Nothing beats a glass of iced coffee as a pick-me-up on a hot day. No doubt about it.
But what if your iced coffee was infused with nitrogen gas, giving it that extra smoothness, a frothy body, and a lightness that transforms your regular cold brew joe into a velvety rich concoction? Then, how about masterfully blending that nitro coffee with a carbonated horchata that is bursting with spice and earthy notes? Ladies and gentlemen, from the sandy shores of Urbiztondo, La Union, El Union‘s Dirty Horchata!
Nitro coffee is simply cold-brew coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas and is usually pressurized to create a creamy and rich texture that is similar to a well-pulled tankard of stout. I particularly like the nitrification process because it enhances the coffee’s natural sweetness, bringing out more of that nutty and caramel notes that I love. The airiness of the drink makes the coffee flavors dance on your tongue, giving it more coverage for that full coffee taste.
Horchata, on the other hand, is a traditional Mexican summer drink made from all sorts of grains and spices such as toasted and ground up rice, barley, cinnamon, nutmeg and many others. Recipes vary, but what I like about horchata is the creamy milkiness that almost mimics dairy. Beloved by people who hate dairy farts, horchata is a close substitute and is almost similar in texture to almond milk. El Union’s draft horchata is made even better by carbonation, giving it that perfect fizz that cleans the palate.
These two drinks are perfect in their own right, but mix them together in a chilled glass and you have for yourself a dirty horchata, a mind-blowing mixture that is perfect on a sultry summer day. Last Easter weekend, I washed up in La Union’s shores where I could get El Union’s dirty horchata straight from the tap, and man… That was some awesome coffee.
El Union’s Amy Cosio says, “People are thrown off by how creamy it looks, but it’s actually super refreshing – like a smooth root bear float.” And I couldn’t agree more. At first glance, the 50:50 ratio looks heavy and rich, but the fizz of the horchata and the smoothness of the nitro cold brew are remarkably thirst-quenching.
Only the likes of creative geniuses Kiddo Cosio, Sly Samonte and the rest of the El Union Coffee crew can come up with such a brilliant recipe. After debuting at Madrid Fusion, Manila’s most anticipated culinary and gustatory event, the El Union dirty horchata is rapidly gaining traction as a favorite summer drink among coffee fanatics, surfers, and casual coffeehouse patrons.
Where else would you hang out in La Union but here, right? Aside from the great coffee and food, El Union has always been a home away from home because of the great people. You can always just plop down on one of their bar seats and chat up the baristas who are always up for some great and interesting conversation. That’s why I never mind when I’m traveling to LU alone. All I need to do is head to El Union and catch up with old friends.
In a few months, El Union’s community is gonna grow even bigger and better. Kiddo and the rest of the team, together with Manila transplants of the entrepreneurial persuasion, are building an extension at the back of the coffee shop, with new spaces opening up for many more homegrown food and drink specialty stores.
The new space will also feature a boardwalk and a promenade that will go right to the beach, so from El Union, it will be a breeze to get to where the magic happens aka right at the surf break. That means we can expect more boardie-clad surfers and beach bums in their full suntanned glory to walk into the store dripping wet.
As for me, I cannot wait to be back.
What is your favorite ELYU hangout? Shoutout to any of the hot El Union baristas? Sound off in the comments, you guys!