The Westin Kuala Lumpur's rebranded 443 Bar Lounge serves time-honoured creations in an intimate South American setting, and Malaysia Tatler picks 3 cocktails that will give you a pick-me-up suitable for any hour.

Located at the back of The Westin Kuala Lumpur's main lobby, 443 Bar Lounge is the hotel's rebranded watering hole, serving patrons looking for an intimate drinking spot with a South American vibe. Built upon its previous identity, back when it was known as Qba Bar & Grill, this latest drinking spot instead focuses on three elements – classic cocktails, quality spirits and top shelf cigars. The rechristened bar still retains its rustic Havana-style architecture, complemented by leather furniture, timber barstools and lighted cubes that resemble marble. 

The bar is headed by a veteran bartender affectionately named Rais, having worked behind the same bar he continues to tend for the past 14 years. Despite his solemn demeanour in the picture, the man himself is actually very friendly, ever-ready to summon a library of cocktails and stories (should you need one), for guests to pass the time. 

Here's a fun fact: The Westin's new bar lounge is named after the number of rooms at the hotel and the hotel staff jokingly states that 443 it is also the amount of stories Rais has for guests given his long tenure.

Cosmopolitan

An urban classic believed to have originated from NYC, the iconic "cosmo" finds itself a mainstay on 443 Bar Lounge's menu. Made of Absolute vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a twist of orange peel, the cocktail is light with a lean vodka punch that finishes with a strong hint of orange. The taste of Absolute vodka is very apparent, so those not fond of this particular blend may not find this appealing. Our suggestion: switch it up with another brand of vodka. It is however, a balanced drink to start with and is also an easy sipper. 

Caipirinha

Brazil's national cocktail is, in our books, one of the stars of the bar, made of Abelha organic cachaca rum, sugar and fresh lime. Refreshingly tropical with a light body, this sweet and sour concoction is the ideal beverage to beat the heat on a hot day and a great drink to start or end the night with. If you're looking for an alternative, 443 Bar Lounge's mojito is also another great refreshing choice.

Sangria

Fresh orange juice, red wine, a splash of soda water and a helping of fresh fruits makes for another classic cocktail that's easy on the palate and stomach, no matter the time of day. You'll get sweetness and depth from the red wine and tanginess from the mix of fruits and fresh orange juice. The cocktail is medium bodied and the flavours aren’t very bold. For a slightly stronger touch, the bartender can add a shot of rum, but although the addition of the spirit successfully strengthens the drink, its flavours become lost amongst the fruitiness of the beverage.

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