COCKTALES, by the Thirsty Blogger

The world of livin the good life, alcohol & travel

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Kickin-back with Tiger White in… Bentong

July 15th, 2016 · ~ Beer (lager / ale / stout) ~, ~ Events ~, ~ Travel ~

I’ve always liked Bentong, as well as the other little towns northeast of the Valley. Famous for durians and that killa ABC / ice-cream shop, Bentong district was where Tiger White found a great little spot by the forest for a weekend getaway, with some glamping arranged for its competition winners.

For me it was a much-wanted break, after spending months setting up Locker & Loft.

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Typo?

Glamping is basically camping for sissies, aka ”glamorous camping”. The resort Caravan Serai has many such tents, with attached bathrooms, and Tiger was kind enough to fit ACs to all tents. How nice. Turned our tent into a party spot.

Not our tent obviously

Not our tent obviously

This is like the fourth ‘surprise’ excursion done for Tiger White consumers, including a trip on a yacht out of Port Klang for other winners. I wasn’t invited for that, probably coz i would have commandeered the yacht and stormed Cenang Beach. Wouldn’t be a day-trip anymore.

The resort is very chilled, cozy and welcoming, with lots of green and an airy cafeteria, which also housed the bar with an unlimited supply of ice-cold Tiger White, which is a Malaysian-created wheat beer (abv 5%). It also contains clove, coriander, and orange peel for a hint of extra flavour.

Day 2; Tiger White winners, their guests, and members of the media strike a pose before leaving Caravan Serai, Bentong

The crew

Besides downing cold ones, the other exciting activity we got tangled in was quad-biking! This was on the evening we checked-in, although trying to create a drink holder on the vehicle was a challenge. I lost my Tiger to the forest. Haha

Paulie losing it. In his sexy shorts

Paulie losing it.  In his sexy shorts

We also got to enjoy some mischief in the forest – paintball. Unlike the urban version, bush paintball is another level altogether. Many variables, and uncertain terrain. I found a great sniping spot, but had to maintain, as insects and shit crawled all over me.

Me and Paulie wanted to enter the river and wade upstream to flank the other team, but we disallowed from doing so. Damn. Would have whooped them and eaten their leader.

Either way, each team won one game apiece, and most participants were too emotionally drained and exhausted to play a finale. Or too thirsty.

Ready

Ready

The night that we arrived, guests were treated to an outdoor movie as well.

Garden party

Garden party

Not sure what all those official photographers were doing there but we hardly received 10 photos of the entire weekend. Haha.

Unlike most alcohol brands that do same ol stuff in the city, Tiger White has been a lot more adventurous and daring. It provided guests with stuff they would normally not do, and for some, probably never would have done. Hats off to the brand for that.

 

Brain damage: 7.5/10

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Tiffin teaser party

May 5th, 2016 · ~ Cocktails ~, ~ Events ~

We had a great time at Taste of Tiffin, a two-day event at Publika organized by Freeform Untitled. Took my  mixologist Imran along as well, to check out the alcohol section.

It was certainly an experiential celebration of food and drink. Although we only attended one afternoon, it was obvious that it was a unique collection of food and drinks all in one spot, with a total guest count of 3,000.

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The set-up outside

There were three parts of the event that we visited – the food booths outside, the ones inside, and the booze section. There was some really good grub all around, and we were spoilt for choice. I vaguely recall swallowing some Mexican stuff in the afternoon while buzzed.

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The afternoon session

Anyway, my highlight was in the Black Box – the sampling sessions in the afternoon, as well as cocktail stands. I got so wasted at one point just from sampling the variety that was given, that i had to leave. Swallowed the Mexican stuff at the food section, then came back.

I enjoyed trying out some new gin from Australia, West Winds – the Sabre, and the Cutlass. Especially the Sabre – kinda tangy and sweetish. These gins are available at Locker & Loft.

There were about 40 different spirits to try at the event!

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The Wholly Spirits boys

 

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Some of the booty

 

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Many mini-bars to select from

The best part of this event is that it’s actually merely a teaser to the main event, Tiffin Week. This goes down Sept 24 – Oct 3 at Publika. Expect a very interesting and fun ten days.

Launching mid-2016

Launching mid-2016 for Sept

But in the meantime, Tiffin is also organizing an F&B experience for Urbanscapes 2016. Locker & Loft will be involved in the final weekend of Urbanscapes in KL, May 7 & 8, where we’ll be making alcoholic ”daytime drinks!” from 11am on Saturday & Sunday.

Event details here. Day-drinkers, rejoice.

 

Brain damage: 8/10

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The real cost of booze

March 8th, 2016 · ~ Alcon ~, ~ Drinker's rights ~, ~ EVERY drinker should know this ~

Alcohol tends to be over-priced in many countries, and this is primarily due to two levels of  mark-ups. One is government tax, the other is at the on-trade (ie the outlet level).

Over in Malaysia, the tax is high. However, so are the mark-ups at the outlets, and people tend to blame the government for high prices when outlets also share the blame for this.

Besides last week (when the tax or beer was raised by cents), the alcohol tax hasn’t been raised for TEN years. However, outlets continued to increase prices disproportionately.

Anyway, many outlets add up to 400% for drinks based on their cost of goods sold (COGS), which is kinda extreme. More so for cocktails.

Probably overpriced

Probably overpriced

Here’s an idea on how much the outlets pay for booze, based on suppliers’ pricing.

A glass / pint of Tiger (draught): RM7.45 / RM11.18

A glass / pint of Guinness (draught): RM8.75 / RM13.12

A glass of gin (eg Beefeater): RM4

A glass of vodka (eg Absolut): RM4.40

A glass of Scotch (eg Grant’s / Black Label): RM5.90 / RM7.40

A glass of rum (Bacardi): RM5.28

Pretty decent eh?

Also, they get trade offers, and sales incentives, which includes free kegs / cash / bottles. So the actual cost could be even lower.

There’s this popular joint in BSC that sells mojitos for 30 bucks. I was told by a supplier that they use moonshine rum disguised in a premium bottle! Disgusting if true. At RM30, you can easily afford to give Bacardi or something, rather than a local rum that costs 25 bucks for the whole bottle. I once saw bartenders at Luna Bar pour crap into a bottle of Smirnoff to use for cocktails.

In fact many outlets do this for their cocktails, including hotels. It’s sick.

Beers shouldn't be expensive

Beers shouldn’t be expensive

Anyway, the mark-up (referring to premium drinks, not moonshine) is obviously to cover costs. However, the mark-ups should depend on several factors. Theoretically. Some fancy joints can probably justify higher prices – for example if the place has killer views, a swimming pool, or many professional staff, or nice decor, or spent on ID / decor / sound system, or high monthly costs due to a large space etc.

Unfortunately, even basic to mid-level bars, neighbourhood pubs, and the like also tend to impose very high mark-ups, mostly unjustified. (Prices at many coffeeshops are also quite ridiculous.)

Their extreme mark-ups are probably due to reasons other than mentioned above, such as the desire to make fast money, or greed. Many bar owners are in the business for the money, not the passion of owning and running a bar.

And the F&B business in Malaysia is pretty dirty, that’s for sure. And so are many owners, who underpay their staff with low wages, and charge customers 10% Service Charge, but keep that money meant for staff, for themselves. That’s very common.

Some have decent happy hours, but murder you after that.

So while taxes are high, many outlets are obviously taking advantage as well, thinking that everyone blames the government.

I’ll leave it to the consumer to decide if the bars you go to are pricing their drinks unfairly.

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Chivas Regal Extra introduced, in style

January 28th, 2016 · ~ Booze news / new products ~, ~ Events ~, ~ Whisky ~

Chivas sure threw a party.The brand introduced its newest expression, Chivas Extra, at a cool party at a cool spot, the Glasshouse in Seputeh, KL

Chivas Extra is a rich, but easily-enjoyed-anytime Scotch. It’s a very different whisky from Chivas Regal, and it stands on its own from the other expressions.

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It’s a collection of Chivas Brothers’ rare whiskies built on a foundation of malts that have been matured in a higher proportion of sherry casks. This process delivers a good depth of flavour. I liked it. It has a fruity, sweetish, nose and palate.

It was crafted by Chivas Regal Master Blender Colin Scott.

The launch party saw various activities like drinking, as well as a great set by Joey G, and varieties of whisky cocktails, and tasting sessions..

as well as grooming

… as well as grooming

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Lionel doing his thing, at a tasting session

A few of us were luckier than the rest though – the introduction to Chivas Extra took place a few weeks ahead. We were invited to a special event.

Starters

Starters

After a few Chivas cocktails which took place at Marble 8, it was dinner time, and this showed up –

Very nice

 

Yup, quite a stretch

Quite a stretch..

The ride had plush seats, and a bar. Great stuff.

We were taken to a very interesting dining experience, Dining In The Dark.

Classy

Delish stuff

It began with a pre-dinner drinks at the bar, before we, in a single file, held the shoulder of the person in front and were lead into complete darkness.

Going in..

Going in..

It was surreal eating and drinking and getting high in complete darkness. There was so much conversation going on, and i had no idea who i was talking to. Till later. Haha.

Chivas Extra’s ABV is 40%, and it’s available at whisky stores as well as certain F&B outlets.

 

Brain damage: 8.5/10

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