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9 Truly Malaysian Booze That’ll Lift Your Spirits!

9 Truly Malaysian Booze That’ll Lift Your Spirits!

Thirsty for adventure? Give these drinks a shot!

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Ready to embark on a boozy adventure? 

From tropical concoctions to traditional brews with a twist, these Malaysian drinks are sure to spin heads – yours too, probably.

So grab your glass, prepare to sip, and let’s dive into Malaysia’s best-kept liquid secrets!*

Tuak

This traditional rice wine is popular among the indigenous people of Borneo, especially the Iban and Bidayuh communities. It’s made from fermented glutinous rice, yeast, and sugar, offering a sweet and slightly tangy taste.

Ooh-Haa! Tuak is a KL-based Iban brewer that sells boutique Tuak. You can also get Tuak in many bars and speakeasies in KL. The Attic boasts a nice selection of tuak-infused cocktails. Indie live music lovers will know that Merdekarya has reasonably-priced Tuak bottles and cocktails. And if a Tuak tower is more your scene, JIU @ Publika is the place for you.

Samsu

Samsu Melaka at Sin Hiap Hin, Malacca’s oldest bar. (Credit: Yvonne Zhou via Facebook)

This traditional Chinese herbal spirit has gained popularity in Malaysia. It is typically distilled from rice or other grains and often infused with a variety of herbs and medicinal ingredients, giving it a distinctive taste and reputed health benefits.

Tay Miang Guan & Co., makers of Samsu Melaka. (Credit: Born In Malaysia via Facebook)

Tay Miang Guan & Co. is a wine and liquor merchant in Malacca, founded by a Chinese immigrant in 1908. For over 100 years, the store has preserved (and served) tradition, offering authentic vintage vibes that we absolutely love. They have a range of Samsu Melaka in unique flavours, give it a shot if you’d like!

Toddy

Chelliah Toppu in Banting. (Credit: Ramesh Erambamoorthy/Sai Hey Heng via Facebook)

Made from the sap of various species of palm trees, Toddy is a lightly fermented drink that offers a mildly sweet and tangy flavour. It is especially popular in Johor.

But, real ones will know the legendary Chelliah Toppu in Banting that sells Toddy in earthen pots paired with interesting dishes such as monitor lizard curry, or less adventurous options such as wild boar and mutton. 

If Banting is too far of a drive, you can also savour Toddy and black pepper wild boar in KL at a hidden gem called Bellamy Kitchen.

Langkau

Also known as Sarawakian moonshine, Langkau is a distilled version of Tuak. It has a higher alcohol content and a more robust, earthy, and strong flavour profile.

Honlynn Distillery is based in Kuching and they’ve been supplying Sangkoh Langkau to the peninsula since 2008. They use products sourced from indigenous farmers and brewing methods that span generations. Get a taste of this Langkau at Mai Bar, Aloft KL.

Nutmeg Liqueur

(Credit: Miriztika via Facebook)

This sweet, aromatic drink is made by infusing alcohol with nutmeg seeds and sometimes other spices such as cinnamon or cloves. It captures the distinctive warm, spicy, and slightly sweet flavour of nutmeg. 

Penang has a long history of nutmeg cultivation. They are a part of the local heritage especially in Balik Pulau, where durian often outshines nutmeg as the famous fruit. 

Miriztika (named after the scientific name of nutmeg, Myristica), is Malaysia’s first nutmeg liqueur made using nutmegs sourced from Penang. This humble beverage is set to make a debut in China to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China!

Durian Liqueur

(Credit: Luen Heng F&B (MY) via Facebook)

If wines are made out of grapes, then surely we can conjure a spirit out of durians, right?

Durian is an acquired taste. So don’t worry, if you’re Malaysian and you don’t like durian, we are not judging you (we are). The Mujestic Durian Liqueur is made of 100% pure Musang King flesh and contains an alcohol base value of 18%. Pick up a bottle here to share with your friends. Perfect for a fruity game of truth or dare, we think.

READ MORE: Durian Liqueur Incorporating The Most Expensive Durian Hybrid, The Musang King Durian

Fruit Wines

(Credit: ReissJaden via Facebook)

Durians aren’t the only local fruit that can make us tipsy. 

Malaysia’s home to a rich range of tropical fruits, but it’s a miracle that our climate allows for brewing of locally-produced wines. Marketed as premium fruit wines, ReissJaden Wine is owned by Dato’ Reiss Tiara, a 2nd-gen member of a wine-making family. 

Despite coffee liqueur being their bestseller, the company mainly produces and sells fruit wines made with local produce such as the Josephine pineapple from Johor and Bentong ginger. Buy them here and taste the diverse flavours of Malaysian fruits in a delightful fermented form!

Jungle Bird

The Jungle Bird at the JungleBird. (Credit: JungleBird KL)

It might surprise you to know that Jungle Bird isn’t just a bar in KL. The Jungle Bird is a cocktail that was first created in the 1970s at the Aviary Bar in Hilton KL. Crafted by then bar manager Jeffrey Ong, the Jungle Bird became a hit globally after it was featured in The New American Bartender’s Guide in the late 1980s.

It’s a complex cocktail that combines the richness of dark rum with the bitterness of Campari, balanced by the sweetness of pineapple juice and a touch of lime. Enjoy the Jungle Bird at most cocktail bars including, of course, the JungleBird KL.

Gin Pahit

Another Malaya-born cocktail that’s not just the name of a gin bar in KL, Gin Pahit originated during the British colonial era in Malaysia and was a favourite among British expats and officers. The original Gin Pahit is pretty straightforward – Gin and a few dashes of Angostura bitters

Gin Pahit appeared repeatedly in the works of British writer W. Somerset Maugham, who captured the essence of the British colonial era in Malaysia. Today, Gin Pahit is one of the most-ordered cocktails at the Sling Bar in New York. Closer to home, Pahit KL serves delightful variations of this homegrown classic for you to try out. 

*Strictly for non-Muslims aged 21 and above. If you drink, don’t drive.


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