COCKTALES, by the Thirsty Blogger

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300 years of Martell

January 22nd, 2015 · ~ Bars / Clubs / Restaurants ~, ~ Booze news / new products ~, ~ Cocktails ~

One of the world’s finest cognacs, Martell, celebrated 300 years of existence recently. It’s the oldest of the great cognac houses, when Jean Martell laid it down way back in 1715 at the height of the era’s art de vivre, the French art of living.

For those that dont know, cognac is fine brandy (aged minimum two years in oak) from the area of Cognac, France. Brandy is made from grapes, and is actually distilled wine. Yummy.

Great on rocks.

The good news is i won myself a bottle of Martell!

The gallery

The gallery

Martell went for a low-key start with the first of the Tricentenaire celebrations at Elegantology, which will culminate with a gala dinner at a venue yet to be announced. The unique venue is a gallery-cum-restaurant in Publika, KL.

Modern candles

Modern candles

The celebration didnt have 300 candles, but it did have 300 light bulbs, as well as cake. Coincidentally it was my friend’s birthday, and she too received a bottle of Martell! Unfortunately for her, she’s not a cognac fan (fortunately for me tho).

The party was also attended by Jacques Menier, the Heritage Director of Martell.


A special edition

Mine! (x2)

Mine! (x2)


We were treated to a really good cocktail – ginger and lime muddled, Martell VSOP added, topped with lemonade soda. Goes down nice.


It’s called Summit

The three artistic pillars of gastronomy, tasting and craftsmanship remain intrinsic to the Martell house, and am looking forward to the year-long celebration to reflect that!

Brain damage: 7.5/10


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44 Pop-Up Bar

January 12th, 2015 · ~ Bars / Clubs / Restaurants ~, ~ Booze news / new products ~, ~ Cocktails ~, ~ Liquor ~, ~ My recommended outlets ~, ~ Review (invited) ~

Hidden among the large newspaper HQs in Jalan Riong, Bangsar, is 44. It lies in a former printing press beside NSTP, the place where i got my first job in journalism.

44 is a specialty bar focusing on American craft spirits, ranging from rum to gin. I had a taste of these drinks a few months back in Georgetown at a place also called 44 (the same owners).

The space

The space

There’s whisky, vodka, gin, rum, craft beer and specialty cocktails. As these are small batch producers, prices range from $380 to 400 for spirits. However prices are nett, and the range is definitely nothing you will find anyplace else.

The menu features 5 specialty cocktails, tho there are many others as well. The Darjeeling Jungle Bird mixes rum Ragged Mountain, which is a dark one, with Campari, lime and pineapple juice, and lots of mint garnish; a bitter-sour ‘refreshment’.

Lil birdie

Lil birdie. The JB is a Malaysian classic tiki cocktail from the 50s

There’s also a gin mixing station for customers to screw around at, called Gintoxicated. There’re a bunch of herbs, spices, botanicals and fruit for you to flavour your gin tonic with. The tonic is fancy as well, called Fentiman’s.

A good deal at $35 (1.5 shots of craft gin). If you’re confused, 44 barman Erik’s your man, who can recommend flavours as well as cocktails.

The featured gin right now is Bulfinch 83. I had a shot, and find it light and not over-ginny. Easy on the florals and herbs. I built mine with juniper berries, rose buds, cinnamon stick and lime. Turned out pretty nice, with floral and limey notes coming through.


Some colour to that


The Bulfinch


Special tonic

We also tried a few other drinks, notably the Coconut Gingerbread Daiquiri, which i thoroughly enjoyed, tho a lil sweetish. The aroma is awesome – like freshly-baked coconut cookies. Erik explained that this is due to his homemade gingerbread syrup.

Gosh. I can still smell it in my head.

Wild colour

Wild colour!

It’s made with Montanya rum (platino), coconut water, lime and dragonfruit juice.

I also had a Lynchburg Lemonade that was made with Bully Boy Straight Whiskey, a three-grain spirit. Unlike bourbon, it’s not too woody, and made for a perfect Lynchburg for me.

Specialty cocktails cost about 40.

The bar is set-up in a printing press, and some old presses decor the spot. Seats are basic and informal, and tunes are decent, with some funk goin on at times. Food? Haha. No such thing.



Basic but cool

There's also Bakon Vodka; unfortunately no real bacon were killed to make this

There’s also Bakon Vodka; unfortunately no real bacon were killed to make this

If you’re confused on which bottle to go for, there’s a flight – 3 samples for $35.

Being a pop-up bar in a temp location, 44 wont be there forever, with plans to end in March, unless plans change. It opens Wed-Sat from 6pm. Might hit it again this Friday!

Will try to drive this thing out after a few drinks


Brain damage: 8/10


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Thirsty Blogger (and toddy) on Nat Geo

January 7th, 2015 · ~ Blog-related ~, ~ Booze news / new products ~, ~ Personalities / Mixologists / Them experts ~, ~ Toddy shacks ~

Yea boy. American-produced TV drinking show CHUG was in Malaysia some time back to check out our local brew and drinking culture. The Thirsty Blogger was contacted to show ‘em a thing or two about drinking, so i took them for toddy! Posted about it here.

Anyway, the show premiered in the US on Nat Geo recently, and the first show was on Malaysia. The series is hosted by established alco Zane Lamprey, who travels around the world drinking local style for CHUG.

Son of bitch has a great job.

There are some production shots here. Zane tried to teach me a game called The Good Burp. I was evidently unimpressed.

Monkeying around

Dont let the booze fall now

Not sure if will it air on Nat Geo here as well. Either way we had a good time drinking fresh, healthy coconut beverages!


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Strongbow’s new variants

December 1st, 2014 · ~ Booze news / new products ~

The world’s number one cider Strongbow has just released three interesting varieties, which are in addition to the regular Strongbow cider.

The party to launch the trio was awesome, and took place at a really cool spot in an industrial park in PJ. The snacks were great too.

Haircut not included

Head trim not included

A chilled-out upper deck

A chilled-out upper deck

Gave this section a miss

Gave this station a miss, looked interesting tho



The outdoor

The outdoor

GAB and Strongbow launched three new flavours for our market – Elderflower (ABV 4.5%), Honey (5%) and Gold (5%).

Triple play

Triple play

Ta daa!

Ta daa!

The Honey, tho having the aroma of honey was surprisingly not as sweet as expected, and still crisp, while the Elderflower is obviously floral on the nose, as well as flavour, but the infusion of lime balances it out. The Strongbow Gold i thought was tangy and crisp, with a more flavoursome, bittersweet finish.

The drinks were served over ice, probably to make it more refreshing and less sweet.

It was an interesting launch. There was live music as well as FOUR bars.

Outdoor bar

Outdoor bar

Elderflower bar

Elderflower bar

The Honey bar

The Honey bar

Strongbow has been making ciders a little longer than me and Baad Apples – 125 years, and is the world-leader. The new ciders will be available on and off-trade from today (Dec 1).

Drink your apples.


Brain damage: 8/10

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