Chung (Chris) Choon Suen

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

“I became a bartender by accident. Before, I was a trained chef.”


– Chris Choon Suen

Where are you working? What’s your bar like?
I'm working in Beta in Kuala Lumpur. My bar is basically a Malaysian concept. We use native and local ingredients from different states of Malaysia and we get inspired from the eating and drinking habit of Malaysian to make cocktail.

Tell me about your experience:
I have done two guest shifts with Jameson in Malaysia in Melaka and Ipoh. Besides that, I represented a Baijiu brand from China at the Gin and Rum event in Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, I have done a blending and pairing event with Chivas which included blending master class and food and cocktail pairing with my executive chef and Malaysia Chivas ambassador.

Beta, Kuala Lumpur

Beta, Kuala Lumpur

Why did you decide to become a bartender?
I became a bartender by accident. Before, I was a trained chef. During an internship, I asked to do a training in the bar in the same restaurant. I didn’t have any knowledge about the bar, so I wanted to try a new thing and learn more about beverages. After my internship, I came back to cooking and during that time my mentor in the bar resigned. That’s why the owner gave me a chance to lead the bar and create my own menu. I took the challenge and immediately I fell in love with the bartender profession.

Do you have a mentor in the Industry, an inspiration, or someone you would like to thank?
My mentor is Harry, he is from Bangladesh and he is in the industry for around 5 years. He is the one who helped me to start in the industry. Basically, all of my basics were taught by him. Besides that, I would like to thanks my boss who was the executive chef of the restaurant, Chef Raymond. He gave me a chance to start my bartender career and he helped me a lot to get the inspiration.

Tell me about the inspiration behind the cocktail you created for Jameson Barrelmen’s Homecoming?
My cocktail for Jameson Barrelman’s Homecoming 2019 is inspired by "Buah Jeruk", which is a Malaysian pickle fruit. During my childhood, I always helped my father in the farm. When they have some unripe fruit, they will do the "Buah Jeruk" to not waste anything. I create this drink to support the sustainable cooking according to a no-waste-concept. Besides that, I used lacto-fermentation for my cocktail which is not really a common technique in the bar scene. I would like to introduce the technique in the bar scene in Malaysia.

Where did you find the ingredients?
The pumpkin and chili padi are sourced from a biodynamic from Batang Kali.

Are there any producers you would like to highlight?
The producer is Father's Organic Farm, I thank them for supplying my ingredients and let me visit the farm.

If I visit your city, what should I see/eat/drink?
You should try all the traditional and local food from Malaysia. Nasi lemak, Bak Kut Teh, Roti Canai, Cendol, Satey, Curry and a lot more. For the drinks, you have to try Teh Tarik and try the speakeasy bar from Malaysia like PS150, Coley, Pahit and a lot more. In Malaysia we have a lot of great island, like Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Redang, Pulau Tioman and so on.

What is your best JBH 2019 memory?
To be honest, the best memory is the whole week I stayed in Ireland with the Jameson Big Family. I miss all of you a lot I really hope got chance to join with this big family again.

What is the next city you would like to visit?
Next city I would like to visit Seoul in Korea, I meet a lot of friend from Korea during JBH 2019 in Ireland. I would like go Seoul to visit them and experience the bar industry in Seoul.

The Recipe

Farmer's Harvest 

  • 50ml Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey
  • 5ml chili padi infused Jameson
  • 20ml fermented pumpkin vinegar
  • 10ml Spiced Gula Melaka Syrup
  • Ginger Ale
  • Garnish: Cinnamon, buah jeruk (pickle pumpkin), chili flower
  • Chill a high ball glass
  • Add Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey, chili padi infused Jameson, fermented pumpkin vinegar, and spiced Gula Melaka syrup to a cocktail shaker.
  • Fill the shaker with ice and use the throwing method to mix.
  • Fill the high ball glass with the ice and pour the mixture over.
  • Top up with ginger ale.
  • Garnish with cinnamon, buah jeruk (pickle pumpkin), chili flower.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey
  • 5ml chili padi infused Jameson
  • 20ml fermented pumpkin vinegar
  • 10ml Spiced Gula Melaka Syrup
  • Ginger Ale
  • Garnish: Cinnamon, buah jeruk (pickle pumpkin), chili flower

How To Make

  • Chill a high ball glass
  • Add Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey, chili padi infused Jameson, fermented pumpkin vinegar, and spiced Gula Melaka syrup to a cocktail shaker.
  • Fill the shaker with ice and use the throwing method to mix.
  • Fill the high ball glass with the ice and pour the mixture over.
  • Top up with ginger ale.
  • Garnish with cinnamon, buah jeruk (pickle pumpkin), chili flower.

Homemade Chili Padi Infused Jameson: Mix 5g chili padi and 1 bottle of Jameson Original, sous vide cook in 60C for 2 hours.
Filter with a coffee filter and bottle it.

Homemade Fermented Pumpkin Vinegar: Cut a small pumpkin (±2kg) into small cubes. Add Pumpkin cubes and 40g Himalayan sea salt to an air tight container. Keep in a cold and dark place and ferment for 5 days. Slow juice the pumpkin and fine strain. Blend 100ml fermented pumpkin juice with 20ml apple cider vinegar. Bottle it.

Homemade Spiced Gula Melaka Syrup: Put 5g cinnamon, 5g clove, 5g star anise, 5g cardamom in a pot with 100g water and simmer it for 10 minutes. Add 100g Gula Melaka (type of Palm Sugar) in and bring it to a boil. Strain it out and when it is cooled, bottle it.

Homemade Buah Jeruk Pumpkin: Mix 200g apple cider vinegar, 280g water, 180g sugar, 18g salt, 5g cinnamon, 5g clove, 5g star anise, and 5g cardamom together in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Chill until cooled. Add 500g of thinly sliced pumpkin and 2nos chili padi to the cooled liquid and put in an airtight container. Pickle for at least 2 days.

“Two very unfamiliar sets of ingredients that works surprisingly well when combined, and leaves you craving for more.””


– Erik Nilsson

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