Infused with cloves, cinnamon, a hint of of ginger and cardamom or a mix of cream cheese, salted caramel, blended oatmeal cookies or even honey, lemon juice, rosemary and fig syrup, your regular coffee, smoothie, or cocktail become so much more at Cebu’s new lifestyle destination Morals & Malice.
The lounge Morals and bar Malice aim to bring to Cebu the craft coffee and cocktail culture that is widely popular in Europe, said Morals & Malice marketing and PR director Paco Rodriguez. “This is something new in Cebu but already very big abroad. We feel that a place serving its own handcrafted drinks is what’s lacking in the metro,” Rodriguez said.
Located side by side on the second level of Tinderbox on Archbishop Reyes Avenue in Cebu City, Cebu’s newest premier lounge and bar have interiors designed by world-renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.
Cobonpue, Rodriguez, Glenn Soco, and Michael Yu, the persons behind Cebu Life Style, Inc., cooked up the intriguing concept of the contrary and complementary places that play up to either one’s saintly, Morals, or dark side, Malice.
Morals vs Malice
With trees springing from tables, grass accents made out of recycled aluminum blinds, and afternoon sunlight streaming in through the glass walls, the 25-square meter lounge gives off a Garden-of-Eden-before-the-fall vibe.
Served at the lounge are craft drinks and pastries that appeal to your morally upright side. According to Yu, Morals & Malice operations and finance director, the lounge currently has seven handcrafted drinks in the menu but serves as well the regular tea and coffee plus all day brunch starting at opening time of 11 a.m. and onwards to 1 a.m.
The Malice bar, on the other hand, is an art installation of abstract nature, a dark cocoon with muted lamps and such uniquely crafted and named cocktails as Fall of Adam that make it super easy for you to give in to your wicked side.
With craft blends already a big hit in Europe, Malice provides Cebu with a taste of this budding culture with its handcrafted, signature libations made from local ingredients and specially concocted plant-based infusions created exclusively for the bar by Manila-based mixologist Kalel Demetrio. At Malice, guests get to pick from a variety of 15 craft cocktails and some surprise concoctions throughout the month aside from the regular alcoholic drinks.
Malice now occupies what used to be the Z Bar, which Cobonpue designed 10 years ago.
“It looks like it could have been designed yesterday because it is rooted in nature and not in any particular style,” said Cobonpue. According to him, the combination of steel and hand-tied bamboo with rattan pieces that adds to the Malice mystique is not random but mimics the movement of molecules.
When Z Bar closed, Cobonpue said he was worried that someone else would come and destroy his design so he decided to save it by collaborating with friends to put up Morals & Malice. The timeless interior arrangement had been featured in a lot of coffee table books.
The bar, which encompasses 90 square meters of space, can squeeze in 80 people and regularly plays Top 40 hits and tropical house music, a Caribbean, relaxed version of the electronic dance music or EDM, said Yu, adding this is perfectly suited for a tropical paradise that is Cebu.
Morally inspired menu
Morals introduced three highly-recommended pairings of craft drinks and pastries to media and blogger guests during the grand launch last Friday, April 29.
Morally Tea is an innocent blend of black tea and lemongrass infusion flavored with calamansi honey. It is best paired with the lounge’s signature carrot cake, a moist concoction with delectable cream cheese frosting that’s free from wheat, gluten, trans fat, artificial flavors and colorings.
Yu said his personal favorite is the Crema de Manga, a morally inspired smoothie of fresh Cebu mango, oatmeal cookies, and cream cheese topped with whipped cream. Morals recommends a pairing with Pastor Tom’s combination of apple pie and moist pound cake that’s smothered in cream cheese frosting.
The Pumped Spice Latte is a Morals drink that comes with a hint of malice, the lounge’s signature creation of white pumpkin rum with pinoy coffee liqueur and steamed milk topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. It’s best with the Chocoholics fudge cake covered in Hershey’s chocolate butter cream frosting that also happens to be sans artificial colors, flavors, trans fat, and wheat.
Signature Malice cocktails
Equally intriguing and exquisite are Malice’s craft blends: muddled Granny Smith apples, rosemary syrup, Bombay gin, cilantro liqueur, honey and lemon juice finish called Fall of Adam; Bacardi Silver rum, ginger syrup, mint, lime, and citrus soda topped with pomelo aptly named Pomelo Spiced Mojito; Burning Bush concoction of ginger, liqueur, fig syrup, Yoichi single malt whisky, Makers Mark bourbon, salinated herb, lemon, and a burnt rosemary twig; an Oro de Plata mocktail treat of fresh mango goodness, basil, with a hint ginger and fizz for the finish.
A regular cocktail would have a maximum of five ingredients but craft blends can have as many as 10, said Rodriguez.
Since the soft launch of Malice in December, Rodriguez said they’re happy to see guests exploring and enjoying the craft cocktails that are on offer.
Although there is a period when the lounge and bar are open at the same time, from the opening of Malice at 6 p.m. up to closing time, Yu said there is no competition between the two spaces since they cater to different experiences.