“How did you come to jot down a column about alcohol?”
It is a query I get each time I inform folks about Tipsy-Turvy. And it’s a query I’ve been listening to for the previous 10 years.
Sure, this coming Could 6 is a particular date for Tipsy-Turvy, because it marks the column’s 10th yr. That’s 10 years of sampling and tasting alcoholic drinks and writing about them.
Rum, whisky, brandy, tequila, vodka, gin, baijiu, sake, shochu, schnapps, liqueurs, lagers, stouts, IPAs… I’ve tried all of them, and written over 250 articles about them. I’ve met a few of Malaysia’s and the world’s finest bartenders, visited distilleries and breweries, solid invaluable friendships, and tried a few of the most beautiful spirits ever made.
In spite of everything that, I STILL get requested how I got here to jot down a column about alcohol. So, for as we speak’s piece, let’s to return to the very starting of this column to see the way it started and the way far it’s come.
Up to now, StarLifestyle (or Part Two, what we was referred to as then) ran a column about wine referred to as Uncorked. It was principally about wine, and hardly something about another alcoholic drinks.
So, I went as much as my editor on the time, Lim Cheng Hoe, and requested, “Why do now we have a column about wine, however not one about beer, whisky, or vodka?”. His reply was, “Why don’t you begin one?”, and that was how Tipsy-Turvy was born.
From the very starting, I had a transparent thought for what the column was going to be – to coach folks about alcoholic drinks, and to encourage Malaysians to drink BETTER, not drink MORE.
Alcohol is a delicate topic, and one factor I’m firmly towards is the over-consumption of it.
I didn’t need folks to get drunk – I needed folks to understand their drinks extra for the flavours and tales behind them, and never simply because it may well get you intoxicated. I’ll write about alcoholic drinks, however the alcohol is usually the least vital facet of what I write about.
The credit score for that has to go to Frank Murray, who was the bar supervisor for Sid’s Pub at Bangsar South, which I frequented very often on the time. I’d been tossing round some concepts for the identify (Drink Tank was one in all them), however that was the one which appeared to work finest.
There have been just a few considerations that the phrase “tipsy” had a slight adverse connotation, however finally, I reasoned that, being a play on the phrase “topsy-turvy”, “tipsy-turvy” may point out that we’re turning the which means of ‘tipsy’ the other way up, by telling folks NOT to get ideas.
Now. I’ll be the primary to confess that I used to be a little bit of a noob about spirits and beers on the time. In truth, I’ve been wanting again at a few of my early tales and cringing over how naive and clueless I used to be on the time. My information on spirits was rudimentary at finest, and I may barely even inform the distinction in flavour between cognac and whisky!
I didn’t know ANYTHING about most spirits and even beers. Heck, my essential tipple of alternative on the time was lager, and the spirit I used to be most conversant in was vodka, having spent a bit time in Poland earlier than becoming a member of The Star.Therefore, Tipsy-Turvy was an opportunity for me to broaden my very own information about drinks, and in addition to attempt new and various things.
Since I used to be (and am nonetheless) not an knowledgeable on the topic, I made a decision that I might solely write a few sure topic if there was an knowledgeable or spokesperson there to speak me by means of it. Therefore, the primary few articles have been principally about getting these people and personalities introducing sure spirit classes or manufacturers, with little or no enter or opinion from me personally
It was a really totally different period for the drinks trade in 2010. The beer trade was (and nonetheless is) very a lot dominated by the 2 massive breweries, with hardly a craft beer in sight. The one malt whisky trade was nonetheless discovering its footing, and you could possibly rely on one hand what number of gin manufacturers there have been within the nation. And final however not least, Malaysia didn’t actually have a cocktail tradition to talk of, despite the fact that we had loads of proficient bartenders round on the time.
So sure, it was robust at first to seek out issues to jot down about, particularly since I used to be decided to make the tales concerning the drinks, moderately than simply the manufacturers.
Tipsy-Turvy began out as a weekly column, however it quickly grew to become obvious that I might wrestle to seek out issues to jot down about on such an everyday foundation, so we selected a bi-weekly format as an alternative, which has since advanced to as we speak’s schedule of popping out each first and third Saturday of the month.
Funnily sufficient, the primary story I did was about craft beer, regardless of craft beer being comparatively unknown on the time. There was a spot referred to as Craft Brews in Mutiara Damansara that served a few of the most totally different and attractive beers I had ever tasted on the time.
Ten years on, the craft beer scene has positively grown loads greater, although it’s nonetheless a comparatively small market share in comparison with mainstream beers. Watching that progress, and the gradual maturation of the beer market in Malaysia, has been one of many extra fascinating features of penning this column this previous decade.
There have been loads of adjustments within the trade since I began the column. Over time, I’ve seen Malaysians change into extra prosperous about drinks, and in addition growing extra discerning tastes as properly. We’ve seen the rise of cocktail tradition in Malaysia, an rising affluence amongst customers in direction of single malt whiskies, craft beers and different spirits, and the inflow of many different manufacturers in numerous classes. We’ve additionally seen some genuinely world-class bars and bartenders emerge over the previous 10 yr.
Whereas I can’t declare to be liable for any of those adjustments, writing Tipsy-Turvy this previous decade has given me a entrance seat to witness the expansion of Malaysia’s bar and beverage trade.
So, what’s subsequent for Tipsy-Turvy then? Effectively, for starters, I plan to revisit a few of the articles I wrote in that first yr of Tipsy-Turvy to see simply how far issues have change over the previous decade. As for the way forward for the column itself, I hope to have the ability to hold writing it for so long as I can.
Michael Cheang is open to concepts on the way to have fun the 10th anniversary of Tipsy-Turvy. Contact him on the Tipsy-Turvy Fb web page (fb.com/MyTipsyTurvy) or observe him on Instagram (@MyTipsyTurvy) or Twitter (@MichaelCheang).