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

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)

28 October 2018

Tiger Uncaged - The Street Food Heroes

‘Why are Malaysians so afraid to follow their dreams?’

With that question, Tiger Beer Malaysia is on a prowl to uncage hungry individuals from their hidden talents or “Uncage Heroes” where it hopes to inspire fans to follow their dreams in diverse fields (dance, tech, fashion, art, food)  to make a positive impact, even if that means defying societal expectations.



Earlier in September, Tiger collaborated with Pestle and Mortar clothing and WWF featuring selected artists. At the media preview of this new Uncage segment, 3 street food heroes who have defied social conventions and odds were featured to showcase their interpretation of local delights - Im Cheah (Bacon It), Herukh Jethwani (Meet The Porkers) and Jun Chan (Bowls of Steel).

(2nd from L-R) Tiger Uncage Street Food Heroes Herukh Jethwani, Jun Chan and Im Cheah, with Jiri Rakosnik, Marketing Director of HEINEKEN Malaysia and Pearly Lim, Marketing Manager of Tiger Beer.

The sneak peek allowed us to see what these street food heroes have in store and more in the upcoming Uncage Street Food Festival (scheduled to be held on 1-2 December 2018).

Herukh's mini tandoori pork ribs tacos sautéed in crispy prawn chilli, garlic and curry leaves dish, and his famous Siew Yoke Briyani.

The festival will feature the signature dishes by these uncaged heroes and other local talents from  myBurgerLab, The Porki Society, Ticklish Ribs & ‘Wiches, Pho King and Makirito under one roof. Those are just the tip of the pig's snout because I am told there will actually be 40 stalls in all.

Im's famous bacon and sambal ikan bilis popcorn, pork bacon and gula Melaka (palm sugar) popcorn variation, and 'Going Bananas Over Bacon’ that incorporates bacon ice cream and pisang goreng (banana fritters) topped with sticky-sweet rum gula Melaka caramel

There is also a fun online ‘Find Your Tiger’ quiz  to find out what kind of Tiger you are - and the results were printed out on the spot on a coaster with our names on it.

Jun's ramen burger with Tiger Beer cheddar cheese sauce, and ‘Main Bola’made from egg plant, minced brisket meatball, sweet potato gravy with a local touch of belacan sofrito, ayam kampung egg and salted egg crumble.

Check out www.facebook.com/TigerBeerMY/ or www.tigerbeer.com.my for more info on the upcoming Uncage Street Food Festival.


A street food event won't be completed without having several ice cold bottle of Tiger beers, of course.

- Jon

(Images: Tiger Beer)

6 October 2018

The Macallan Edition No. 4 - Launched in Malaysia


Ever since the scarcity of aged statement whiskies from an Asian upsurge of consumption some years ago, The Edrington Group to which owns the Macallan whisky brand among others went on the offensive to meet the explosion in demand. Which brings us their The Edition series - a yearly limited edition no-age statement series where Macallan plays around with a wide range of wood for the series.

The No. 4 of the Edition Series is their, you guessed it, fourth edition of the series.


The No.4 is aged in a combination of seven different cask types. These include (deep breath guys); European/American Oak refill butts, European/American Oak refill hogsheads, American Oak first fill Vasyma hogsheads, European Oak first fill Diego Martin Rosado butts, European Oak first fill Jose Y Miguel Martin butts, European Oak first fill Tevasa butts/puncheons and European Oak first fill Tevasa hogsheads.

Different from the previous three edition which were more focused on the taste and aroma, master distiller Nick Savage developed Edition No. 4 to reveal the 'structure of the whisky', inspired by the construction of their swanky, newly constructed, £140 million distillery, design by the team behind London's Millennium Dome, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

Image: Macallan
6 years in the making. 36 copper pot stills. This colossal distillery is quite a sight to behold... at least that's the feeling I'm getting from its video - https://www.themacallan.com/en/the-journal/new-distillery/

The tasting notes for the No. 4 is quite a departure from the usual Macallan signature (sherry, sherry baby). This one had bright orange zest with grapefruit, berries, hazelnuts and some spice. The finish is short but what I liked was what felt like a burst of sunshine.


There were plenty of people at the launch which described this as smooth - which is not exactly a flavour per se but hey, who am I to tell someone how to enjoy their whisky?

At the point of writing, it's RM600 a bottle.

More: https://www.themacallan.com/en/whisky/single-malts/limited-releases/the-edition-series/

- Jon

1 October 2018

The Great Brew Fest 2018 by Heineken Malaysia

October is here. Which also puts us to the month that is beery important ....... in Germany.

Over here in sunny Malaysia, Heineken has launched their very own answer to the globally popular Oktoberfest - the Great Brew Fest.

Tap ALL the beers at the mobile tap bar
This is probably a great opportunity to finally do a side-by-side tasting of the wide range of brands under their belt and to take on the journey of how each brew was made (differently!) and how it should rightfully be served to preserve its different flavour qualities.

Did you know that Heineken Malaysia (formerly known as Guinness Anchor Berhad) produces not only Heineken but also Tiger , Guinness, Kilkenny, Kirin Ichiban, Paulaner, Strongbow cider, Apple Fox cider and Anchor?

FA not doing so well with tapping beers.
While beer is essentially made with just 4 ingredients (grains, water, hops, yeast) but each beer is different because they can be made with so many types of grains, hops, even yeast strains. Even the production for each beer can be different. While cider takes only 3 to make (apple juice, water, yeast)  their ciders also tastes different from one another.

Jiri Rakosnik Marketing Director (left) and Roland Bala Managing Director (right) wants you to have some fun with The Great Brew Fest 2018, and if you learn something from it, all the better!
Well, if you get to encounter Heineken's The Great Brew Fest pop up bar featuring taps of ALL its beers, you'll be able to find out more.

Throughout this Fest, you'll also be able to taste their "festival brew" - the Tiger Amber Lager which is available on tap and only until 10 Nov. A likely crowd-pleaser at 5% abv, this has the familiarity of the Tiger beer, with a hoppy note (that reminds me of Guinness), a malty sweetness (like the Kilkenny) and even a hint of citrus.

Hello Tiger Amber Lager!
There's also limited edition designer mugs for Apple Fox Cider, Tiger Beer, Guinness, Kirin Ichiban and Paulaner München which was created with local artists (CLOAKWORK, Kenji Chai, Beautiful Machines featuring Sling, Jarold Sng and Lynda from Pink Tattoos) to collect.


To join the festivities, learn more about your favourite brews and taste the ones you're unfamiliar with, catch their mobile tap bar, promos and giveaways (RM250k worth of prizes to be won including vouchers fora  bottle/bucket of your favourite brew) at participating outlets around KL, Ipoh, Penang and JB 10 November 2018.  Selected outlets would even get a visit from the Great Brew Bus (featuring the Tiger Amber Lager) and the Great Brew Wall (to learn more about your favourite brews).

I was trying to learn about the beers, not check out the how brand ambassador, really.
Check out https://www.facebook.com/thegreatbrewfest and https://www.instagram.com/GreatBrewFest_MY/ for more info and their locations.

Don't say I #bojio!

- Jon

30 September 2018

Sake Festival Malaysia 2018 (+Giveaway!)


In conjunction with World Sake Day (held annually on 1st October), Nomi Tomo Sake House will be bringing us Malaysia's first ever sake festival!

Who is Nomi Tomo Sake House? It prides itself as Malaysia’s largest sole distributor for craft sake and also owns the popular sake bar, Nomi Tomo in Damansara Heights.

Format:
The event will feature sake tasting stations with over 30 sake labels from the following 10 sake breweries - Bijofu, Dassai, Dewazakura, Gasanryu, Kirinzan, Niwano Uguisu, Masumi, Sakunohana, Seikyo and Yuki No Bousha.

There's also sake appreciation sessions conducted by representatives from selected breweries and certified sake sommeliers Micky Chan (Hong Kong), Elliot Faber (Hong Kong), Thomas Ling (Malaysia) and Danny Leung (Malaysia).

When:
13 October, 4-11pm

Where: 
The Gasket Alley - Lot 15, 13, Jalan 13/6, Seksyen 13, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 46200.

Ticketing:
Tickets can be bought at https://events.pouchnation.com/event/SFM2018
  • Early Bird Tickets @ RM70, 27th August – 10th September2018
  • Pre-Sale Tickets @ RM90 nett, 11th September – 30th September 2018
  • General Admission @ RM100 nett, 1st – 11th October 2018

This event will be cashless, so all transactions will be conducted through RFID tags through credits stored in it. Top-ups can be made via counters at the event.

Each ticket gets you RM100 worth of credits (to buy sake, food and other beverages) and includes a tasting glass, 3 free sake samples, a festival bag, an info book, and a few other surprises too. Other beverage and food vendors (from RM15-RM30) include:
• Sapporo Beer (Japan)
• Nomi Tomo Sake Bar
• Makhan by Kitchen Mafia
• Nomms
• The Ice-Cream Bar

Grab promo:
The festival encourages you to drink responsibly and have arranged for a Grab discount for rides to and from Gasket Alley.
Promo code name: SAKEFESTMY2018
Promo code value: RM5 off 2 rides
Validfor GrabPay (Debit and Credit card) payment only
Valid for the first 300 rides

For more:
www.facebook.com/sakefestmy/
www.facebook.com/pg/nomitomosakehouse
www.instagram.com/sakefestmy
www.nomitomosakehouse.com

Facebook giveaway:
I've got 5 pairs of tickets to give away for this event. For a chance to win, just do this:
1) Share this post on your facebook page (make sure it's public!)
2) Tag your friend that you want to bring along for the event
3) Say why you'd like to go for the event.
4) Drop me a comment on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ang3ltini so I know you're participating

Contest ends 5 October 2018, 5pm. Winners will be contacted via Facebook messenger over the weekend. Good luck!

28 September 2018

An Adventure with Morandé Wines


Founded in 1996, Morande wines is a 20 year old name that make part of Belén Group, a group of winemakers from five related winery's — Morande, Vistamar, Mancura, Zorzal and Fray Leon that produces their own wines.     

They pride themselves as pioneers in creating and planting vineyards in Casablanca and used old, traditional Mediterranean varieties as well as unpopular grapes like the Cinsault, Carignan and Paí grapes, among others. They were also the first winery to produce late harvest wines (sweet dessert wines) in Chile and the first to be recognised as 100% sustainable.


Apart from that, they were among the first to adopt the usage of concrete ‘eggs’ (as opposed to conventional fermentation tanks, which is said to contribute to the wine's complexity and mouthfeel while softening its tannins) and using the traditional-large oak foudres (large wooden vat that allows for slow oxygenation of the wines, contributing to the development of the wine's tannic qualities) for producing their wines.


Their Adventure label is what you think it is - a playground for the winemakers to experiment and produce daring wines that breaks the traditional rules of wine-making.

I was invited to try 9 Morandé Adventure wines paired with 9 dishes from 9 different restaurants (Interlude, Sao Nam, Goa by Hubba, Joloko, Sorrok, Meatology, Tatto, Two Sons Bistro, Spitalfield's Gastrobar) in one venue at the Truffles Restaurant in Taylor's Lakeside University for a sumptuous finale that marked the end Morande's  “The Adventure’s Wine & Dine” programme that ran across these 9 restaurants from July to August. We even had the pleasure of  one of the Adventure's Winemaker, Mr Jorge Martinez, with us that night.

We tasted the following wines:



Morandé Adventure Aterciopelado 
- velvety smooth pais & malbec mix.

Morandé Adventure Vigno 
- dark fruits, dry blend of (mostly) Carignan with syrah and chardonnay.

Morandé Adventure Creole
- red fruits blend of 85% Cinsault / 15% País.

Morandé Adventure Despechado 
- a light pinot noir

Morandé Adventure El Padre 
- dark spicy vanilla from the Cabernet Franc grape, also known as the patriarch of the Cabernet Sauvignon.


Morandé Addventure Gran Petit 
- a fruity deep bold blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot

Morandé Adventure Malmau 
- a tannic, berry malbec

Morandé Adventure Mediterraneo 
- a fresh blend of red and white Mediterranean grapes featuring red fruits and spices

Morandé Adventure Tirazis
- a spicy, acidic, tannic syrah

Morande Reserva Gewurztraminer (bonus!)
- a fruity, flower white wine


Cave & Cellar Sdn Bhd the official distributor of the Adventure wines series can be contacted here for more information of their product and future tasting events. For more details & queries: https://www.facebook.com/cavecellar

If you can do read the intriguing story of Morande Wines on their website: http://www.morande.cl/web/english/

- Jon

All images: Morande

16 September 2018

New: Knowhere Bar Bangsar - Eatery, Bar, Cigars.

We had the honour to be invited to check out this fairly new restobar in Bangsar recently.


It wasn't officially launched yet, but we could see that it was already fairly popular with fellow imbibers. I reckon it's because they got the simple recipe for success right - decent pricing for a decent F&B offering in a comfortable setting.

Drinks - expect twists of classics, alongside some of the beverage consultant's (Hello Erik and Vee from Haus!) signatures. Here, they pride themselves of their homemade infusions and fat-washed spirits.  There's even tuak cocktails for the slightly adventurous.

Bacon Milo (RM30) - beef bacon infused vodka with milo 

I've been told that they use at least 50 ml of spirits per drink - so don't be fooled by how easy-drinking they may seem to be.

Kopi Negroni (RM32) - Spiced rum with homemade kopi tongkat ali liquour & kopi hitam

Since it's this place is rather new, drinks menu may change as they are still testing them out.

Sirap Setan (RM32) - lemongrass & pandan infused gin with homemade rose water, cherry blossom & sours

There's also a good range of spirits (there's even pisco and mezcal!) by shots or bottle, wines, beer (tiger, guinness, heineken on draught, and a selected choice of bottles). For those wanting non-alcoholic options, there's mocktails, juices, teas and coffees.

Smoked popcorn old fashioned (RM36) - whisky, popcorn syrup, grapefruit bitters, smoked

For the environmentally conscious - only bamboo straws are used here.

Smokin Luau (RM40) - Pineapple & cinnamon infused vodka, midori, coconut pineapple, smoked

Food - ranging from bar bites to sharing platters. It's pork-free and there's vegetarian options too. There are loads of posts out there about them, so just google it. :)


It's a smoking-friendly (for now, at least) place, with a small selection of cigars offered.


For more: www.facebook.com/knowherebangsar

15 September 2018

The Majestic Hotel's Tribute to Hollywood's Golden Age: Bogart Spirits


“ Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”

That's Humphrey Bogart’s famous quote from the movie Casablanca. Before Marlon Brando and later James Dean perfected the art of mumbling while looking suave and sophisticated, it was Bogart that started it all.

The Bogart Spirits is a collection of 4 spirits - rum, gin, whiskey, vodka, by ROK Drinks Company (US) in collaboration with The Humphrey Bogart Estate.

The introduction of its gin, vodka and rum was held at the Majestic Hotel’s Cigar Lounge, a masculine, classy location truly appropriate for someone like Rick Blaine (Bogart’s character).

The gin is juniper forward with floral and fruity notes of lavender, citrus, macadamia cucumber and coriander.  The rum delivers flavours of  almond nuttiness and coconut. The vodka,
distilled 7 times, is clean and dry, with a light fruity body and spicy finish. I wished we could've tried the blended Irish whiskey which sounded like an interesting blend of single malt and grain whiskeys, matured for at least 3 years in ex-bourbon American oak casks.

To commemorate the launch, Johnny, the head bartender of The Majestic made 5 Hollywood cocktails - Ginger Rogers (gin based), Mae West (brandy based), Jean Harlow (rum & vermouth), Coco Chanel (vodka based) and The James Bond (aka Vesper) (a twist of the gin martini). With the exception of the ‘Vesper’ which is actually a classic cocktail, the other 4 named after actual famous icons of the past.

Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers,  Coco Chanel


The James Bond


Mae West

This collection is exclusively available  at The Majestic's The Smoke House and goes for RM45 a glass and RM600 for a bottle.

For more on Bogart Spirits: http://www.bogartspirits.com/
For more on Majestic's Smoke House & Gentlemen's Club: http://www.majestickl.com/smokehouse.html

- Jon

(Images: The Majestic Kuala Lumpur)

9 September 2018

2018 Heineken Star Serve

2018 Heineken Star Serve winner, Edilon C. Cauilan from The Beer Factory, flanked by
Andrew Woon (Heineken Malaysia Sales Director) and Carmen Chong (Heineken Senior Brand Manager) 

The Beer Factory tops again this year with a new Heineken ‘Star’ Serve champion, Edilon Cauilan from the Raja Uda (Butterworth) branch from a challenge of 7 other contestants from around Malaysia.

As with previous year's winner, the creme of the lot wins an all expense-paid trip to Amsterdam in October, the home of Heineken, and represent Malaysia at the Heineken Global Bartender Final.



Now in its 5th year, Heineken Star Serve campaign had draught masters Jonathan Chong and Thomas Ling teaching the Heineken 5-step Pouring Ritual to more than 600 bartenders across eight cities in Malaysia. The Heineken Star Serve pouring ritual involves five steps: rinse, pour, skim, check and serve. These 5 steps are the secret to delivering a perfect glass of Heineken.

Mastery of the 5 step ritual however, is not the main criteria for winning the competition. The contestants and eventual winner has to exude personality and charisma befitting of a great barkeep.



My hope is for Edilon to emulate Eddy Jay Jaimin, who won the Heineken Global Bartender of the year back in 2016.

Well done and good luck to you Edilon. Do Malaysia proud!



- Jon