Bar Trigona’s New Cocktail Menu Featuring Tropical Fruits Is Its Strongest Yet
Hunger has yet to be eradicated, yet one-third of the world's food production goes straight to landfills—hence Bar Trigona's new menu, which taps into creative ways to extend the short shelf life of fruits.
"After such a long hiatus, our menu marks a time for renewal. We’ve not kept a single drink from our previous menu," announces head bartender Ashish Sharma. "What I did was to pen down 11 different fruits that you get year-round in Malaysia. Bartenders Emirul, Joe, Marcus and Shawn then invented three cocktails using one fruit each. The point is to showcase the varying stages of a fruit's life cycle.
One might encounter fresh juices or purées in a 'first stage' cocktail, syrups or infusions in the second, and fermentations, distillations or powders in the third. Our new methods mean we throw away as little as possible."
Bar Trigona strives to finds new techniques to help the ecosystem every single day.
Dark rum | cognac | bourbon | yellow chartreuse | mango puree | mango honey | lemon
Start your 'dégustation' here, with a crushed ice cocktail that doesn't take itself too seriously. "It's a Tiki-style drink with tropical bursts and a lot of bitters," elucidates bartender Emirul. "Refreshing yet strong, the drink is doused with Diplomatico rum, Monkey Shoulder whisky and Rémy Martin cognac."
A lesson in biochemistry, the cocktail relies on fermentation, one of the world's oldest means of food preservation. Salt is used as a triggering agent in two of the cocktail's components: lacto-fermented mango jam and mango honey. The result? An acidic, sweet and salty beverage that stirs the appetite.
TATLER TIP: The Mango Overloaded's origami garnish was folded by Emirul's other half, lending the cocktail a personal touch.
Grappa | yellow chartreuse | Trigona honey | watermelon juice | watermelon rind | black walnut bitters | pickles
Unlike the crude watermelon cocktail of our college days—remember boring a hole in the fruit's 'armour' and infusing its flesh with vodka?—the Grap-It is an elegant solution to getting well-watered. Bartender Joe had initially set out to make a Watermelon Martini, but instead of using gin and dry vermouth, decided on grappa and Yellow Chartreuse.
Joe says, "Because I juiced both the watermelon flesh and the rind, the juice tastes vegetal, almost grassy. Grappa with its brandy base has grassy elements that go well with the said juice."
TATLER TIP: Pickle it, stew it or stir-fry it: watermelon rind is widely eaten in the southern United States as well as China.
Pisco | jackfruit red wine | bitters | lemon | sugar
The new darling of the culinary and cocktail scene, jackfruit has countless uses beyond being turned into vegetarian/vegan 'rendang' or 'bacon'. But its heady aroma so loved by some makes it a tricky ingredient to incorporate in dishes and drinks.
"I was concerned that its odour would cover up my other ingredients," divulges bartender Marcus. Using pisco, a type of Chilean brandy, Marcus has, nevertheless, succeeded in creating an approachable jackfruit cocktail that might convert naysayers.
Wine, a key component of the cocktail, was sourced from the Four Seasons Hotel. "We're using house pourings that would otherwise have gone down the kitchen sink," Sharma tells us.
TATLER TIP: Taking its hardiness into account, jackfruit is the most sustainable fruit in the world.
Housemade spiced vermouth | gin | campari | gula Melaka | mandarin citric acid | egg white
Of slight build and armed with a huge smile, bartender Shawn has fond memories of sipping mulled wine in Milan. Perhaps it was this cherished moment that birthed the Mandarin Way.
The second cocktail in Shawn's series, the Mandarin Way lets no part of the mandarin orange go to waste: peel and pulp are liquified, and even the stencilled bee on the drink's surface is made up of spices and dehydrated mandarin peel.
TATLER TIP: Powdered egg whites are preferable to whole eggs when practising sustainable bartending. That way, no yolks will go to waste.
See also: Home Bar Hacks: Two-Ingredient Cocktails