The Star Factor Showdown

Heineken and GAB Professional Solution (GABPS) held this competition recently that picked the cream of Malaysian bartenders to select one that will compete in the Heineken Global Bartender Finals 2015 in Holland.

In 2013 our guy got all the way to the finals but lost to a local. Damn.

The Heineken Star Pour is a five-step process of pouring the perfect Heineken draft.

The contenders

The contenders

It wasn’t merely pouring tho; some bartenders indulged in some booty-shakin before getting down to business. Hilarious! They selected their own tunes to work with.

The three winners from the six were judged to be Glen from Mish Mash (Penang), Sean from Muzuem (Setiawalk), and Spencer from Publique (Penang). They will now have  a 3-day boot camp to prep them for the Holland finals.

The 3 winners with Hans of GAB

The 3 winners with Hans of GAB

GABPS is the training division of GAB, catering specifically to trade partners and front-line staff.

As Jessie Chuah, marketing manager, explains, “The Heineken Global Bartender Final is also an avenue for local skilled industry professionals to open their world to new experiences whilst competing with some of the world’s finest bartenders.”

Set-up was different

Set-up was different

Earning his stripes

Earning his stripes

The three judges hard at work

The three judges hard at work

There was also a Consumer Star Factor Showdown. Guests were asked to pour a Heineken draft as we entered the event, and four of us were selected to face-off on stage.

Serious..

Serious..

After two rounds against two guys, i won. The prize? Attend the Heineken Global Bartender Finals in April. In…. Amsterdam!

I was there last more than a decade ago!

01 GABPS Academy NF 2015 - Consumer SF Showdown Winner

Damn. Cant wait.

 

Brain damage: 8/10

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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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Strongbow’s new variants

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

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeese

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeese

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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New booze gear from huggaz

huggaz drinking accessories has new designs for its Road Series beer can koozies.

The choices for drinkers has increased quite a bit, and some of my buddies are collecting all the designs.

The new designs use colour more significantly.

huggaz Rainbow

huggaz Rainbow

 

huggaz Beachy

huggaz Beachy

 

huggaz Sarong

huggaz Sarong

 

huggaz Nam

huggaz Nam

 

huggaz Army

huggaz Ranger

 

Smiley

Shady

 

...and Smiley

…and Smiley!

 

Mock - Copy

The Kinky Blue Fairy has customized huggaz koozies

 

As does a Mexican restaurant in Penang

As does this Mexican restaurant in Penang

 

huggaz can koozies, beer bottle koozies (stubby holders) and insulated wine carriers are available at the online store or at the outlets here.

huggaz will also be available (by one of the bars) at Urbanscapes 2014 on Dec 6 in Genting Highlands.

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