Sumptuously photographed and superbly acted, the movie adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha mirrors the sophisticated world of geishas in pre-war Kyoto. Director Rob Marshall exposes the intrigues and the intricacies of wealth, privilege and politics of a world in the brink of collapse. Yet it is the magical and almost supernatural attributes of the geisha’s realm that highlights the sophistication of Japanese culture. Here, colors, clothes and symbols evoke an aspiration for luxury, and elegance is expressed in the finer flavors of food and wine.
The same refinement and grace were delightfully present when Premier Wine and Spirits held the Manila launch of two premium liqueurs during the premiere showing of the controversial movie in My Cinema at Greenbelt 3. For the launch of Midori Melon Liqueur and Zen Green Tea Liqueur, the foyer of My Cinema was transformed into a cozy Japanese lounge complete with globular rice paper lanterns and ikebana floral arrangements set against the wall. Inside, guests and Premier’s key people mingled in Zen white outfits while waiters offered Midori and Zen cocktail mixes in stylized wasabi green kimonos.
But the most telling expression of Japanese style and culture are the two refined liqueurs from Suntory which are set to turn around the metro’s bar scene by giving it two decidedly sophisticated and hip choices. Now making its official entry into the party scene is Midori liqueur which took the US by storm when it was launched at the famous Studio 54 in 1978. It immediately won raves, copping first prize in the US Bartenders Guild Annual Competition as the main ingredient in the cocktail The Universe. Midori circled the globe when it was launched in Australia in the early ’80s. Its recent launch in Manila makes the Philippines the second country in Asia where the prized liqueur is available.
Vibrant green in color and possessing the refreshing flavor of sun-ripened honeydew melons, Midori is a versatile mixer that provides a light, invigorating touch to juices and white spirits. As a mixer in long drinks and cocktails, Midori makes for a delightfully heady and cool drink, providing party scene regulars more excitement.
Zen, on the other hand, resonates with the goodness of traditional Japanese green tea — but with a surprising kick. “It was developed in response to the growing popularity of green tea worldwide,” says Ian Atherton, general manager of Suntory Australia. “Zen is geared towards young adults with a high level of sophistication and taste.”
Combining choice Japanese tea leaves, herbs and other natural components, Zen is a liqueur with a perfectly-balanced flavor and a modern sense of elegance.
Zen and Midori echo Premier Wine & Spirits’ own sense of enterprise. “Premier is a distributor with a keen sense of daring. That is why we acquire non-traditional brands with an established niche market. Both Zen and Midori are intended for the cool crowd who take pleasure in the finer things in life,” explains Brand Manager Erica Sulit.
Seen sampling the Japanese-inspired Midori and green tea mixes were Ian Atherton, general manager of Suntory Australia; Ted McDonnell, marketing director (Premier Wine and Spirits, Inc.); JP Santamarina, president (Premier Wine and Spirits, Inc.); Mr. and Mrs. Romy Ripalda of Ram’s House of Wine; Mr. and Mrs. Banny Hermano of Harry’s Liquor Mart; Gerry Mendoza of Wine and Spirits Gallery; Cielo Arellano of Arellano’s Wines and Liquors; Daniel Orense and Marian Trinidad of Cravings; Cecile Teodoro of Hotel Intercontinental Manila; Eric Cua of Embassy and Michelle Pamintuan; Charlemagne Lim of Little Asia; Fritz Weber of Quisine; Proceso Callison of Hard Rock Café; Al Cordova of South Sea Grill; Juliet and Mimi Tan of Better Than Bare; Katrina Lagman of McCann-Erickson; Chi-Chi Trinidad of Nokia; Elbert and Lisa Cuenca; Teddy and Janine Dario; Lorraine Belmonte and Sari Yap; Anton Barretto and Angelette Calero of Pineapple; GP Reyes with Chicho Suarez; Cacay Moras of Museum Cafe; Conrad and Kaye Alcantara of Trio; Sancho and Alma Villasenor of Vida de Malate; Brad Murdoch of T-Models; and RJ Ledesma of Manual magazine.