Asia’s Best Gin Festival returns to KL in 2018

The East Imperial Gin Jubilee is returning to Kuala Lumpur for its third year of Gin & Tonic appreciation, education and revelry. With a slew of events scheduled from August 22 to 26, 2018’s festivities hopes to capitalise on the G&Ts popularity in the Malaysian capital, and enlist even more aficionados to its G&T-loving cause.

Given its growing affection for the drink, Kuala Lumpur will be the first city in the region to kick off the festival in Asia this year. “Gin & Tonics are becoming increasingly popular in Malaysia, where the weather is summer all year round. The drink’s approachability has given KL-ites a whole new outlook on the cocktail scene and cocktail culture,” says Shawn Samuel, CEO of the Gin Jubilee’s local organiser, Wholly Spirits. “The Gin Jubilee will build on the G&T’s popularity here by exposing drinkers to many trending, as well as new gin brands from around the world, and at the same time, educated consumers on how a great mixer like East Imperial’s range of superior tonic waters can enhance the drinking experience.”

The Best Gin & Tonic in Kuala Lumpur Competition

The Gin Jubilee aims to do just that with more masterclasses, sipping events and another new menu of creative G&T creations to taste around town. With 20 bars on this year’s roster, venues and bar stars from the likes of Bar Trigona at the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, Three x Co, Coley and Pacific Standard Bar at the Alila Bangsar will be presenting cocktails made with this year’s sponsor gin brands and East Imperial’s range of tonic waters to wow the public. The bartenders will also be vying for this year’s Best Gin & Tonic prize in Kuala Lumpur via voting on social media and an expert panel of judges.

This year’s top bartender will join 2016 winner Angel Ng from PS150 and 2017’s Kazi Tanbir from HYDE in the Best Gin & Tonic in Kuala Lumpur hall of fame. He or she will also earn a trip to the Singapore finale (November 30 to December 8) to compete for the Asia’s Best Gin & Tonic title. “The level of G&Ts will be more competitive at Gin Jubilee this year,” Wholly Spirits’ Shawn Samuel notes. “As the industry grows, bartenders are slowly stepping out of their comfort zone and getting   a little more creative, so drinkers will have more adventurous flavours to look forward to this year.”

Look out for new sponsor gin brands

This year, the Gin Jubilee has also enticed over ten craft gin brands to put on a slew of events, kicking off with a bang on the August 22 public holiday. These gin makers range from established favourites like Hendrick’s Gin, Monkey 47, St. George Spirits, Fords Gin and The West Winds Gins, to the maverick stylings of Citadelle, The Botanist and the Kyrö Distillery Company. Market newcomers Four Pillars Gin and G’Vine will also be capitalising on the Gin Jubilee to acquaint Kuala Lumpur with its unique point of view when it comes to gin making.

Gin Lane goes sophisticated

Other highlights on the five-day calendar include a pre-opening party at Bar Trigona on the eve of its August 22 kick-off, and a Gin Lane at Plaza Batai party – a Gin Jubilee signature – to ring out the week with a bang. Hoping to best last year’s attendance of over 1,500 consumers, all the participating bars and their bartenders will offer punters a wide range of creative G&Ts to sample. This year’s Gin Lane at Plaza Batai also promises a garden soiree atmosphere for better G&T savouring, as well as a new retail pop-up store on site, stocked with partner gin brands and East Imperial’s superior mixers for attendees to take the experience home. The new eco-friendly angle to this year’s Gin Jubilee means that this year’s cocktails will be served with biodegradable cups and straws at Gin Lane.

This overall effort follows through on East Imperial’s mission to educate consumers, as well as help them cut through the noise in this Golden Age of gin and savour only the best it has to offer. “The G&T trend in Malaysia is still at its infancy and can only continue to grow,” says Shawn. “Gin Jubilee is a great way for consumers to get to know the brands that are out there, and know that they indeed have a choice when it comes to drinking great G&Ts in KL.”

For more information on this year’s East Imperial Gin Jubilee, see A library of past year’s images is also available on request.

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