Given the current situation, the local bustling nightlife scene has been pretty bleak with many bar and club owners trying to stay afloat. Some have even converted their once packed clubs into temporary cafes serving food while others have resorted to selling their drinks online such as Georgetown’s famous tiny speakeasy The Backdoor Bodega.
Founded in 2016 by 34-year-old, Koh Yung Shen, The Backdoor Bodega is a well-known unconventional bar that not only sells its collectable Backdoor Bodega-themed lapel pins and merchandises, but also locally-themed cocktails that just hit close to home.
Their latest drink, the Cap Pintu Medicated Cocktail takes inspiration from the handy and traditional medicated headache reliever that can be found in most first aid kits, only this time, it’s infused with herbs and contains alcoholic drinks such as Giffard Menthe-Pastille, Giffard Poire William Eau de Vie, Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Luxardo Sambuca, and Dry Vermouth.
The Backdoor Bodega notes that this is the perfect remedy for stress and headaches especially when reading the local headlines today.
Shen explained that besides paying homage to quirky Malaysian concepts, the bar also bases its cocktails on current events that people can relate to. For example, The Essence of Chicken, Bird’s Nest & Ginseng Series that was released during the Lunar New Year lockdown and the Vaccine Series which was released at the height of the public’s frustration when many were unable to book vaccination appointments.
Other events that inspired cocktails creations include the November 4th flooding in Georgetown.
“In recent memory, it was the worst flooding that made the whole town including our bar look like it was submerged in teh tarik, giving us the idea of to make the Teh Tarik cocktail,” Shen said, while their signature coconut rum and kaya cocktail, the Mango Martini is a spin on the famous traditional Mango Pomelo Sago dessert.
Most of these bottled cocktails are crafted to cater mainly to folks that have been locked down at home. For those who miss the nightlife scene, these special cocktails with unique packaging could be a temporary relief and even gifted to drinking buddies who are stuck at home.
When asked about how he managed to keep his business up and running during these trying times, Shen explained that once the lockdown kicked in during March last year, his team quickly launched a proper e-commerce platform the following month.
Ever since then, their bottled cocktails have been shipped all across Malaysia and even Singapore and have managed to keep their revenue steady to pay full salaries, rent and overheads on time throughout the lockdown.
He assures that although he would very much like to get back to working behind the bar serving customers in person, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the air.
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In the meantime, Shen revealed that he and his team have a couple of online releases up their sleeves and are planning an all-new (and very local) cocktail menu that will be launched once restrictions are eased for bars.