Beach holiday, infused gins and flavour discovery
Photo: Surinder Virk

Beach holiday, infused gins and flavour discovery

Sunset, beaches, cocktails and blue sea, sceneries that resemble a holiday on an island with beautiful resorts and good company. It is especially attractive, when it is duty free.

Surinder Virk has been working in the Four Seasons Langkawi for five years. He returned to KL to be with his family when the pandemic hit.

Working in a bar where the edges are surrounded by the sea and the nearest entrance is a 2-minute buggy ride away, cocktails and sea breeze are your best friends. There’s where Surinder and his bartender colleagues created their gin infusions using uniquely Malaysian ingredients.

Missing the beaches

As lockdown continues, people haven’t been able to travel. Missing their beach holidays, previous hotel guests starting to request for the gin infusions through Surinder’s Instagram.

Although there were many variants in the gin infusion series in Langkawi, Surinder focuses only on three which flavours are more common to Malaysians’ palate: chrysanthemum, lavender and rose.

“I miss the Chinese tea shop in Pudu where I used to purchase all these dry ingredients from,” explained Surinder. As the bartender can speak Mandarin, he could tell the shop owner exactly what he needed.

Since lockdown, inter-district travel has made it impossible to visit the shop and Surinder is worried how this is affecting their business. “I hope they are still there when the economy is open up again,” continued Surinder.

Infused Gins

Different ingredients take different amount of time for the infusion, and rose takes the longest at 5 days and changes colour when tonic is poured; chrysanthemum and lavender overnight, both fragrant with subtle hue of yellow and purple respectively. Regardless of the time taken to make them, they are all priced the same at RM160/250ml. Returning the bottle also gives you a RM5 discount per bottle.


Flavour Discovery

Surinder has been working at Mizukami right before Malaysia’s third lockdown. Since the bar is unable to operate, he has been spending time reading up on flavours of herbs and spices. He finds an under appreciation of local flavours in cocktail making and want to do more in exploring this segment of the craft. The name of flavours can also be confusing when we use different terms from the West and most recorded materials are from there in English.

“We shouldn’t have to wait for our flavours to be discovered by culinary or bartenders from the west when we can find copious amounts of flavours at our own backyard,” he then shared examples like Native in Singapore that forage ingredients from all over the city and Thai bartenders use fish sauce in their drinks.

Find Surinder on Instagram (@the_thirsty_spirit) where you will see beach and sunset photos, and cocktail cartoons. Also, to order the gin infusions that come with mixers and garnishes. Enjoy 15% discount on first order.

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