Malaysian Memories: Cocktails inspired by our childhood

Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Malaysia celebrates their Independence Day from the British on the 31st of August, and this year we take a look at some of the tastiest cocktails around Kuala Lumpur celebrating the Malaysian memory. Most of the cocktails on this list are here because of its impact it has on our memory as Malaysians, but this list is honestly not exhaustive as there are so many good ones we could not list them all.

Nasi | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought


Inspired by the Nasi Lemak
Vodka, chicken stock, lemon, sugar, egg whites.

The Nasi served at Bar Trigona is an homage to Malaysia’s national dish, the Nasi Lemak. Vodka is used to make the base via a rotavap’s distillation process made from coconut rice and sambal. However, the cocktail is not a simple food to drink interpretation that you would expect, and is actually quite readily drinkable. The taste of the sambal is not overpowering, and only really exists as an after taste, which is quite remarkable as an achievement itself. Definitely give it a try if you want to taste an actually decent Nasi Lemak cocktail.

Bar Trigona
Level 6,
Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur
145, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2382 8670

Spiked Bandung | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Spiked Bandung

Inspired by the Sirap Bandung
Gin, house made pandan infused rose cordial, egg whites, cream, lemon juice, soda water.

The Spiked Bandung is a take on the Malaysian classic the Syrup Bandung. Traditionally made from rose cordial and condensed milk, the hyper sweet drink is interpreted as a Ramos Gin Fizz, with the execution pretty impressive with the height of their froth. The drink leans towards more of a sour taste, but is still a great homage to this Malaysian favourite.

Pacific Standard Bar
Level 41,
Alila Bangsar,
58, Jalan Ang Seng,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2268 3820

Horchata Milo Dinosaur | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Milo Dino in Mexico

Inspired by the Milo Dinosaur
Tequila, Milo horchata, rice milk, pandan, cinnamon, palm sugar, condensed milk.

The Milo Dinosaur at Los Sombreros takes its name from no-other than one of Malaysia’s favourite drink growing up. The chocolate malt drink is no stranger to most living here, known for its malty rich flavour, and the cocktail version of this blends a horchata, also a Mexican childhood drink, which is made from rice milk, tequila with heaps and heaps of milo. The drink is a good nod to the Malaysian nostalgia of primary school days chasing after the milo trucks.

Los Sombreros
10M, Jalan SS 21/58,
Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya,
+6012 302 6284

Tau Fu Fah Rum | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Tau Fu Fah Rum

Inspired by the Tau Fu Fah
Rum, tofu, sugar, ginger syrup.

The tau fu fah 豆腐花 is a dish of Chinese origin, and is prevalently eaten amongst the Chinese communities, specifically Cantonese. Although made from simple ingredients, the one at Soma is pretty great in terms of balance and flavour. The tofu custard is mildly sweet and the ginger syrup giving it a slight bite with the rum giving it a soft punch. Definitely re-orderable. Do ask first as they might not have it every night, so if you’re one of the lucky ones at the right time you’d get your just desserts.

Soma Cocktail Bar
145A, Jalan Aminuddin Baki,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
+6011 3669 0879

Leng Mong Teh Peng | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Leng Mong Teh Peng

Inspired by the Teh O’ Ais Limau
Lihing, lemon, tea.

The Leng Mong The Peng 柠檬茶冰 is an iced lemon tea that many Malaysians grew up on, but what makes it Malaysian is the use of the calamansi. This version however, is a Bornean inspired concoction using the Lihing, a rice wine from Sabah. The result is one of the best blended flavours from the mildly funky and sweet lihing with the sourness from the lemon and tea. A brilliant combination that you will likely have more than one.

Borneo Bangsar
13, Jalan Telawi 3,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
+6010 250 5151

Nyonya Business | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Nyonya Business

Inspired by the Rojak
Rum, orgeat, cucumber and chilli shrub, asam boi dustings.

The Nyonya Business is more than a clever play on a pun, but a very complex sweet and savoury cocktail. The rum based drink has all the elements of a fruit rojak, with the flavours from the orgeat mimicking actual rojak sauce. The cucumber and chilli shrub add that distinct cool and spicy flavour, really making this one of Junglebird’s best yet. But watch out, this drink is more potent than you think, although you’d never be able to tell by tasting it.

15M, Jalan Medan Setia 1,
Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2011 5715

MY Cendol | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

MY Cendol

Inspired by the Cendol
Whiskey, cream, evaporated milk, cendol, red bean, sweet corn.

The cocktail is inspired by one of the Malaysia’s favourite desserts… the cendol. This cocktail is made with whiskey as its base, and topped with evaporated milk and cream. The drink has all the trimmings of the cendol, giving you a boozy dessert that will make you forget you’re eating than drinking.

Marini’s on 57
Level 57, Menara 3 Petronas,
Persiaran KLCC,
50088 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2386 6030

Teh Tarik | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Teh Tarik

Inspired by the Teh Tarik
Whiskey, hot tea, evaporated milk.

The Teh Tarik is possibly the most iconic of Malaysian drinks, with means pulled tea. This cocktail is made quite simply from whiskey, hot tea and evaporated milk which gives it that high layer of foam. It also happens to be the only hot cocktail on the menu. Definitely feels like a great drink to kick back and relax to with its heavy pour and tea flavour.

WET Deck
W Kuala Lumpur,
121, Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2786 8888

Eastern Poem | Malaysian Memories | Food For Thought

Eastern Poem

Inspired by the Chrysanthemum & Ginseng Tea
Chysenthemum infused gin, pei pa koa 枇杷膏, yuzu tonic water, ginseng rootlets.

This cocktail is a take on a traditional Chinese herbal tea 凉茶, consisting of chrysanthemum flowers boiled with the roots of the ginseng plant. This drink is believed to help cool a “heaty” body. The version at Three X Co also includes the pei pa koa cough syrup, but with a yuzu and gin twist giving it a nice bittersweet flavour. Definitely have one of these if you need to self-justify your drinking habits.

Level 3,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
+6019 336 6031

For some of our  favourite bars in Kuala Lumpur, see our Best Bars in Kuala Lumpur 2018.

Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic and drinks writer and is the editor of independent publication Food For Thought. He has been a freelance journalist for the 15 years and has previously worked as a lawyer and in digital marketing. He currently is the Principal Consultant of A Thought Full Consultancy, a food and beverage marketing consultancy.

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