Every year, bartenders all around Malaysia come together to compete in the yearly La Maison Cointreau competition to see who will reign victorious. Last year saw Justin Tay of Cabinet 8 by JWC in Johor Bahru clinching the win but this year, we have a new winner. Joe Naik of Haiiro Usagi from Johor Bahru took home the gold at the La Maison Cointreau 2019 Malaysia finals.
He will go on to represent Malaysia in the regional La Maison Cointreau finals in Bangkok, Thailand. Runner-ups Justin Ho from The Pawn Room, as well as Koh Yung Shen from Backdoor Bodega in Penang, proved to be worthy adversaries. Naik also happened to be the second runner-up at last year’s finals.
As with every year, the annual competition took place over two days with two themed challenges. The first was held at Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara and the finale was held at the Purple Cane Enterprise Jalan Sultan branch.
The theme of this year incorporated the use of The Botanist gin as well as traditional Chinese tea leaves, which meant more room for creativity. The winning cocktail from Naik comprises infused Chinese tea leaves with The Botanist gin, giving it a wider depth of flavours in the cocktail.
Of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the help of East Imperial, who provided ample supply of tonics, soda waters, and various other mixers needed to create the cocktails.
Joe said, “I am very delighted to have been in this amazing competition with all these wonderful bartenders that came from all across Malaysia. They were extremely creative and innovative in creating their unique cocktails during the competition and I learnt a lot from my fellow competitors. I am very thankful to the judges for naming me as the winner and I hope that I will do Malaysia proud in the International Finals next month!”