Bar Trigona's new cocktail menu takes colours and flavours to innovative heights


The concept behind its new “Colour Me Curious” menu is to use locally-sourced natural products to create unique and innovative drinks that will “add a splash of colour” to the bar. — Photos: MICHAEL CHEANG/The Star

Located at the Four Seasons Hotel KL, Bar Trigona has long boasted a reputation as one of Malaysia’s top bars, and has been listed as the country’s highest ranked bar on Asia’s 50 Best Bars for the past four years.

The concept behind its new “Colour Me Curious” menu is to use locally-sourced natural products to create unique and innovative drinks that will “add a splash of colour” to the bar, according to head bartender Rohan Matmary.

The 20 new drinks are divided into four segments – Unique And Local, Bottled, Spirit Free, and Trigona Honey Flight.

The Unique And Local segment is the largest one, with nine drinks that provide a “nostalgic journey” for locals, and a “gateway to Malaysia for the globetrotter”.

We started off with the Iris, made with Remy Martin 1738 Cognac, nutmeg, single estate coffee-infused stout beer, and a cream made with ube, or Japanese purple yam.

This is a tasty take on the White Russian with coffee-infused stout beer in place of coffee, and cognac instead of vodka. That ube cream was also an interesting substitute for Irish cream, adding a hint of umaminess to the drink.

iris is a twist on the White Russianiris is a twist on the White Russian

From that, we moved on to the Pastel, made with Matusalem Insolito Rum, Strawberry, Torch Ginger, and Fermented Rose Apple (or jambu air). This was a delicious twist on a sherry cobbler twist using charged fermented jambu air juice instead of ordinary soda, and is arguably one of the most memorable highball-styled drinks I have ever tried.

Another great drink was the Curry And Cacao, made with Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Michter’s Bourbon, ethically-sourced cacao and a layer of Curry Puff Malbec falernum liqueur on top of it all.

Putting curry puff in a drink is a wild enough idea, but surprisingly, it works. That curry puff Malbec falernum is delicious, changing the drink as it seeps through the crushed ice to the bottom. Don’t let its bright colours scare you, this is one drink you absolutely need to try, especially if you love curry puffs!

Don't let the bright colours scare you, the Curry And Cacao is one of the most unique drinks on Trigona's new menu.Don't let the bright colours scare you, the Curry And Cacao is one of the most unique drinks on Trigona's new menu.

Two of the drinks stand out thanks to their dramatic presentations – with the Santo (Michter’s Bourbon, dry vermouth, Palo Santo wood, lemon, menthol candle), a steel wool is set on fire above the drink to give it a whiff of smoke.

Meanwhile, the Zen (Roku Gin, Haku Vodka, lychee, and blue gari aka pickled sushi ginger) is a slightly sweet riff on a Vesper Martini that is preceded by the bartenders flinging a smattering of ice chips in the air before serving the drink.

The Bottled segment of the menu consists of four cocktails in bottles that come in one, two or five servings, and can be consumed at the bar, or be taken away as a gift or souvenir.

The 'Bottled' drinks can be consumed at the bar or taken away as a gift or souvenir.The 'Bottled' drinks can be consumed at the bar or taken away as a gift or souvenir.

My favourite of the four was the Bumblebee, an update on one of Bar Trigona’s best known drinks, the Trigona Old Fashioned. Besides the name change, the drink is now made with bourbon and rye whiskey by Michter’s, orange blossom, Amaro Montenegro, and of course, the unmissable trigona honey, which is honey from the trigona stingless bee, or kelulut, which the bar sources from the Dino Kelulut Organic Farm in Negri Sembilan.

Speaking of honey, the third segment of the menu is called Trigona Honey Flight, a trio of drinks that can either be served in a flight of three tasters, or as one single full serving. These drinks are basically classics that typically include honey, and the bar has used them to showcase the transformation of Trigona honey in a drink.

You can have the three drinks in the Trigona Honey Flight as a set of three tasters or in a single serving.You can have the three drinks in the Trigona Honey Flight as a set of three tasters or in a single serving.

Last but not least, is the Spirit Free segment, an ingenious selection of four drinks that are meant to “taste just the same” with or without alcohol.

With these drinks, even designated drivers or those who don’t want to drink any alcohol can enjoy one of Trigona’s drinks.

And if you fancy having some booze in them, you can still opt for one with spirits in them.

You can choose to have the drinks in the 'Spirit Free' section with or without alcohol.You can choose to have the drinks in the 'Spirit Free' section with or without alcohol.

As far as cocktail menus go, Trigona’s latest is a good mix of delicious local-flavoured twists on classics, and ingeniously creative ideas and concepts, and is arguably one of the strongest lineups of drinks the bar has released in recent years.

Michael Cheang is still amazed that someone actually put curry puffs in a cocktail. Follow him on Facebook (fb.com/Mytipsyturvy) and Instagram (@Mytipsyturvy).

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Bar Trigona , cocktails

   

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