Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The IBA Project: Sazerac


The Sazerac cocktail with Cognac.
The Grandfather Story:
  • Originated around the 1830s. 
  • Could've been America's first known cocktail.
  • Antoine Peychauds was an apothecary from New Orleans who created the now famous Peychaud's bitters, was said to have created the original Sazerac for a cure, not as a cocktail.
  • The drink is named after its original base spirit, a cognac named Sazerac de Forge et Fils.
  • It was originally a cognac based cocktail, but it seems like rye whisky is the popular base now. 
  • The reason for the shift to rye whisky was either 1) cognac suddenly became scarce due to a bug problem or 2) American whiskey was readily available and very popular (and also very preferred by its local drinkers) so it was used in everything then.
Fun fact: In 2008, New Orleans proclaimed it to be its official cocktail.


One glass for mixing, one for serving; both needs ice.
Taste:
Strong, rough, spirity, masculine. Likely to cause chest hair growth, LOL. Not for the weak hearted, not for people who do not enjoy the taste of alcohol. The absinthe rinse on the glass lends a scent and taste of anise/licorice - something the Asian tongue may not be used to. What does anise taste like? Think... melted, liquid Hacks. This drink is definitely not for everyone.




IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
5 cl Cognac
1 cl Absinthe
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Method:
Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice and set it aside. 
Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside.
Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Add the Lemon peel for garnish.

Variations:
Two glasses and 1 girl.
  • Rye whiskey is the most popular base spirit if you Google the recipe.
  • There are some recipes that hails for Bourbon, then again there are others who taboo the use the Bourbon. I say YMMV.
  • You may use Angostura instead of Peychauds. Bitters is a MUST. Though purists will only use the latter.
  • You could use sugar syrup instead of sugar cube. (1 sugar cube roughly = 10ml syrup)
  • Any other pastis (Pernod. or Ricard. hehe) can substitute absinthe if absinthe is not readily available for you. At the end of the day, it's the anise scent and flavour you're after. Or how about melting some hacks hahaha kidding. 
  • If you're someone who cannot stand wasting alcohol, the absinthe can always be poured into a shot glass... and then chased after with the Sazerac. Seriously, try it.
  • It is NEVER served with ice. EVER.
  • Some writers suggest that you drop the lemon peel into the glass, some implore you not to because the lemon overpowers everything. Again, YMMV.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • This is the first IBA original recipe which I actually found palatable, yeay!
  • Stirring takes more or less 60 seconds to dilute the mix into a flavour I can palate.
  • I thought I would HATE this drink because I HATE absinthe, but it's surprisingly, okay. There's hardly any absinthe anyway. Just a hint of its smell and taste.
  • Rye whiskey is hardly readily available outside of the US anyway so I'll just stick to cognac la.
  • At the time I'm writing this, I'm nearly done with my glass and I can tell you, I'm feeling really woozy. This shit is super strong, no joke. Or I'm just a light weight.

Drink up!
My Preference:
50 ml Cognac
10 ml Absinthe
2 barspoon sugar syrup (about 10ml)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura
1 lemon peel

Add crushed ice into old-fashioned glass.
Pour absinthe in. Leave it aside.

Get a 2nd rock glass and mix all other ingredients (except lemon peel) into  glass with cubed ice and stir. Taste as you go.

Before serving, pour out the absinthe from the 1st glass into a shot glass, remember to swirl the absinthe around the glass first. Strain the 2nd glass' contents into the first. Prior to serving, squeeze the lemon peel into this glass. Serve with the absinthe shot so the drinker has the option to do a little chasing.

Sources & for more:
http://imbibe.com/feature/and-all-that-saz/20985?utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Imbibe+newsletter+no+77&utm_content=Imbibe+News&sc_customer=&sc_src=email_951145
http://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/2014-08-22/504/cocktails/sazerac-cocktail
http://www.sazerac.com/cocktail.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sazerac
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-sazerac/
http://www.starchefs.com/cook/mixology/technique/sazerac-cocktail
http://www.esquire.com/drinks/sazerac-drink-recipe

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The IBA Project: Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan  here IS pink. Really. I've got bad lighting. 
The Grandfather Story:
There are too many versions of its origins - so you gotta take your pick as to which one you'd prefer to believe:
1) The Cosmopolitan Daisy, found in a bartending  book from the 1930s, could've been its ancestor. While a lot of the basic ingredients were not quite the same, the end product was characteristically what today's cosmo looked like. Jigger Gordons Gin, 2 Dashes Cointreau, Juice of one Lemon, Teaspoon Raspberry (syrup)
2) Ocean Spray printed its version of Cosmopolitan in the 1960s called the "Harpoon" to sell more of its juice: 2 oz. cranberry, 1 oz. vodka or light rum or gin, over the rocks or tall with soda, with an optional splash of lime or lemon.
3) Apparently it was created by the gay community in the 1970s, by adding cranberry juice into a kamikaze.
4) Cheryl Cook, a bartender from Miami south beach could have invented it in the 1980s. Featuring the absolut citron, she said that it was simply a twist of the kamikaze and named after the fashion magazine. Rose's lime cordial was used instead of lime juice. 1.5 oz Citrus vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, .5 oz Fresh lime juice, 1 or 2 Dashes cranberry juice
5) Toby Cecchini was another bartender in the later part of 1980 who decided to switch the cordial to fresh lime juice (thank god). 2 part Absolut Citron vodka, 1 part cranberry juice, 1 part lime juice, 1 part cointreau. 
6) Yet another bartender, Dale DeGroff , in the mid 1990s was supposedly to have "fixed" the formula into what is known as the now standard recipe for Cosmo, and added the orange peel. Then Madonna (the singer, not the virgin) was seen holding it at his bar - which started the whole cosmo craze back then. 1 1/2 oz. Citron Vodka, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice, 1 oz. Cranberry Juice, Garnish with an orange peel.
Whichever version you choose, 3 things are for certain 1) it is a post-prohibition cocktail 2) it was created in America 3) it is crazy popular among the ladies today thanks to Carrie (from Sex & The City, not the horror movie lol).


Squeeze the orange peel over the drink.
Strength & Taste:
Light sweetness from the cointreau, tarty from the cranberry and lime, tasty from the combination of everything. With that lovely orange scent from the peel. It'll make you salivate and peckish. It's not strong at all, at most one shot of Vodka. But you really need to drink it fast while its cold.


IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
4 cl Citron Vodka
1.5 cl Cointreau
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
3 cl Cranberry juice

Method:
Shake all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Strain into a large cocktail glass
Garnish with lime slice.


Variations:
  • Some recipes call for cordial but please, stick to fresh juice. I'm not a fan of cordial. Ever.
  • You may use any triple sec instead of Cointreau. I'll stick to Cointreau for now because I'm a snob that way.
  • Blue cosmo =  white cranberry juice + blue curacao instead of triple sec.
  • A Cosmocello = substitutes limoncello for the lime juice.
  • A Francillian = substitutes sangria for cranberry juice.
  • A Peach Cosmopolitan = peach schnapps for triple sec and peach juice for the cranberry
  • A dash of orange bitters could be used for an added oomph. It really subdues the tart, complements your triple sec and adds a tinge of depth with its bitterness.
  • You could flame your peel while you squeeze it - Ups the cool factor by quite a bit. No other reason.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • Original recipe is really sour. Not tooooooo darn sour for me, when consumed super cold. But may be tooooo darn sour for some. 
  • I've come to realise that I prefer a thicker texture to my cocktails. That means a little more liqueur or sugar or something which has high contents of sugar. What I'm saying is that the IBA version is too thin - so I'll either up the cointreau or lower the cranberry/lime.
  • Need to make a smaller drink. All drinks which are not served with ice require a smaller portion as it warms up too quickly when served in Malaysian room temperature and substantially changes the taste of the drink. Bleh.
  • The orange must be in room temperature. Chilled oranges make the peels release less oils. I'm sure there's a good chemistry reason for that which I'm too lazy to Google for, but you can Google it if you wish.
  • I like a huge orange peel. There's something about the smell from the freshly squeezed orange peel that feels like bliss. And squeeze just before you or your guest is about to consume the drink so everyone gets a lovely whiff.


Cosmo. All pink with a bit of orange.
My Preference:
45ml Citron vodka
15ml cointreau
10ml lime juice
45ml cranberry juice
One GIANT orange peel
Frozen martini glass
1 dash of orange bitters (optional)

Pour everything into shaker with loads of big ice. Shake it hard. Strain into glass (optional, but purists want to see clear liquid without shard of ice. Japanese will want their shards). Squeeze orange peel over glass, rub it around the rim and drop it into the drink just before serving.


Sources & for more:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmopolitan_(cocktail)
http://liquor.com/articles/behind-the-drink-the-cosmo/#.
http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cocktails/cosmopolitan-cocktail-recipe.asp
http://www.gazregan.com/2012/11/cocktail-book/the-birth-of-the-cosmopolitan/
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Cosmopolitan
http://www.georgetowner.com/articles/2012/apr/04/cosmopolitan-once-it-cocktail/
http://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/2014-06-30/462/cocktails/cosmopolitan-cocktail
http://ohgo.sh/archive/sex-and-the-city-the-cosmopolitan/
http://www.barmixmaster.com/2008/05/sex-and-city-cosmopolitan.html

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Sunday, 2 November 2014

New: Kilchoman Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

3 Kilchoman beauties in a row: Machir Bay, 100% Islay & Loch Gorm

The guys at Single & Available organised a couple of tastings to introduce this really new label into the Malaysian market.

First, we learned that Kilchoman is actually pronounced as Kil-HO-man. Must be a Gaelic thing?

Secondly, Peter Willis, who came all the way from Scotland to take us through the tasting, is actually the SON of one of the co-founders.

Isn't it awesome when these companies take some time off their busy worldly schedules to spare a few moments for this tiny insignificant market? This drinker appreciates it very much! :)

So Kilchoman is practically still a baby. The distillery began production in 2005 - it's just about 9 years old this year!

Peter Willis from Kilchoman. He's kinda cute isn't he? ;)

Other fun facts:
1. It's built on what used to be a farm.
2. It's the first distillery to be built in the Islay in 125 years!
3. Founders of the distillery were originally independent bottlers.
4. It is an independent distillery, ie, not own by any of the big conglomerates. It is also very small so their production is a fraction of the bigger boys. On a yearly basis, most of their expressions are limited, and released by vintages.
5. The distillery actually ran out of money prior to production of their first bottle. Thank goodness it found its feet back.

The tasting mat - with all the geeky stuff for your reading pleasure. I seriously need to take better pictures.

6. It is 1 out of only 6 distilleries that practices "floor malting". Ie, laying out the barley on the floor to dry.
7. It is practically the only distillery in Islay that can produce their whisky 100% in-house - eg, growing own barley, malting it, distilling, maturing and bottling. Most companies outsource half of these processes out.
8. One of the owners has all his 3 sons (yup, Peter's dad) working in the distillery, cute huh?
9. While 30% of the malt is grown and produced in-house, the balance is purchased from Port Ellen (a closed distillery which still sells its maltings).
10. Casks used are Bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks.
11. All their whiskies are non-chilled filtered and no additional colours are added. So if one bottle's colour is different from another, don't panic.

3 expressions will be brought into Malaysia, and these were also the ones we sampled that night. Let's talk about it!

Kilchoman 100% Islay release.
KILCHOMAN 100% ISLAY
50% ABV, RM420

It is 100% made in the distillery, from growing the barley to bottling it. If I heard it right, this is 4-5 years old, matured fully in bourbon casks. This expression is limited, and is only produced only once a year. It's in its 4th release now.
From the website:
All parts of the production process for the 100% Islay have taken place at the distillery – from barley to bottle. The barley is grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at Kilchoman making for a unique character. Bottled at 50% abv and peated to a lower level to that of other releases, 100% Islay has a lighter, fresher feel to it. Citrus and lemon notes come through with soft peat smoke and a long smooth finish.
Among all 3 this has the lightest peat. It is light, fruity and sweet. Even the scent is sweet! Almost like a Speyside, with a bit of peat. The peat is only obvious at the end, but not distracting. Trust me, I'm someone who is not fond of peat, this was absolutely fine by my palate and easily my favourite among the 3.

You might need to know that I generally like whisky matured in bourbon casks, by the way. :)

Kilchoman Machir Bay
KILCHOMAN MACHIR BAY
46% ABV, RM280

Named after the bay near the distillery, it's made from whiskies aged 4-5 years old, matured in both Bourbon and sherry casks. Every year it matures, we'll see another release, yeay!
From the website:
The Machir Bay range is Kilchoman’s core expression, first launched in 2012 when it won the prestigious IWSC 2012 Gold Award – Best in Class. Bottled once a year, each release contains more mature casks allowing Kilchoman fans to follow the development of the unique Kilchoman malt as it matures. Matured in a combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, Machir Bay has a well-balanced combination of rich tropical fruit, peat smoke, light vanilla and intense sweetness.
This has a little more peat than the 100%. Still, its peat is nothing close to the peat monsters (eg: Lagavulin and Laphroaig which I'm actually afraid of lol). Spicy and dry (definitely from the sherry), but still retaining its sweetness. It is nice!

Kilchoman Loch Gorm
KILCHOMAN LOCH GORM
46% ABV, RM380

Named after a nearby "loch", which is supposedly famous for its peat. It's matured at least 5 years fully in sherry casks. Like the Machir Bay, we'll see a new release with every year it matures, double yeay!
From the website:
Named after a famously peaty loch at the end of the Kilchoman drive, Loch Gorm is the only fully ex-sherry cask matured release from Kilchoman. As with other ranges in our portfolio, Loch Gorm will be periodically re-released as a more mature expression. Each bottling will be differentiated by distillation and bottling years printed on the label. Loch Gorm combines rich sherry fruits and spices with smouldering peat, cloves and lingering sweetness.
Spicier, richer and drier than the Machir Bay, yet still sweet. Most peat among the 3. I can see a lot of people liking this - especially if they have a tendency to like whisky matured in sherry casks.

Summary:
I like Kilchoman. It is a nice, fruity sweet whisky with just enough peat to remind you of its birth place. And this is coming from someone who doesn't like peat ya! The awesome thing is that the peat is not overpowering, but you cannot ignore that it's there. I can't believe that at so young an age (4-6 years old) they are already so flavourful and have quite a character. Can you imagine what they'll be like when they're all grown up? I can't wait!

Available:
At all Single & Available outlets (also the sole distributor for this market)

Here's a fun video on how the 100% Islay is made in Kilchoman:



For more:
About the distributor: http://www.singleandavailable.com.my/
Official website: http://kilchomandistillery.com/
Their online store: http://kilchomandistillery.com/whisky-shop/single-malt-whisky-liqueur

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The IBA Project: Caipirinha

A wild Caipirinha!
The Grandfather Story:
  • Caipirinha is derived from the Portuguese word - caipira (hick, hayseed, country bumpkin, rube...) and "inha" suffix (a word meaning little or small).
  • Its beginnings can be traced back to around 1918.
  • It is Brazil's national cocktail and it is drank anytime, anywhere.
  • The ancestor of this drink was  a mix of lemon, garlic, honey - supposedly used as cure for the Spanish flu (still used for colds today). 
Fun fact: Cachaca is about 400 years old. While it is the most popular drink in Brazil (it was apparently invented by the Portugese), it is regarded as a poor man's drink. It's meant to be sipped slowly in small glass or downed as a shot. Brazilians who drink it straight would first purposely spill a few drops for the Saints before drinking it.

Cachaca is also (erroneously) known as Brazillian rum (there is a story behind this, feel free to Google it up).

While both rum and Cachaca are derived from distillation and sugarcane, the difference between rum and Cachaca is this: Rum is distilled from Molasses, Cachacha is distilled from fermented sugarcane juice.

Strength & Taste:
Easy drinking, cold and refreshing. Good for hot weathers! It's a sweeter version of a daiquiri, and the sugarcane flavour is more prominent because of the Cachaca. If you are a fan of the mojito or an original daiquiri, you may like this. I say may, because I don't quite - there is a reason for this, if you don't mind reading on.

Gently muddle. Please don't bash it in.
IBA standard recipe & method:
Recipe:
5 cl Cachaca
Half fresh lime cut into 4 wedges
2 teaspoon sugar

Method:
Place lime and suger in old fashion glass and muddle.
Fill glass with (crushed?) ice and Cachaca

Variations:
  • Cubed ice is the original Brazilian way. Crushed ice became a popular fad and you are likely to see this out of Brazil.
  • Can be served with or without a straw.
  • You may use syrup instead of sugar. (2 tspn sugar approx. 1 oz. simple syrup 1:1)
  • You may add club soda to dilute your drink
  • Replacing Cachaca with Vodka makes it a Caipiroska

Thoughts & Observations:
  • I prefer using sugar syrup as I don't want to risk crunching on any bits of undiluted sugar. 
  • I suspect brown sugar would bring out the sugarcane flavour more. 
  • No muddler? No problem. Any hard phallic object will do. All you want to do is to bruise the limes gently to release the lovely limey oils from their skin and juice the pulp - not squish them into a unrecognisable matter.
  • Unless I'm mistaken, there are only 2 brands of cachacas which are (sort of) easily available in Malaysia's bigger and more "atas" grocery shops - Sagatiba & Cachaca 51.
  • IBA's version is not strong enough for me, neither does it taste of anything substantial because I can't taste the spirit much, nor the lime - probably because the crushed ice melted too fast in this humid weather.
  • Also I suspect that the lime used in the IBA's version is a humongous one because using HALF a lime is simply not sufficient with the teeny tiny local limes we have here.
  • I prefer cubed ice over crushed simply because it melts slower, and doesn't dilute my drink as fast - I would like it to taste stronger (I seem to say this in every recipe lol)
  • I prefer to serve it with a straw otherwise the damn ice gets onto you nose every time you try to take a sip.
  • I'm not sure if it's the cachaca or the way I'm making this drink, but it has a this fermented aftertaste / smell. If that's how it really is meant to taste, this is definitely not going to be a favourite.

 
 LH: Caipirinha on the rocks. RH: Caipirinha in crushed ice

My Preference:
1 fresh lime, cut into halved wedges + couple more for garnish.
2 shots of cachaca (note: this makes a really strong drink)
1/2 shot sugar syrup (1:2 sugar)

Pour sugar syrup & lime into in double rock glass. Muddle limes. Add Cachaca + ice.
Stir until you feel happy with the strength of your drink.
Garnish it with a couple of lime wedges for added prettiness and squeeze them a little for a limey scent. Serve with straw.

Sources & for more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caipirinha
http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/354/caipirinha-1-brazilian-serve
About cachaca: http://www.brazil-help.com/cachaca.htm
More on cachaca: http://www.caipirinharecipes.com/the-history-of-cachaca/

Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The IBA Project: Bacardi

The Bacardi Cocktail
The Grandfather Story:
The cocktail has been around since 1917 and made popular in the USA. The Daiquiri was actually the original Bacardi cocktail which became popular after Prohibition. But when bars ran out of Bacardi, bartenders made the cocktail with whatever rum they had in store. 

This displeases Bacardi a whole lot. So Bacardi said, enough is enough, and took matters to court. In 1936, the Bacardi cocktail was copyrighted. The ruling states that an authentic Bacardi cocktail must be made with using only Bacardi rum. Bacardi then decided to modify the original daiquiri recipe and added some Grenadine to make it THE Bacardi cocktail just to differentiate it from the daiquiri.

Fun fact: Bacardi is Cuban by birth, but it is not longer considered "Cuban" rum as it's not found in Cuba anymore as it moved its operation out in 1960 (this in itself, is a history lesson). Did you know that the Bacardi brand has been around since 1862? Well, now you do!


Strength:
It's exactly like the daiquiri, except it's pink from the grenadine syrup. Not strong, and easy drinking. Again, gotta drink this fast. Tastes better cold.

IBA standard recipe & method: 
Recipe:
4.5 cl Bacardi Rum White
2 cl Fresh lime juice
1 cl Grenadine 

Method:
Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes, shake well, strain into chilled cocktail glass.

You need to strain it, strain it.
Variations: 
  • Many recipes calls for LOADS of Bacardi - 2 shots!
  • Most recipes also hails for equal parts of Grenadine and Lime juice - this also featured on the Bacardi website.
  • You may add sugar syrup to offset the tartiness, depending on how sweet/sour your Grenadine syrup is.

Thoughts & Observations:
  • IBA's version is too sour, not pleasant, very thin mouthfeel. 
  • I did some research on Grenadine and apparently making your own would taste better than anything store bought. Firstly, Grenadine is basically French for pomegranate. So, it's essentially syrup made with pomegranate juice. Be forewarned that a lot of store bought "grenadines" are not necessarily made out of pomegranate. Some mix it about with other "berry" flavours. Most are made of artificial flavours. You can easily make it on your own by mixing (just shake it hard) equal parts of fresh pomegranate juice with sugar. No boiling required. This website has what seems like a legit method. I used this recipe for my own homemade grenadine. Tastes much better than the crappy store bought one I have by a mile. You could however, make it 1:2 (sugar), making the syrup more sweet to your liking. YMMV.

Pink gets me high as a kite.
My Preference: 
I liked the recipe from Difford's Guide (link below) but modified it slightly to make it easier to measure with a jigger. I mean, it's quite hard to measure 7.5 ml or 3.75 ml with a 45 ml jigger loh.

6 cl Bacardi Superior
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
1 cl Grenadine syrup (homemade, 1:1)
0.5 cl Sugar syrup (1:2 sugar)

You will need to shake it quite a bit to lose the "spirit-y" taste of the Bacardi. But otherwise, this recipe should give you a fuller/thicker mouthfeel, and the tart is more subdued with the additional sugar syrup. 


Sources & for more :
If you insist on buying your grenadine, this website has some Grenadine brand reviews: http://www.artofdrink.com/2007/10/grenadine-reviews.php
The Bacardi history lesson: http://mixology.eu/rum_und_cachaca/history-bacardi-roots-bacardi-family-part-1/ (it has 3 parts to it!)



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Launch: Affligem is Here!

Selamat datang, Affligem.

Kudos to GAB for bringing in a new beer, yeay! It's so nice to see them venture out of their Guinness and Tiger comfort zone. :p

Affligem is brought in by Heineken, which is part of GAB in Malaysia. Heineken actually has a slew of international and regional brands under its umbrella. Don't believe me? Check it out on wikipedia. Don't believe wikipedia? How about verifying it on the official Heineken international website.

 
(LH): Affligem's got good head. (RH): Affligem girls ready to ply you with Affligem 

So back to how Affligem is here.

At 6.8% it's not something you should chug down like your average lager (because it's not). It's a beer which you need to slowly drink and savour its flavour. The aroma and flavours come out better when served slightly less than icy cold. However, it can be a little pricey. The good news is that all (good) imported beers are already priced around the RM20++ anyways so we should be used to it by now, eh?

Ben Ng, showing us how to pour an Affligem
Very quickly, some info which I know you're dying to know.

What is it?
Affligem is a Belgian Abbey beer founded around 1074 by 6 knights who were done with the war, decided to become monks and brew beer. The recipe has supposedly been unchanged since 1074.

Fun fact: There are only 22 certified Abbey beers in the world today and Affligem is one of them.



The Range
Affligem actually has a few variations under its label:
Affligem Blonde - a Pale Ale at 6.8%
Affligem Dubbel -  a Dubbel at 7% ABV
Affligem Tripel - a Tripel at 9.5% ABV
Affligem Patersvat - a Belgian Ale at 6.8% ABV
Affligem Noel - a seasonal Christmas ale at 9% ABV
It's supposed to be available in both bottle and draught versions but for our Malaysia market, we'll only be introduced to the bottled Blond, for now. Why? I don't know either, but let's hope the rest will come in soon!

 
The dashing Will Quah was the emcee at the event & talented Poova entertained us with her lovely singing.

Description
Summarised from its official website:
Aroma: Fresh bread, banana, spice, citrus and hints of vanilla.
Taste: Malty, nutty, tropical fruit, dry light bitterness.
Mouth-feel: medium-bodied, smooth, round.
Finish: banana, yeasty spice, hoppy aroma.
If you ask me, I can only tell you that it tastes nice and that I liked it. It has a lot of weight and character. Though some may find it heavy, especially those not used to drinking beer.

 
There is a technique to this: tilt the glass 45 degrees and pour it out at a certain distance to get sufficient head (bubbles) - while you are pouring slowly tilt the glass upright. Towards the end of the bottle, you MUST swirl the bottle vigorously to dislodge the yeast before pouring the last bits out. This makes a difference to the taste of your drink.


Double Fermentation
If you look closely at its label, Affligem prides themselves of their double fermentation process. Now, the double fermentation process is usually done in champagne whereby after the liquid is bottled, additional sugar and yeast is added into the bottle itself. Why? To create even more gas, taste and ABV.

This process is rarely done in beers today, which is why Affligem is proud of it, and proudly displays it on their label.

Where can I buy it?
Should be made available in selected dining places, bars, grocers and convenience stores nationwide from October 2014.

For more:
www.affligembeer.com/


Images with thanks from: Suanie.net & GAB

Friday, 10 October 2014

Kirin Glamping Post-Event Report

(Warning, this is a picture heavy post. With loads of horribly taken pictures.)

Kirin ran a promotion through the month of September whereby with any purchase of their beer, you get a chance to participate in something called "Glamping" on 3 October.

Drink more Kirin.

If you're not too familiar with what Glamping means, it's actually a marriage of 2 words - glamorous and camping. So it's a form of camping where you spend some time away from the comforts of your own home in a sort of a retreat (mostly in the forest or nature reserve, like camping lah), but you don't forgo any luxuries like electricity, plumbing, the internet. etc (hence, glamorous).

What that in mind, I actually was expecting an overnight experience and was looking forward to it. But Kirin clarified that it was just going to be an event lasting a few hours with fun "camping" activities and food - ie, more like a party without any of the hassle of needing to stay the night. Fine by me! A party by any name, is still a party! But I was intrigued... what in the world will they be doing to make it seem like one is on a Glamping trip?

Firstly before we even talk about the event proper - the invite was couriered over. COURIERED. Check out the pearly thick paper that was used for the invite! How much thought was put into that man? LOADS!

I am so suakoo. Invite card also take picture.

Before we entered into the event hall, we were given a bunch of paints and brushes to decorate our own Japanese lanterns, which was hung at the entrance of the event hall.

Lanterns. Lanterns everywhere!

After the first task was done, you were lead to the event hall by hot Kirin chicks.

Tall Hot Kirin Chicks. Tall Hot Kirin Chicks everywhere!

And you'll instantly feel like you've been transported into an ACTUAL camping ground.Why? There was grass. Lots and lots of grass! The entire event hall was filled with fake grass! Even the lighting is dimmed to make you feel like you're being in the dark outdoors.... but you're actually indoors! What sorcery!

Grass. Grass everywhere!

Not forgetting nice little cute white tents all over the place and activity booths! Those were so cozy you could just lay down and zzzz.....

SO COZY RIGHT?

The place was filled with hot Kirin chicks in really short Kimonos who keep plying you with ice cold Kirin beer. If you were a guy, this is one version of heaven on earth.

Would you like another beer? YES. TWO DAMNIT!

There were also fierce looking Kabuki dancers lurking around too, hoping to be asked for a selfie. Yes they may look frightening on the outside, but inside, they are just insecure little demons who love taking selfies, just like we do.

Kabuki dancers. Kabuki dancers everywhere.

We were given the chance to play with something called Kendama which looked like a simple silly wooden child's toy - NOT. Getting that darn wooden ball to balance on the wooden stick is almost as hard as algebra. Okay, maybe not as hard as algebra, but it was HARD.

This is how the Japanese play with their balls.

We even got to made our own campfire chairs out of cardboard! This has got to be the most original thing I've ever seen in awhile (I haven't been out much, I guess)! I thought it was so awesome I wanted to bring back the whole lot! And it was sturdy as anything man! Even a baby elephant could stand on that thing! Just look at how excited I still am with every sentence in this paragraph being punctuated with an exclamation point!

Box seats. Box seats everywhere

We get to silk-screen our own recyclable bags to take home. Seriously just can't get enough of awesome free stuff.

 



Then, we get to create our own bento box meal. Kirin made sure we had plenty of food because there were also servers walking around the camping site with what seemed like a never-ending flow of sushi. An event that makes sure you're always fed and quenched is an event that is deserving of a lot of love. <3

Sempat to camwhore before shoving the food down my mouth.

After we've completed all our activities (lantern paining, silk screening, making our own bento) we get to collect a 4-pack Kirin beer to tarpau home! Kirin, you're seriously too much!
Deep of thirstyblogger.my said his arse was feeling cold.

And what's a fake glamour-camping, without some huge arse fake bonfire?

I can't even begin to describe how starstruck I was when I realised that Deborah Henry was the host of the event. She has got to be one of the hottest Miss Malaysia I've ever met, and crazily intelligent. Not to mention terribly lovely too. Swoon.

Woman, you make me feel like a man.

We were entertained by a live DJ set, live band and a (quite odd) dancing number by the Kabuki dancers (which, in all honesty, wasn't at all an actual Kabuki dance, more like.. spasmic breakdancing. But it was still quite entertaining nevertheless). Which was all great when you have had copious amounts of Kirin beer served by hot Kirin chicks. In short, short kimonos. No, I can't really get over how short the kimonos were.

Entertainment. Entertainment everywhere.

There was a surprise giveaway that night - ONE chosen winner (drawn randomly from a form we had to submit at the beginning of the event) gets to go to an all-expense paid trip to Japan for 5 days for 2 pax. I was gutted that it wasn't me. So gutted that I didn't even want to take pictures of the winner. So HMPH.

No lucky winner pictures. But here are some good advice on some random pillars by the folks at Kirin.

It's not too late though. Because from now till mid-November 2014, if you buy any Kirin, make sure you get a scratch card with it because you'll stand a chance to win a trip to Japan. For more on that check out kirinichiban.com.my/japantrip

Now what is the point of this post anyway? It's so you know that you've missed out on one helluva awesome party. Then next time, when Kirin says that they wanna give you some awesome free stuff, you'll BELIEVE IT.

Thanks for the awesome party Kirin! Please invite me for the next one. Better yet, why don't you just send me straight to Japan? Domo arigatou!

Double fisting your beer is  highly recommended.
#KirinMY # KirinGlamping

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The IBA Project: Gin Fizz

A  happy glass of  Gin Fizz
The Grandfather Story:
One of the oldest classic drinks originating from the late 1800s. A Fizz is pretty much a cocktail (the base spirit could be a gin, whiskey, brandy or vodka) which contains carbonated water and citrus. The Gin Fizz is actually a variation of the John Collins (also an IBA cocktail) - the only difference between these two cocktails is that John Collins is served in a highball glass with ice, and the Ginz Fizz is served in a chilled tumbler ( a smaller glass than a highball), without ice.

Strength:
Not strong. Sour and carbonated, it actually tastes like lemonade ... with alcohol.

IBA standard recipe & method: 
Recipe:
4.5 cl Gin
3 cl Fresh lemon juice
1 cl Sugar syrup
8 cl Soda water

Method:
Shake all ingredients with ice cubes, except soda water. Pour into tumbler (whiskey glass). Top up with soda water. Garnish with lemon slice.


Someone's gotta taste this.
Variations: 
  • Many recipes calls for 2 shots of gin (60ml)
  • Some recipes puts in more sugar and cuts down on the lemon. I prefer this.
  • No lemon? You could try using lime. Lime and gin go together like vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
  • The original recipe uses superfine sugar, instead of syrup... you just gotta shake it harder.
  • Apparently, the ORIGINAL recipe from the 1800s calls for Genever gin. Not impossible to attain, just quite freaking difficult. So a normal London Dry will do.
  • Include an egg white and it's called a Silver Fizz
  • Include an egg yolk and it's a Gold Fizz
  • Royal Fizz = whole egg included
  • Diamond Fizz is when you replace soda with champaign.
  • Add a dash of green mint creme and you get a Green Fizz

Thoughts & Observations:
  • IBA's version, too little gin. Can't get the taste of gin as the citrus completely overpowers it. Either that or I'm just an alkie who likes her drinks strong, hehe. I mean, what's the point of drinking a cocktail if I can't taste the spirit? Might as well just have a packet of juice, right?
  • Also their version makes it too lemony. Less tart and a bit more sugar preferred
  • Using a chilled tumbler keeps the drink for cooler slightly longer. It also makes your first few sip damn awesome on a hot sweaty day when the ice cold glass touches your lips. 
  • Drink it fast, otherwise the Malaysian heat melts it away and the gas will escape and all you're left with is a flat, sour, lukewarm drink which is blah.

For shizzle, mah fizzle.

My Preference: 
6 cl Gin (I used Gordon's, which is a london dry)
3 cl Fresh lemon juice
1.5 cl Sugar syrup
Top up with Soda water
Served in chilled glass with some cubes of large ice.

Sources & for more :
http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/754/fizz-generic-name
http://www.artofdrink.com/recipes/cocktail/gin-fizz-or-tom-collins/
http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Gin_Fizz
http://gincocktails.net/gin-fizz


Click me for the list of drinks that's been covered in the IBA Project