The best Asian-inspired cocktails in KL

The hottest trend in cocktails right now? The use of local and Asian ingredients in the mix. And these cocktails here do it best.
By Time Out KL editors |
Advertising

The cocktail scene in KL has finally come into its own. Increasingly, bartenders are featuring and experimenting with local ingredients in their drinks, giving our local cocktail scene a unique identity. So expect some of the most refreshing and inventive cocktails with ingredients such as pranic juice, nangka (or jackfruit), tuak (rice wine), bunga kantan and more.

The Flowerpecker
Photo: John Lim
Bars and pubs

Pranic West Side at The Flowerpecker

icon-location-pin Bangsar

If you like The Ganga Café’s pranic juice, the Pranic West Side is right up your alley. There’s a lot going on here for one little drink: the pranic juice – already rich with spices and herbs like cumin, cardamom, mint, lime and pepper – is boosted with a shot of The Botanist gin and topped up with soda water. It’s all at once an easygoing, deceptively strong and complex drink that the bartender describes as an ‘Asian-style’ mojito.

RM25

Guinness Tarik at The Attic Bar
Photo: The Attic Bar
Bars and pubs

Guinness Tarik at The Attic

icon-location-pin Petaling Street

Taking their inspiration from two Malaysian favourite drinks – teh tarik and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout – The Attic Bar has come up with a warm antidote after a long day. Made with one and a half shots of dark rum, an equal amount of condensed milk, a pinch of nutmeg and topped up with a can of Guinness, the drink is a malty, bittersweet version of teh tarik that packs a punch.

RM35

Advertising
Brandy & Air Mata Kuching at Coley
Photo: John Lim
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Brandy & Air Mata Kuching at Coley

icon-location-pin Bangsar

One favourite of ours from Coley’s Koktel list is the Brandy & Air Mata Kuching. It doesn’t take a genius to see how these two components work to complement each other – the Spanish Torres 10 brandy (which is rich with vanilla, toffee, cinnamon and sherry flavours) is a great match for the cooling and mildly air mata kucing, a sweet winter melon and longan-based drink. This drink goes down a little too easy, especially after a hot day.  

RM25nett

Bunga Kantan and Pumpkin at Botak Liquor
Photo: John Lim
Bars and pubs

Bunga Kantan and Pumpkin at Botak Liquor

icon-location-pin Petaling Street

If there was a prize for the most exotic cocktail combination of the year, Botak Liquor’s Bunga Kantan and Pumpkin cocktail would be up there. It’s a spicy cocktail that has light and sparkling notes of homemade bunga kantan soda, calamansi and a base of pumpkin-seed infused vodka. Served in a wine glass and garnished with a bud of the torch ginger flower, this translucent drink is reminiscent of an almost tangy white wine. Flavour-wise, it’s a restrained blend of spices and bubbly soda that goes down smoothly and even cleanses the palate.

RM36+

Advertising
Mantra
Photo: Daniel Chan
Bars and pubs

Bentong Buck at Mantra

icon-location-pin Bangsar

Bentong Buck – Mantra’s take on Moscow Mule – is made with Russian Standard Vodka and fresh key lime, shaken with homemade Bentong ginger ale. It’s sweet, slightly spicy, and served on the rocks.
RM30++

Nobu
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Japanese

Nobu Shochu Dragon at Nobu

icon-location-pin KL City Centre

Muddled with fresh dragon fruit, Nobu shochu, elderflower and lemon, this light and fresh cocktail is slushy-like, perfect if you want something to bite into in your cocktail. The fact that it’s both fruity and floral makes it dangerously easy to drink.
RM47

Advertising
Opium
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Fusion

Consort Yang at Opium KL

icon-location-pin Bukit Bintang

A China-themed bar must have a cocktail named after the most famous concubine in Chinese history – except this one has a sweet ending. Consort Yang is a fragrant, fruity nod to China’s lychee cultivation; the gin-based drink stars many an Asian ingredient, including bunga kantan, kaffir lime leaves, lemon juice and lychee.
RM43

Locker & Loft
Photo: Daniel Chan
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Jacked-Up at Locker & Loft

icon-location-pin Damansara

Who would’ve thought nangka and gin would work so well together? The cocktail – which also gets a flavour boost from mustard, Cointreau, lemon and honey – is sweet, salty and slightly creamy. Plus, the use of thyme gives the drink a mildly herbaceous overtone.
RM30

Cool down with coconut instead

Advertising