Behind the bar of The Smoke House at The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the vintage cocktails - and the personable barman who makes them — have an intriguing tale to tell
Behind the bar of The Smoke House at The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the vintage cocktails - and the personable barman who makes them - have an intriguing tale to tell.
T Words he moment you step into the 1930s surroundings of The Smoke House at The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, you’re in for a taste of the past. Ask for Johnnie the Barman in his recognisable white jacket, who has been at The Majestic Hotel for seven years, stirring and shaking a multitude of concoctions steeped in Southeast Asia’s surprisingly rich cocktail history. As he says with a wry wink: “Anyone can make a cocktail – but in order to maintain its originality, the element of storytelling has to be strong.”
This is perhaps most evident in the hotel’s most famous cocktail: Code 55 and 2 Bulat, which looks deceptively modern thanks to its test tubes of gin and whisky. The drink, which comes topped up with beer and lemonade, carries more than a whiff of scandal about it. The story dates back to the days of the original Hotel Majestic, when an enraged wife, who had found her husband in the dining hall with another woman, requested a “Code 55 and 2 Bulat” from the barman when he asked for her drink order. It was only after the unfortunate husband had managed to smuggle his dining companion out of the hall – without any blood being spilled – that the perplexed barman realised the wife had called for a “Colt 55 and two bullets”.