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

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)

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)

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!