for a list of retail outlets.

Sasha Pyrenees Shiraz 2003

The ECQ ended right before my husband’s birthday, and so did the alcohol ban. I got a bottle of his favorite style of Shiraz from the Pyrenees—soft and subtle—which went incredibly with the Wagyu he grilled. It was proof that even if there would likely be an increase in at-home celebrations, it could still be enjoyable with wine. This wine is available at Don Revy Philippines.


Josemeyer, Bodegas Bilbainas, and soju photos by Justin de Jesus

Other photos by Gail Sotelo


The author has a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits. She is a wine consultant, blogger, and lecturer. She owns the drink blog which aims to make wine and other drinks accessible to everybody, and holds classes at Enderun Colleges.