Jann invites you to get Lost in Chinatown with Bak Kwa and Dim Sum cocktails
Flavours of Chinatown
With the rejuvenation of Chinatown in recent years, the historic neighbourhood now boasts a myriad of attractions for locals and tourists alike—from the colourful Kwai Chai Hong to the bustling cafes, restaurants, and speakeasies that dot its streets. For cocktail enthusiasts, one of the bars worth checking out here is Jann, located on the seventh floor of Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown.
Since its inception, Jann’s menu has always reflected the rich tapestry of Chinatown’s history, culture, and culinary heritage. Its latest reiteration continues to pay respect to this legacy, telling the stories of the bar’s locality while providing a new drinking experience for loyal patrons. Featuring 12 unique cocktails, each creation offers a journey of flavours that transports you to different scenes and vendors around the district.
But first, let’s start with the signature cocktail inspired by the bar’s eponymous muse (one of the owner’s daughters)—Dear Jann. Arriving in a champagne flute, this tipple combines the fruity and citrusy notes of Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt and Lillet Blanc with the zesty tang of calamansi, complemented with preserved orange peel. The resulting concoction is punchier than its predecessor, alluding to a more “grown up” version of both Jann and Chinatown.
Vitality takes inspiration from a traditional Chinese medical hall in the district, hence its use of oriental ingredients like chrysanthemum and angelica root. Served on the rocks, the cocktail is made with a blend of Chivas 12 Year Old whisky, dry vermouth, and elderflower. If you enjoy herbal notes that are not too overpowering, this well-balanced drink easily earns my top recommendation.
A crowd-favourite order is Tau Foo Fah, which has been updated with a combination of rum, liqueur, homemade tau foo fah, cacao bitters, palm sugar, and grass jelly. Although this dessert cocktail was created as an ode to the iconic soy curd kiosk in Petaling Street, the team at Jann actually makes their own version using soybean and gelatin to ensure its freshness.
Moving down the list of food-inspired cocktails, Chok (which means porridge in Cantonese) references a famous congee stall on Jalan Hang Lekir. As its name suggests, the cocktail contains ingredients commonly found in congee, namely condiments like ginger, white pepper, spring onion, and sesame oil. Combined with fat-washed vodka, Martell VSOP Red Barrel, chicken stock, and a century quail egg, this unusual creation is made for those with adventurous palates.
Another popular pick is Bak Kwa, a nod to the famed local meat jerky artisans that draw long queues to Chinatown, especially during festive seasons. Consisting of whisky infused with pork-free ”bak kwa”, mezcal, orange bitters, soda, and tonic topped with the star ingredient for garnish, this revised libation offers a smoky and savoury profile that favours the bold.
There are two cocktails inspired by Chinatown’s perennial beverages: Air Mata Kucing and Cham’ O. The former is a refreshing option that blends Jim Beam White, Campari, Shanky’s Whip, monk fruit, longan and soda, served in a traditional Chinese wine cup. On the other hand, the latter is a treat for coffee shop regulars with its mix of Jameson Black Barrel and Roku Gin with black tea, coffee, and planta. The addition of umbra (kedondong) gives the drink a unique twist, with the choice of vessel tying in nicely with the kopitiam theme.
Madras Punch captures the essence of Chinatown’s culinary heritage, recalling Madras Lane’s famous wet market and food vendors. It’s not hard to tell which local dish inspired this cocktail, as the familiar flavours of curry laksa stand out amidst the blend of whisky, coconut, and calamansi. What’s surprising (in a good way) is the effervescent bubbles that give it a clear consistency so it’s not as heavy or “punchy” as one might expect.
Meanwhile, Xi pays tribute to the renowned wedding consultants on Jalan Sultan with its boozy rendition of the traditional Chinese wedding tea ceremony. Served in a charming red teapot set, the cocktail consists of Martell VSOP Red Barrel, D.O.M, lotus seed, longan red date, peanut, and osmanthus—all of which symbolise auspiciousness for toasting to matrimony.
Those with sweet, floral preferences may enjoy Hu Li Jing, a concoction inspired by Chinese mythological creature that’s capable of shapeshifting. Reflecting this transformative nature, this gin-based tipple arrives in a deep purple hue (thanks to a combination of butterfly pea flower and lavender) which changes its colours upon the addition of lemon juice. In other words, this is arguably the most Instagram-friendly drink you’ll find on the menu.
Prepare to have your mind boggled with Dim Sum, a two-part creation where you “drink the food and eat the drink”—as Head Bartender Darwin Ng describes it. Said drink is inspired by the salted egg custard bun (lau sah pao) you’ll find at most dim sum shops, whilst the accompaniment is an edible interpretation of tea, which often completes the Sunday brunch meal.
Lastly, The Tailor pays homage to a century-old tailor shop in Chinatown called Kwong Fook Wing, which has served a clientele of sultans and prime ministers. This spirit-forward cocktail is made with a blend of classic Cantonese home remedy ingredients—cola, ginger, and lemon—along with gin and vermouth. The lemon twist garnish, served with a pick to look like a needle and thread, is a clever touch.
Aside from these 12 signature cocktails, Jann also offers a Happy Hour menu consisting of four cocktails inspired by childhood snacks sold in Chinatown, such as haw flakes, Polo mint candy, seaweed sheets, and lemon tablets. Whether you can relate to these nostalgic tales and tributes of the district or not, you’re bound for a fun time filled with inventive cocktails as you raise a glass to the iconic neighbourhood.
Address: Chinatown, Four Points by Sheraton, Level 7, 2, Jalan Balai Polis, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 4pm – 12am daily
Contact: 03-2035 7333
Find more bars in KL here.
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