44 Pops Up again

Pop-up bar 44 has reappeared, after going under for a coupla months. It first appeared at APW in Bangsar, a warehouse joint. However, it’s got a different set-up and look now. While the first one had a really interesting industrial theme, this one has more of a modern and minimalist look.

44 now hides in a downtown spot at The Row, and the lifespan this time is up to December.

Like certain newer bars now, 44 is now upstairs

Like certain newer bars now, 44 is now stashed  upstairs

The joint had a guest bartender, Yishu, from Jigger & Pony for a visit. I had the opportunity to try some of the cocktails he made.

Starting with the Sakura Sakura, which was a real treat for a first drink. I should have saved it for last. It was like a fruity dessert. Delicious, finely-balanced, tho i expected it to be too sweet.

But the ingredients are surprisingly complex – Owney’s rum, peach liqueur, sake, lemon juice, sakura syrup and egg white.

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Next was the Godfather – Scotch & amaretto. Nutty, with some chocolate goodness. It had a sweetness, but it was a good kinda sweetness. Like the natural flavours u’d find in a fruit. That’s probably courtesy of  the amaretto, which is almond liqueur. Such a simple but amazing drink.

Comes with a piece of flamed white chocolate.

Uncomplicated like a guy

Uncomplicated like a guy

And then there was fire. Flames and alcohol tends to get my attention. Mai Tai ala Sugarhall. It was Bacardi 151 (a 75.5% rum) that provided the burn. Yishu sprinkled some grounded spices to add some fireworks.

In it is cachaca, rum, orgeat syrup, spiced apricot syrup, lime juice.  It’s spicy-sweet, with some cinnamon coming thru but not dominating the show.

We also had a tequila cocktail. Haha.

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Parakeet

The lychee in this drink hits your palate off the bat. So i expected sweet shit, but no. It was fruity, but the lychee flavour flattens out quick, and surprisingly, you dont taste or smell any tequila. Fruity. It’s called Newton Flash.

We also tried some craft spirits – gins and American whiskies.

What stood out was a gin called New Deal – real strong berry nose, berry taste, but with quite a zing at the end.

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Also another cool one was Green Hook. Distinctly floral.

But by then, my taste buds were too busy partying to provide anymore feedback.

44 also ages pre-mixed, simple and classic cocktails, like Negroni. They are on display at the bar, in cool bottles, and aged for a few weeks, with oak added in.

The regular menu

The regular menu

To find 44, head to The Row (Jln Doraisamy, KL), and go behind Mojo.

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Just add ice..

Brain damage: 8/10

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Fifty Six Degrees whisky

KL was graced with a new Scotch whisky brand recently when Fifty Six Degrees launched at the supercool spot, M8.

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56 Degrees is a blended whisky, consisting of single malts and a single-grain whisky, aged in American bourbon oak casks and finished in sherry casks.

56 degrees is the latitude of the Scottish Highlands.

A single grain whisky is made in a single distillery, from unmalted grains – most often barley, corn or wheat. (If produced with malted grain, the end product is a single malt.)

Boy of M8 gettin d party started

Boy of M8 gettin d party started

It describes itself as a ‘’smooth and rich new-age blend’’. Well, it’s smooth alright. Extremely smooth, easy-drinking beverage. Guests enjoyed many glasses and it went down easy. In that sense, it’s a good whisky for any occasion, breakfast included.

Very interesting.

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Very smooth

The whisky is produced by 56 Degrees Marketing Sdn Bhd and Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd, a Scotch producer which also does whiskies like Glengoyne, Isle of Skye and Tamdhu.

“The best feature of 56 Degrees is that it can appeal to both whisky aficionados and novices’’- Kristine Goh, CEO of 56 Degrees Marketing. Yup, it probably can.

Launched!

Launched!

Chillin with a guy in a kilt

Chillin with a guy in a fancy skirt

This new blend has a balance of citrus with a malty heart, plus a fresh, creamy palate. Can be enjoyed on the rocks. It’s actually a Highland whiskey, blended with the Asian palate in mind.

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The awesome party went on till late, as we moved from the restaurant to the lounge

You can find this whisky at The Roulette Restaurant Bar, Naughty Nuri’s, Piggy Tail, Sid’s Pub, Chapter One Bar & Bistro, Hour Place Restaurant, Eight Gourmets Gala (EGG), and Castell Gastrobar.

 

Brain damage: 8.5/10

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300 years of Martell

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.

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A special edition

Mine! (x2)

Mine! (x2)

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

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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

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.

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Some colour to that

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The Bulfinch

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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.

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Basic

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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