After taking a staggering hit from the impacts of Covid-19 and the reinstated Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), the local bartending scene finally has some good news we can all raise a glass to. Bar Trigona, part of the Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, became the first Malaysian bar to make it on the World’s 50 Best Bars.
Ranked No. 44 on the coveted list, Bar Trigona had won the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Sustainable Bar Award two years in a row. The World’s 50 Best Bars was announced in a virtual awards ceremony yesterday, which saw London’s The Connaught Bar taking the top gong after ten years on the roster.
“Being first-time entrants, we are absolutely over the moon. It is such an honour to join this prestigious group, stretching all the way from Manhattan and Paris to our very own Kuala Lumpur,” says Bar Trigona's head bartender Ashish Sharma.
Bar Trigona is more than just perpetuating the culture of distilling liquors and elevating the artistry of craft cocktails. Championing local ingredients has become the foundation of their passionate pursuit, as evidenced by the bar’s signature Trigona Old Fashioned that features local honey with sweet and sour notes.
The highly prized nectar is made by native Trigona honeybees (no prize for guessing the inspiration behind the name of the bar), sourced from Dino’s Kelulut Organic Farm in Negeri Sembilan, a partnership that has now blossomed into a hive of eco-friendly initiatives. Patrons can adopt their beehive at the farm, while proceeds of the cocktail sales will go towards establishing new beehives.
Bar Trigona also pays tribute to our local bounty by creating a rotating menu that reinvents traditional ingredients, from wild turmeric and jackfruit to premium figs and gula melaka.
“Our focus is on reimagining traditional ingredients and pushing the boundaries. How can we use every part of the ingredient, from root to shoot and skin to seed? How can we bring together different tastes and textures to create a brand-new story in a glass?” says Ashish.
Although bars and pubs around the world are floundering in the face of the government’s orders to practise strict social distancing, the orgnanisers behind The World’s 50 Best Bars expressed hope that this year’s list will give people something to look forward to when we’re allowed to travel again.
If you’ve been to Bar Trigona already and wanted to explore another award-winning spot on the list, you needn’t look far — there are already some worthy watering holes across the Causeway.
Although only four Singaporean bars made it to the top 50 this year, compared with last year’s six, our neighbours fared well on the list too, with Jiggy & Pony at Amara Singapore breaking into the top 10 for the first time at No.9. Bartending stronghold Atlas — best known for its 1,400 bottle gin collection — at Parkview Square climbed four spots to No.4 while Manhattan and Native placed No.14 and No. 18 respectively.
Another distinct achievement worth mentioning is the number of Asian bars that made it to the list. Far more than the years before, the World’s 50 Best Bar saw 15 winners from this part of the world, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea.
Watch how Bar Trigona maintains its commitment to sustainability below:
For the full list of winners, see here.