The Booze Blog - Alcohol, Bars, Malaysia and Beyond.

5 June 2019

WhiskyPLUS KL 2019 - Game Plan

Malaysia’s Premier whisky and (some spirits) tasting event returns for its second year.

Some of whiskyplus kl 2018's offerings.
It is going to be bigger and better with even more brands than last year. Expect 50 participating brands including independent bottlings and new expressions to the market.

Some important details:

Where: Pavillion Hotel (next to Pavillion Mall)
When: 15th June - Session 1: 12-4pm, Session 2: 5-10pm.
Discounts available to: The Glenlivet Guardians Malaysia, Dram Full Malaysia members, bulk purchases
Expect: A set meal, a tasting glass, access to the main tasting floor, opportunities to join masterclasses, pop-up bars, a VIP Lounge to access a selection of premium whiskies (for VIP pass holders),  the return of the popular Collector’s Corner (featuring a special selection of exceptional purchase-by-the-dram old and rare whiskies), complimentary F&B vouchers for restaurants at Pavilion Hotel and its sister Banyan Tree property, a Cigar Corner in the main tasting room (and you can smoke your cigar at the Whisky Cove lounge!)
Ticketing & more info: Check out https://www.whiskyplus.my

Some strategies on how to get through the event:
  1. Your ticket purchase comes with a set meal - please make sure you eat and line your stomach if you want to last the session.
  2. Strong tasting foods will affect the taste and scent of your whiskies, so maybe not have them before the event. Also note that curries and chillies will hurt your nostrils IF you puke.
  3. 50 whisky brands, with a few expressions each. 4-5 hours. Pace yourself. Head for the ones you’ve never seen or heard first. 
  4. Spam your body with lots of water. Water will be made available everywhere for free. Take this opportunity to "rinse" your glass in between your tasting so that your next dram won't be affected by your previous tasting.
  5. I’d STRONGLY advise you to not go home driving - Grab the MRT or a cabby/e-hail ride please. 
  6. Don't lose the given tasting glass otherwise how on earth will you get the exhibitors to pour you some whisky? Well, if in the event that you do, you can purchase another at a very cheap RM15 each.
  7. Stay classy and don't be a nuisance please. Don't be that idiot that causes a scene and then get viralled for all the wrong reasons. We deserve nice things! Also - there will be no-nonsense security guys stationed all over so you wouldn't want to be messing with them, trust me.
  8. Lastly, have a swell time. For the price you pay, you're getting fed, so much whisky, a tasting glass, discount vouchers, chance to taste some rare stuff, and hang out with classy like-minded people. What a treat!
See you there!
So don’t say I bojio! If you do recognise us, do hit me up and slainte mhath with me.

See you then!

- Jon

P/s: We have a pair of Gold Pass tickets to giveaway. How? 
1) Share this post on your Facebook timeline
2) Tag the person you'd like to bring & tell us why you want to go.
3) Leave a comment on https://www.facebook.com/Ang3ltini so we know you're participating.

16 March 2019

No frills, no legends, no fluff, just Tomatin



Behind every great whisky brand, there is bound to have an awesome legacy of that product. As the title suggests, the Tomatin is a whisky made from the heart of the community of this distillery.

The Tomatin distillery sits high on the Scottish Highlands at 315m above sea level. Being one of the oldest distilleries since 1897, this proud distillery is acclaimed with several awards. Tomatin means "Hill of the Juniper bush" in Gaelic, yes, the same product that produces the berries for gin distillation.


As this distillery is located far from the coast and in a remote area, the Tomatin distillery is very much community driven where 80% of its workers live on site and with families working there spanning a few generations.

I had the opportunity to taste four of its core expressions. The Legacy (ex bourbon and virgin oak, 43%), the 12 year old (bourbon & sherry, 43%), the 14 year old (tawny port, 46%) and the 18 year old (oloroso sherry, 46%).

I found all four expressions interesting but the 18 was exceptional,  mostly because I'm quite a fan of whisky aged in rich oloroso sherry casks.

In our shores, the Tomatin range and brand is distributed by Drinks Connexion, importers of many other fine spirits and liqueurs.

- Jon

20 January 2019

Carlsberg CNY 2019 campaign ‘Pops’ lots of luck and prosperity

Managing Director Lars Lehmann, Chairman Datuk William Toh flanked by the management team of Carlsberg Malaysia officiated Carlsberg’s CNY campaign “Prosperity Begins With A POP!” which runs till 17 February 2019 nationwide.

Carlsberg Malaysia’s 2019 Chinese New Year campaign kicked off with a grand opening dinner on the 8th January 2019 at the Hao Xiang Chi (HXC) Grand Ballroom in ICC Pudu.

We feasted on beer infused CNY-themed dishes! Hic. 

Themed “Prosperity Begins with a POP!” wishing us an abundance of Prosperity, Happiness, Wealth and Good Luck in vibrant red, green, pink and blue colours across its limited-edition packaging, promotions and campaign activities.



Dato Joey Yap who is also part of Carlsberg Malaysia’s “prosperity’ campaign. You can check your chinese zodiac forecast for 2019 on CarlsbergMY’s Fb page as Dato’ Joey Yap unveils his predictions for the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs in relation to the elements of Prosperity, Happiness, Wealth and Good Luck. Get them on www.facebook.com/CarlsbergMY or www.probablythebest.com.my

Joey Yap wishes youy luck you luck everyone luck!

By now, the CNY Carlsberg festive promo would also be carried out across pubs, restaurants, food courts, coffee shops as well as super-and-hypermarkets. On top of that and back by popular demand for its third consecutive year is the “Probably The Best CNY Shopping Experience” where you have the opportunity of winning the Grand Prize of a trolley full of groceries paid for by Carlsberg.





There are lots more of prizes to be won, like the e-mahjong table set, angpows, all their range of beers - check out their facebook or website (link above) for more.

My prediction? It is going to to be a hot Chinese New Year, so everyone's going to be drinking a lot! Ong Ahhhhhh!

Gong xi fa chai everyone!

- Jon

(Images: Carlsberg)

23 December 2018

GinRikSha: A spicy indulgence of indian fusion

The last time we visited Gin Rik Sha was March last year. We’re not food bloggers as you know but what GinRikSha had was also a bar and cocktail menu, which is where we come in.


GinRikSha has gone through a metamorphosis of improvement since its inception last year. Closed for a month recently, the interior, menu and bar has now been revamped.


Their cocktail menu has also been tweaked - while it still features cocktails with Indian spices, there are a few additions (by the way, Fireangel was a little sad that their really awesome resam bloody mary is no longer available...) and there's a new tap for Tiger beer.  I believe a wider range of bottles and wine are now available.


We tried handful of cocktails from the new menu that was curated by their new bar manager - Chan.

Lavender Sour (RM39) - gin, lemon juice, pineapple juice, blue curacao, smoked.
Easy drinking floral sour number to get your mouth watering for food.

Stress Buster Tea (RM33) - Gin, masala herb mix, tamanrind, lime.
A hot soothing cocktail, it has a familiar scent of resam.

Sharabi Lassi (RM45) - gin, mango lassi, baileys.
Your classic lassi with an alcoholic twist.

Bengal Tiger (RM48) - White rum, brandy, pineapple & lemon juice.
Strong and fruity, right up our alley

Start night  - a Christmas special cocktail with warm notes of a myriad of spices.

Of course, we couldn't drink on an empty stomach and got to sample some of their snacks.
There's another secret - the GinRikSha revamp is only half complete. We understand that a cocktail lounge is soon to be opening upstairs, giving the other cocktail joints around the area a run for their money. Can GinRikSha make it on the list for ‘Best new bar’ for Bar Awards 2019? We're keeping our eyes peeled.

For more: https://www.facebook.com/Ginriksha/

- Jon

15 December 2018

Guinness Draught Food Pairing at Makhan Kitchen

Does Guinness pair with food? We find out when celebrity chef Sherson Lian at Makhan of Kitchen Mafia was tasked to prove it. Being an avid stout drinker myself, this was a media dinner promises to be a treat.

(L to R) HEINEKEN Star Academy draught master, Jonathan Chong, Marketing Manager of GUINNESS Malaysia, Archana Sridhara, GUINNESS Expert, Cian Hulm & Head Chef of Makhan by Kitchen Mafia, Sherson Lian

The menu started with a Tamarind Chilli Grilled Tiger Prawns with the prawn head separately served fried in salted egg and flavoured by curry leaves and Crispy Tandoori Spiced chicken on Brioche on the side

The main course was a delectable Pistachio and Herb crusted Leg of Lamb with jus infused with Coffee and Morel (Jus = juice drippings from the meats’ frying).

The grand sweet finale ended with a Belgian Dark Chocolate Ganache slice with sea salt and nitrogen charged smoked cream. Bonus: we had a cheese platter to end the night.

NOM NOM NOM.

The light bitter creamy texture of Guinness Draught paired well with everything, of course. I am at opinion that spicy food, meats, food which are heavy in oils and rich desserts go well with Guinness. Yes, and so did blue cheese!



The event also paved 2 other agendas for the Guinness branding, which was the education of the two part pour of the Guinness Draught. All guests were required to pour their own Draught under the supervision on Draught Master Jonathan Chong before we were allowed to go home (haha).

We were also introduced to Cian Hulm (pronounced KEEan), the latest Guinness Brand Ambassador in Malaysia. He apparently is also an ambassador of Ireland, quoting him, “the certificates you’ve just earned for the participation of the Guinness Draught two part pour will guarantee you an entry into Ireland”.

Selamat datang, Cian.

Mr. Hulm, I will your words to test very soon!

- Jon

(Images: Guinness/Heineken Malaysia)

9 December 2018

Tiger Beer’s Uncage Food Festival 1-2 December 2018


The Tiger Uncage Street Food Festival was AWESOME.

What is it? A 2-day food binge festival featuring 20 local vendors, about 40 types of food, with fun and games, live performances and of course, cheap ice cold tiger beers at the Gasket Alley, PJ.


What's the point of all this? Read about it in our previous post here.

Here are some pictures from that day:

So much food! (Image: Tiger)

Happy hour prices were insane! After happy hour prices were also well-priced.

People bought tiger beers by the buckets to park.

We wanted to bike off the crates of beer....

Lots of fun games and free stuff during the weekend (Image: Tiger)
Plenty of live performances to entertain us as well (Image: Tiger)

Tiger Beer, let’s do this again this year!!!

For more information on Tiger Uncage and to find out what is in store in the coming year, visit www.facebook.com/tigerbeermy, or www.tigerbeer.com.my

- Jon

1 December 2018

Mrs Jones' Parlour @ section 17

A little foodie enclave in Section 17 has popped up on radar. There are a few grub-worthy makan places in those tinyrows of old 2-storey shoplots with a variety of choices. Parking availability is notoriously scarce but that has not been a deterrence.


The only thing missing here, was a drinking joint.

Enter Mrs Jones’ Parlour. Opened this October and is at this time, the only cocktail bar in the area. There are no clear signboards to this bar, so look out for Tujoh cafe.



The second you step into the parlour, deja vu. It brings us back to the late 70’s with its furnishing and deco. Ah FA said that it reminded her of her late granddad's home. Very nostalgic and cosy.


This is related to the speakeasy bar in TTDI, the Pawn Room and sister wine bar, The Private Room.

With gins from Australia, the UK,  Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands. Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand and USA, you'll be quite spoilt with choices.

Mrs Jones’ parlour meanwhile, is a gin bar with a small selection of wine. There's also a selection of gin-based cocktails and homemade infused gins too.

4 types of gin infusions.

Drinks and bottles are generally well-priced. Their happy hours are from 5-8pm where you get 2 glasses of gin (and tonics) for RM40 nett.

All the happy hour gin choices you can choose from - not bad.

Schweppes is used for happy hour but there are 2 premium tonic brands you can choose from with various flavours. 

G&T FTW.

There are bites to go with the drinks as well by Tujoh cafe downstairs.

Food is available until Tujoh closes. Creamy (tom yum? spicy?) soft shell crab was DA BOMB. 

I can see people just coming out here to chill with friends, while waiting for queues for the eateries downstairs to clear.

Amoi Melon (RM 35) - Tanqueray, Midori, lemon, agave, watermelon juice, beaten egg white.
There are 4 cocktails to choose from now - easy-drinking sweet gin-based concoctions from RM35-RM45.
As for me, I plan to catch their happy hour G&Ts as frequently as possible.

- Jon

17 November 2018

Lower East Side Whisky Officially Launches in Malaysia

Lower East Side Whisky was first introduced to Malaysia during the not so recent Whisky Plus held earlier in July... but the brand was just officially launched at the breathtakingly scenic view of Cielo Kuala Lumpur down at Changkat Bukit Bintang earlier this month. Cielo, if you are not familiar with the establishment, is part of the Werner Group’s latest foray brand under their portfolio of impressive outlets in Changkat Bukit Bintang stretch that includes The Rum Bar, The Whisky Bar, Opium, El Cerdo...

Liquid in glass contained only water for colour comparison...

We found out that Lower East Side Whisky apart from its name, the whisky has nothing to do with the New York reference. Tony Roberts, from the brand new Borders Distillery that owns this whisky, explains that the distillery is located at the ‘lower east side’ of the Scottish border to England about an hours drive to the border. The map on the whisky bottle is the Scotland map but the map grid pattern on the map is the map of New York. Scottish humour, he says (we didn't get it, haha).



Lower East Side Whisky is not a product distilled from its own distillery. Well, not yet, anyway. Barely 1 year in (officially opened early this year), it can't make the whisky yet and still call it scotch (needs to be at least 3 years old). What they have done is source the 6 single malts ( 2 highlands + 4 speysides) from friendly whisky distilleries and marry them instead.

It has light fruits and orange on the nose and twang of orange peel marmalade on the palate. Its a young blend without much of a finish bottled at 40% ABV. Expect to be retailed at around where the other cheeky blended malt whisky brand is priced as well.

The Borders Distillery (because it is near the border la) is already in production with a blended NAS and Gin.

Good Luck Mr Roberts and we will wait patiently to ‘Slainte Math’ with your other products soon!

-Jon

11 November 2018

The Bar Awards 2018 Events: 21 - 28 November 2018

The Bar Awards is back to Malaysia for its second year. This time, they're covering KL AND Penang yeay!

The Bar Awards acknowledges the best bars and F&B teams who are nominated by the public and then judged by a panel of professionals from the local F&B industry for the following categories:
  • Bartender of the Year
  • Bar Of The Year
  • Best New Bar
  • The Rising Star
  • Best Restaurant Bar
  • Best Beer Bar
  • Best Wine Bar
  • Best Hotel Bar
  • Best Specialist Concept
  • Best Hospitality Ambassador
  • Best Hospitality Team
  • Most Creative Cocktail Program
  • The Bar Awards Luminaries
The top 10 for each category can be found here.

Here's the icing on the cake - there's going to be a whole slew of activities, parties, guest shifts from international bars (Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, and Bangkok) and brand ambassadors well as masterclasses leading up to the announcement of the winners on the 25th, and then a little bit more after:


Get updated at: www.facebook.com/thebarawards

Don't say I bojio!

4 November 2018

A Celebration of Heritage and Gastronomy with John Walker & Sons XR 21

John Walker & Sons XR 21 returns to celebrate its craft and Malaysia's legacy with the annual Mastery session.


This year, the Mastery Gala continues its celebration of Penang at the Colonial Penang Museum in Pulau Tikus.


The museum, rated as one of the top 10 museums in Malaysia by TripAdvisor, is an awe inspiring mansion that houses some of the oldest artworks in the country, some over 100 years old.


Perched on an Angsana tree in the front garden of the mansion was a  treehouse that fit only 10 people per visit. There, Johnnie Walker and Diageo Malaysia’s Jeremy Lee surprised us with the soon-to-be worldwide release of Johnnie Walker 28 year old “Midnight Blend”. We were the first few in Malaysia to sample this.


The 28 year old Midnight Blend contains, among others, two grain expressions from Cambus Distillery, whiskies from the Speyside region including Strathmill, Cylenish, Glenkinchie and Caol Ila. The end product has the sweetness of vanilla, butterscotch, citrus, fresh fruity notes a warm, smoky finish.



The Midnight Blend is a limited production of Johnnie Walker’s Private Collection series (only 3,888 bottles) bottled at 42.8% ABV.

The final part of the event was a scrumptious dinner that featured local delights with a twist to pair with the XR21.

For more www.johnniewalker.com and www.facebook.com/JohnnieWalkerMalaysia


My take on last year's XR 21's Mastery session at Khoo Kongsi here.

We had a great time as usual. Thank you, Diageo Malaysia!

- Jon

#XR21Mastery #XR21
(Images: Diageo Malaysia)