Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Real Absinthe comes to Asia

Malaysia, truly Asia. I have to admit to a soft spot for Malaysia, having lived there, as an "orang putih*" from 1999 to 2002. It's tropical, but not impossibly so. The people I worked with then were straightforward, very hard-working, and fun to be with. The food was amazing (if sometimes a little too hot for me) and the shopping was excellent value. Finally my second daughter was born there and so boasts a Malaysian birth certificate that we can't decipher. So when I had the opportunity to start selling both La Clandestine and Angélique absinthes in Malaysia, I was thrilled.

The official launch was held at Werners in Bukit Bintang at the end of March 2009 (when, through bad planning, I was in Los Angeles), and has already been covered by a photographer's blog, by a local liquor blogger, and by another local blog. The photographer has posted more photos on their main site: click on Events, then on TWE Absinthe Launching to see all 86 photos from the launch party.

A short selection follows. The guests and media gathered at the bar to witness the preparation of the Absinthe cocktails:

The Fairy Station, where traditional methods and shooters are shown, with Absinthe Fountain and Spoon:

Local mixologist, Ben Ng, demonstrating traditonal preparation methods:

Thanks, Ben!

Two local mixologists shaking up the absinthe cocktails:

and the traditional French method with sugar cube over Absinthe spoon:

A big thank you to Vincent and Michelle of TWE for organising this event: prospects look great.

This article is headed "Real Absinthe comes to Asia." But isn't real absinthe already in Asia? There is a small selection of good absinthes, including both La Clandestine and the Jades, in Japan.

There are other cheaper absinthes/absinths in Asia: La Fée has made it to Thailand (primarily the Bohemian version) and Singapore. Sebor has apparently been shipped to China and Fruko is in Taiwan. But to date, none of them seems to have focused on traditional consumption methods which will, in my opinion, be important to create a long-term sustainable business.

I like the fact that while absinthe flaming was apparently allowed at the event, Ben and the Malaysia team actively promoted traditional consumption methods. I already wrote that I sometimes found the Malaysian food too hot, and I also prefer it if my absinthe is not served too hot! Durians are too "heaty;" absinthe, preferably with "sky juice" is "cooling!" Best - lah!

* For my readers outside Malaysia, you may wish to study Manglish to understand some of this article!


The Absinthe Review Network said...

La Clandestine is just taking over the world, eh?

Alan said...

Hi Ben, If only it was that simple ...