There was a time when Gin was but the common man's drink, but in colonial Malaya, a gin and tonic, probably Gordon's or Beefeater was sipped by the British on a hot summer's day. Wait, it's summer all year round here in balmy Malaya.
In fact, gin had a whole monologue dedicated to it in the quintessential movie about the English, MY FAIR LADY. Eliza Doolittle has this to say:
"My aunt died of influenza - so they said, but it's my belief they done the old woman in...Yes, Lord love you. Why should she die of influenza when she come through diptheria right enough the year before? Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead, but my father, he kept ladling gin down her throat...Then she come to so sudden she bit the bowl off the spoon...Now what call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of influenza? And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it, and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in...Them she lived with would have killed her for a hat pin, let alone a hat...Gin was mother's milk to her. Besides, he'd poured so much down his own throat, he knew the good of it...Drank! My word! Something chronic!"
But of course, Gin has since come a long way, and my goodness me, looking at the price of some of the gins, it's almost done ME in. Thankfully with the sprouting of gin bars all over town, (well, okay, perhaps SPROUTING is an exaggeration, I only know of three in KL), one can sample gins hitherto unknown and unreachable.
So where is this latest gin oasis?
“Gin is usually a staple in any bar but at MariGin, it is the star. It is a versatile and refreshing spirit that can be drunk straight up, in a simple mix, or added to other flavours in a cocktail,” said Cavaliere Modesto Marini, owner and founder of The Marini’s Group, at the bar’s opening party this evening.
“Its diversity and number of varieties ensures that it appeals to the different palates as well as provides new experiences, and that is what MariGin aims to provide – a gin drink for every occasion,” he added.
This of course has been made possible with the worldwide Gin Boom, even Australia is producing its own gin.
Currently there are 57 varieties of gin to choose from, and an IMPRESSIVE range of tonics, again, hitherto unknown, but who drinks Schweppes with a designer gin these days, right? No offence to Schweppes which has been like mother's milk to us older ones.
Mixologist, known as "Boy", concocted several rounds of locally inspired gin cocktails in a collection with interesting names such as MARI GIN LAH, for us to sample, and included the familiar curry flavours of lemon grass, kafir lime leaf, calamansi and sour plum, chrysanthemum aka kok fah,
Some look familiar, some not so...
The next round of more exotic cocktails, including the GONGXIFACAI, the JUNGLE GIN, the GIN CARTEL...
A sample of their menu...
MariGin Gin Bar is located at One KL, Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. It is open from 5.00pm to 1.00am from Monday to Saturday, where happy hours run from 5.00pm to 9.00pm. To make a reservation, please call +603 2386 6030 or email email@example.com.