6 cocktails you can mix and shake at home, by Malaysian bartenders


  • Living
  • Saturday, 21 Mar 2020

Want to make your own cocktails while staying home during the MCO? Here are a few suggestions, courtesy of a few Malaysian bartenders.

With the movement control order being observed right now, all bars and pubs will be closed until March 31.

But fret not, if you absolutely need to have a cocktail during this period, you can always make your own.

As long as you have a base spirit (it can be whisky, brandy, rum, tequila, gin, vodka, or even wine) at home, feel free to experiment with making your own drinks.

This begs the question though – where do we start?

What drinks can we make at home that are simple, and also use ingredients and tools that can be found at home?

First of all, don’t worry about not having the proper ‘bar tools’ – as long as you have a kitchen, there are loads of items you can use to replace jiggers, shakers, muddlers, and other common bar tools.Ash recommends sticking to classic cocktails when making drinks at home.Ash recommends sticking to classic cocktails when making drinks at home.

An old takeaway coffee mug can double as a shaker, teaspoons and tablespoons can replace jiggers, a large cup can replace a stirring jar, and a chopstick can serve as a stirrer.

“If I were to make myself some cocktails at home, I would definitely stick to classics, ” says Arsenio ‘Ash’ Mariano Jr of Kuala Lumpur bar Sakura Den.

“If you have the ingredients to make them, you can make a Negroni, Old Fashioned or Manhattan. I prefer the more spirit-forward ones.

“For something more refreshing, you can make a Margarita, Mojito or Daiquiri, and if you’re more adventurous, a Moscow mule, cobblers or swizzles. All these use simple ingredients that can be sourced from local grocers. Buy some fresh produce and just experiment away and see what works.”

Here are some simple cocktail ideas that you can make at home, courtesy of a few Malaysian bartenders.

Simple tall drinks
Jordan Lim reckons the Rickey is awesome because of its versatility. Photo: Wholly SpiritsJordan Lim reckons the Rickey is awesome because of its versatility. Photo: Wholly Spirits

The simplest drinks to make at home, of course, are tall drinks like the Gin and Tonic and Whisky Highball, which just require a base spirit and a mixer (soda, tonic water, ginger beer, cola etc).

For rum drinks, there’s the Dark And Stormy, which is rum and ginger beer, or the Cuba Libre, which is rum and cola.

Vodka drinks are even easier to make, as vodkas are largely flavourless, and will go with any ingredients you use (I’d suggest a Screwdriver, which is orange juice and vodka).

Jordan Lim, retail manager and in-house bartender for craft spirits distributor Wholly Spirits, recommends an underrated classic tall drink, the Rickey, which he says is awesome for its versatility.

“You can use bourbon, gin or vodka for the base spirit – just add soda, some sugar syrup, which is easy to make at home, and lime wedges, ” he says.

Wholly Spirits recently launched an online store that also does deliveries to consumers in Peninsula Malaysia. For more information, follow Wholly Spirits on Facebook.

Homemade Whisky Sour

Mattman Joseph, head barman at The Sticky Wicket in Damansara Heights, has helpfully published several videos on how to make simple cocktails at home, and in them, he also uses tools and ingredients you can easily find at home.

“You can use a take-out coffee cup for a shaker, and a tablespoon for a measure, ” he said.

For his homemade whisky sour recipe, all you need is whisky (3-4 tablespoons), lemon juice (squeezed from half a lemon), sugar syrup (2 tablespoons) and one egg white. Put all the ingredients into the shaker and shake well with ice. Strain into a glass, and add two dashes of Angostura bitters (optional).

For more of Joseph's drink tutorials, follow The Sticky Wicket on Instagram or Facebook.

.. Looking for a pick-me-up while staying quarantined at home? Here’s @mattmanv3 from @thestickywicketkl showing you how to make our signature Whisky Sour using things you can find in your kitchen !.. Things you need: Shaker - a takeaway coffee cup Measuring spoon - a tablespoon Ingredients: 3-4 tbsp of Whisky 1/2 Lemon squeezed 2 tbsp Sugar Syrup - 1 part sugar to 1 part water (Dissolve 1kg of sugar to 1 litre of water) 1 Egg white 2 dashes of Angostura bitters (Optional) Ice.. Method: Combine all ingredients into the takeaway coffee cup, fill it with ice and shake. Pour the shaken mix into a glass and enjoy!.. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Cocktails At Home!.. Remember, Stay Safe and Stay Healthy! #TheStickyWicket #CocktailsAtHome #Quarantined #covid_19 #lockdownmalaysia #WhiskySour #cocktails

A post shared by The Sticky Wicket KL (@thestickywicketkl) on Mar 19,2020 at 11:11pm PDT

Loco’s Bees Knees

The Bees Knees is a classic cocktail that kept coming up when I spoke to the bartenders, and it’s not hard to see why. All it needs is gin, honey and lemon juice.

At Coley Cocktail Bar, however, they do things a little differently, and usually add a local twist to their drinks. Think coconut water with gin, ‘mata kucing’ (longan) with brandy you get the idea.

Alvin “Loco” Nimal George, head barman of Coley, suggests a twist on Bees Knees – take out the lemon juice, and replace it with calamansi lime juice instead.

To make his version of the Bees Knees, put one part gin, one part calamansi juice, one tablespoon honey, blend it all together with a blender, and pour it into a glass over ice.

Coley Cocktail Bar is currently working on a delivery system to bring its cocktails to your home. For updates, follow Coley on Facebook.

Loco's Bee's Knees uses calamansi juice instead of lemon. Photo: The Bar AwardsLoco's Bee's Knees uses calamansi juice instead of lemon. Photo: The Bar Awards

Whisky Remedy
Hans' cocktail contains honey, lemon and whisky. Photo: Three X CoHans' cocktail contains honey, lemon and whisky. Photo: Three X Co

“During this period, we need to take care of our health, ” says David Hans, head bartender of Bangsar bar Three X Co, whose cocktail, Whisky Remedy, contains honey and lemon (“They’ve got lots of vitamins”), and whisky, which “makes it a delicious cocktail”.

To make, pour 45ml whisky, 20ml honey and 20ml lemon juice into a glass, stir well and add ice. Top up the drink with water or soda, and garnish it with a lemon peel and clove (optional).

Three X Co has also created a special Gin Care Package that gin-lovers can pickup or have delivered to them, which consists of a bottle of gin, five bottles of premium tonic and garnish. For more information, visit Three X Co on Facebook.

Shortcut Sangria

Shawn Chong of Omakase + Appreciate (which is sadly, going to be permanently closed soon), served up this drink, which he says is “for people who usually have breakfast and would have some kind of jam at home”.

“Jam works for Sangrias. Most people should also have oranges around so would be easy for Sangrias. Also, it’s simple to make as an individual glass or in a big batch (multiply the recipe and blend), ” he added.

To make his Shortcut Sangria, mix one tablespoon of strawberry jam, 45ml fresh orange juice.

Mix that with 90ml red wine, and 30ml gin or brandy in a blender, blend till smooth and serve over ice.

Alternatively, you can also put those ingredients into a mason jar or air-tight container, add ice, and shake for 10 seconds, and empty into a glass.

Also read: Omakase + Appreciate, once one of Asia's Top 10 bars, to shut its doors for good

Quanrantea Time

Chong also came up with this drink, which has common ingredients available in most households and essentially a glorified Iced Lemon Tea.

Just break one cinnamon stick, crack some cardamom pods and put into a mug. Add two, a teabag of English Breakfast Tea, and hot water and allow to brew for five minutes.

After that, strain the tea into a tall glass, add two tablespoons of brown sugar (palm sugar or honey works as well), and stir it until the sugar is dissolved.

Finally, fill the glass full of ice, add 10ml lemon or orange juice, and 30ml whisky. Stir well until the glass is fully chilled, and enjoy!

Chong also runs also runs Bar Class Academy, which runs courses on bartending and making drinks for both beginners and professionals, For more information, visit Bar Class Academy on Facebook.


Michael Cheang is doing a Daily MCO Drink challenge where he makes a different drink every day while staying home during the MCO. Join him on the Tipsy-Turvy Instagram page (@MyTipsyTurvy) or with the hashtag #DailyMCOdrink. You can also follow him on the Tipsy-Turvy Facebook page (fb.com/MyTipsyTurvy) or Twitter (@MichaelCheang).

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