Here, there, everywhere…

Very good day to all of you! I hope everyone had a good 1st half of 2008. Well if you haven’t… you’ve got 6 more months to make it happen…how time flies?! It’s has been an inspiring and challenging 6 months for myself. It was all good and enjoyable with several ‘downtime’…but I guess that’s what makes it all worth while. I’ve been out and about several places since the last 6 months, and it has been interesting indeed…The first 3 and half months of the year was pretty much spent running the consultancy for Barworks at TTDI Plaza as usual with a week long holiday for the Chinese Lunar New Year in February.

Malaysia’s drinks industry has seen a steady introduction of new premium brands/products since early this year. Don Julio and Patron landed into Malaysia shores sparking an interest in tequila among consumers and bartenders. However there’s ample of room for education to be done on appreciating exquisite tequila. In KL, it’s still considered a Saturday night drink that sends you to oblivion….and most would insist on having them with a salt rimmed glass and a lemon wedge. Apart from tequila, several single malt scotches have also been introduced into the country to fuel it’s craving for premium single malts. It’ll be interesting to see how the likes of Glenkichie, Caol Ila and Singleton will influence this Macallan dominated market. Other labels that has recently landed onto Malaysian shores are Tanqueray 10, Molinari Sambuca, 42 Below Kiwi Fruit and Bulleit Bourbon.

Across to neighbouring Singapore, the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) trade show took off in April. It is a bi-annual event showcasing F&B related products/equipments ranging from machinery, Point of Sale System, food products and Wines. It was an interesting visit as one could see that how Singapore has flourished to be a melting pot of different cultures. This in turn has encouraged new and interesting products to make its way into Singapore. Personally, I was happy and glad to see that newly arrive products such as Patron, Pyrat Rum, Jean XO Vodka, Agwa (Bolivian Coca Leaf Liqueur) and Sagatiba were being distributed in Singapore by a passionate bunch from Prestige Consultants. I’ve also the opportunity to meet Patrick Maguire, the man behind Tasmania’s Sullivans Cove whisky. A passionate and soft spoken man, Patrick explained with great detail on the whisky and the ideas behind it all. I was introduced to the Sullivans Cove Bourbon Finish and Sullivans Cove Port Finish. Upon the first sip, the liquid unfolds into a symphony of taste. Both being well balanced with distinctive complexity. However, my verdict would be the Port Finish. It’s probably one of the best whisky I’ve had thus far. No wonder it’s being given top marks by world reknown whisky gurus such as Jim Murray and Gregorie Sarafian. Other interesting products featured that’s worth mentioning were Monin’s newly developed Cucumber and Spicy Mango syrups, Boiron‘s fresh pomegranate extract (this one’s good as it tasted really fresh and natural) and PFAU Schnapps from Austria. Despite making my way back to the hotel room at 4.30am everynight…it was great to have spent time soaking up what Singapore has to offer and will definitely look forward to spending time there soon again.

Next stop Moscow…the city where vodka flows freely and home to many beautiful women. I didn’t know what to expect when I was sent to conduct training and demo sessions in Moscow for Ravifruit as it was my first time. I arrived to a sunny Moscow (well I heard for the past three days before my arrival, the city was wet and some parts we flooded..so I was indeed very lucky) and was pretty amazed with what the city has to offer. It was a place of art, culture and true beauty. Dish the stereotype that Russia is of Communist ideology and that nothing has changed much…because you’ll be in for a shock! Modernisation is everywhere…People are very friendly once you get to know them better and try to soak in on their culture. It’s a great place to be. Nightclubs are evident everywhere and many operate till wee hours in the morning. The first trainings was carried out at The Academia, where bartenders and barista turned up to a culinary academy to gather and share our thoughts on mixology and Ravifruit.. accompanied by a decent dose of alcohol. I’ve also manage to share some ideas with the ladies at CoffeeMania. I must say that this guys and gals behind Coffee Mania are amazing! They’ve got a three room beverage R&D facility that is aimed at developing new concepts and improving on quality. The two key figures behind Coffee Mania’s successful beverage concept were Gleb and Irina (one of the world award winning baristas that has and is still competiting actively in the WBC). Check out what they’ve got to offer on their beverage menu and also particularly their range of coffee. It was truly amazing to see how so much passion is poured into Coffee Mania. They also develop their own syrups and sauces that’s being used in the drinks. I’ve the opportunity to sample their homemade butterscotch sauce and it was heaven. This place is a must if you’re in Moscow.

Malina (meaning Raspberry in Russian) is a chain of exquisite and trendy outlets positioned all over Moscow with great food and a very interesting Taragon Lemonades. Big thanks to Sergey and Dima for their hospitality and support to our efforts in Moscow. We did pay a visit to Version 1 as well…a cocktail bar/club with an interesting cocktail list and they actually hand purchase Peychaud Bitters to be used in their bar. Cool place with that ‘underground’ feel. This trip was all made worthwhile with the team of the people from Bona Company, the appointed distributor of Ravifruit in Russia. Thanks to Dmitri for his support and arrangements in Moscow…and also for the following records that I’ve broken:

MOST VODKA CONSUMED IN A NIGHT

MOST VODKA CONSUMED IN A WEEK

MOST RUSSIAN STANDARD CONSUMED IN A WEEK

MOST DAMAGE DONE TO MY LIVER IN A WEEK

There’s more to write, but this damn thread is getting too long to be read..so lets just keep it this way for now!

Will definitely look forward to Moscow again…

Till then guys…

Cheers!

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2 Comments on “Here, there, everywhere…”

  1. amanda says:

    no post is too long! keep on sharing Ben, keep the inspiration flowing and creativity rolling!

  2. Barman Ben says:

    thanks amanda. Glad that you’ve enjoyed it.


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