From “Pfizermeister” to “ExtraGineca” and “Sinosour”, a Malaysian bar is injecting a dose of pandemic humour into its drinks selection with cocktails inspired by coronavirus vaccines.
Backdoor Bodega, a speakeasy-style bar in the city of George Town, came up with the idea in June as the country faced a virus surge and its inoculation rollout struggled to pick up speed.
“Everyone in Malaysia was kind of agitated that they hadn’t gotten their vaccines yet,” bar owner Koh Yung Shen told AFP, adding that people were becoming “desperate” for a shot.
The cocktails — marketed by the bar as “lockdown boredom busters” offering a boozy bit of fun during months stuck at home — are named after the three most widely used vaccines in Malaysia.
Sold in 100-millilitre “single-dose” bottles designed to look like medicines, their main ingredients come from the vaccines’ countries of origin.
Pfizermeister, named after the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, is a combination of American bourbon and the German digestif Jagermeister.
Inspired by China’s Sinovac, Sinosour contains the Chinese liquor baijiu and sour plum.
And ExtraGineca, named after the jab produced by Anglo-Swedish drug giant AstraZeneca, is made with London dry gin and English breakfast tea.
Despite being closed to customers to cut infection risks, Backdoor Bodega still buzzes with activity as Koh and his bar staff prepare drinks to be mailed out across the country.
The drinks sell for 38 ringgit ($9.20) each or 100 ringgit for a set of three.
Malaysia is reporting thousands of Covid-19 infections and hundreds of deaths a day, and most people are subject to restrictions.
But the country’s vaccine rollout has picked up speed to become one of the fastest in the region, with more than half of the population of 32 million population now fully inoculated.
In tough times, the popularity of Backdoor Bodega’s vaccine cocktails has proved a much-needed boost for business.
The vaccine brews are in demand: the bar makes on average 20 to 30 deliveries in Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore every day.
“At this point, I feel that any order that comes in is a blessing,” he said.