Almost every country has its own variety of moonshine. In most places it’s commercially sold stuff—no longer under the counter hooch—but its history is a spirit that families have been making in their homes for centuries. Here in the United States, it’s unaged whiskey. Italians have their grappa. And Ireland prides itself on poitin. But it’s lambanog from The Philippines that is the most delicious moonshine of all.
Lambanog is technically an arrack, which is simply defined as a distillate that’s typically produced in India or Southeast Asia. Even so, this Filipino moonshine is commonly described as a coconut vodka or coconut wine. As The Philippines is the world’s second largest coconut producer (Indonesia is the first), it only makes sense that they’d distill their booze from the tropical fruit. Lambanog has been in production since the pre-colonial era when coconut plantation farmers were making the stuff and passing down their hand-written recipes from generation to generation.