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Drinks What Defines A Japanese Cocktail Bar? Sam Kinugawa Of Bar Shake Spills The Tea

What Defines A Japanese Cocktail Bar? Sam Kinugawa Of Bar Shake Spills The Tea

What Defines A Japanese Cocktail Bar? Sam Kinugawa Of Bar Shake Spills The Tea
By Samantha Lim
By Samantha Lim
May 08, 2020
The slightly solemn, bespectacled bartender behind Bar Shake yearns for the day bars will finally be allowed to seat customers again. In the meantime, he tells us about Bar Shake's specialities—umami Bloody Marys & refreshing Mangosteen Saketinis, anyone?—and tempts us with cocktail delivery options.

Bar Shake’s tagline—KL's most authentic Japanese cocktail bar— is a bold claim! What defines a ‘Japanese cocktail bar’?

Japanese bartending occurs at a very slow pace, which is why the space is never meant to fit more than 20 to 30 people. Most classic Japanese cocktail bars offer seated service only, and the ritual is very intimate and personal with pared down theatrics. The shaking, stirring and presentation all have a very restrained elegance. Our menu combines classic cocktail recipes with Asian and local accents, presented with Japanese flair, for that bit of familiarity.

Bar Shake echoes that of a quiet watering hole in Tokyo, with an obscure entrance, dimly lit wooden counters and shelves

Sam Kinugawa, head bartender at Bar Shake.
Sam Kinugawa, head bartender at Bar Shake.

Did you have to tweak the cocktails on Bar Shake’s MCO menu for delivery? Or are the proportions of the ingredients the same when served onsite?

We kept the ingredients, the proportions as well as the process. All cocktails are still made-to-order, with fresh juice squeezed just before the cocktails are being picked up or delivered.

The Bar Shake experience still remains the same, even though you’re drinking from home!

What ingredients go into the Fresh Fruit Saketini?

One hundred per cent fresh fruit and sake. We’re known for our Mangosteen Saketini but we’ve only had White Grape Saketini for the last few weeks. A lot of our regulars have been asking if we’ll be launching the Mangosteen Saketini, and the good news is, we might be able to get our hands on some mangosteens soon, so stay tuned!

Clear distilled cocktails seem to be all the rage in KL. Tell us about your Clear Bloody Mary.

The Clear Bloody Mary is one of our signatures and favourites. I blend fresh tomatoes (make sure they’re juicy and plump!) before cooking them with basil leaves and clams (for added umami). This mix is then clarified into a colourless solution.

Ice makes a cocktail just as much as its ingredients, and tipplers speak highly of Bar Shake's ice.

We only use clear ice at Bar Shake. Besides aesthetics, clear ice blocks make for a different experience as it melts slower, retaining coldness. This leads to a gradual dilution of the drink.

Have you experimented with the quarantini trend while practising self-isolation?

My version of a quarantini is a saketini as it’s very pleasing to the palate and easy to drink throughout the day without getting too drunk. Besides fresh fruit saketinis, I've dabbled in a Sakura Saketini that celebrates the spring season — it’s on our takeaway cocktails menu.

What is the first thing you want to do when this MCO is lifted?

The business of bartending is all about our interaction with customers. I can’t wait to make cocktails and drink with our patrons again.

Happy Hour Deals

Every Monday through Thursday from 2 - 6PM, take 15% off your total bill. *Cannot be paired with free delivery promotion.

To Order

WhatsApp 016-610 3809.

Bar Shake | Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur | 03-2181 1531 | drink@bar-shake.com

  • Photography Bar Shake

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Drinks bar shake sam kinugawa platinum park cocktails

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