Food + Drink

Review: Bar Trigona’s new menu ‘Colours Me Curious’—as it will you

A taste of Malaysia


By Natalie Khoo

Images: Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Review: Bar Trigona’s new menu ‘Colours Me Curious’—as it will you

Having won the title of The Best Bar in Malaysia on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list for four consecutive years, Bar Trigona is easily one of the hottest cocktail hangouts in Kuala Lumpur. The bar’s prime location in the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel KL only bolsters its reputation in the drinking industry, both locally and internationally. Naturally, expectations are high when visiting a bar of such fame. 

While I have tasted several cocktails from previous menus and guest shifts—not to mention Bar Trigona’s eponymous honey—the team recently introduced a new menu that beckons cocktail enthusiasts and beginners alike for a (re)visit. Led by head bartender Rohan Matmary, the bar’s latest concept builds on its legacy of celebrating diverse Malaysian flavours and cultures while staying true to its sustainability ethos of using locally-sourced natural ingredients.

The Bar Trigona team, led by head bartender Rohan Matmary (top right).

Aptly named “Colour Me Curious”, the menu is divided into four segments; each presenting bold, innovative and vibrant concoctions that will certainly pique one’s interest. Yours truly is no exception, and so my curiosity led me on a equally daring endeavour to try all 20 new cocktails on the menu in one sitting. (Disclaimer: The drinks were shared with like-minded companions; suffice to say, we all went home in high spirits that night.) 


Unique and local

The first segment on the menu marries Malay household traditions with craft mixology to present a nostalgic journey for locals and a gateway to Malaysia for globetrotters. There are nine drinks for this section, each one taking on a different colour in line with the name of the menu. (Hint: if you’re not sure which to pick, Rohan suggests starting with your favourite colour.) You can also refer to the number of martini glasses next to each cocktail indicating its alcohol strength, with one glass representing lower ABV drinks and three packing a strong punch.

Starting at the top of the list is Iris, a Flip-style blend of Remy Martin 1738 cognac, nutmeg, single estate coffee-infused stout beer, and a cream made with ube (Japanese purple yam). A twist on the White Russian, this purple-hued cocktail reflects how Guinness and coffee are popular in Malaysian drinking culture, with nutmeg adding a truly unique, local touch. 

The second cocktail (one of my personal favourites) is Pastel, a pretty pink concoction of Matusalem Insolito rum, strawberry, torch ginger, and fermented rose apple (jambu air). I’ve not come across a cocktail with jambu on the list of ingredients, and after trying this fruity sherry cobbler-inspired rendition, I’m convinced more bars should hop on it. At this point, Rohan describes a good cocktail as one that customers would come back and order again. To that, I’d say the Pastel fits the bill.

Rohan’s signature touch of adding a vegetable element to each menu he crafts is seen in Sienna, a savoury and sour cocktail topped with a miniature carrot garnish. It’s pre-made for consistency and stored in a vessel designed for three servings, comprising Herradura Reposado tequila, saffron, and pickled brine.

If you have an adventurous palate, Curry and Cacao may be up your alley. Its name is represented by its yellow and brown layers—a masterful blend of Mount Gay Eclipse rum, Michter’s bourbon, and a Malbec falernum curry puff liqueur that’s specially made in-house. The accompanying chocolate bon bon, meant to be savoured in between sips, also marries both elements, offering a curry puff filling within its shell that’s made of ethically-sourced cacao.

For those who fancy Daisy cocktails, there’s Parakeet, consisting of Montelobos Espadin mezcal, salted cucumber, lime leaves, and finger lime. Expect fresh, acidic notes from the citrus in the liquid and the accompanying garnish, balanced by herbaceous and smoky layers from the base spirit.

There are two spirit-forward drinks in this segment: Chic and Zen. The former offers an umami twist on the classic Old Fashioned, thanks to the addition of miso butter and soy caramel to its blend of Michter’s rye whiskey, hojicha, and Islay malt. The latter is a take on the Vesper Martini, concocted with Roku gin, Haku vodka, lychee, and blue gari (pickled ginger). One thing worth highlighting—Zen is served tableside with a theatrical display (no spoilers here), so you’ll want to get your cameras ready for it! 

Two other cocktails you’ll want to keep your phones out for are Santo and Ambrosia. Named after the wood that’s considered sacred in South America, Santo makes a smoking entry (literally) with an intriguing, minty blend of Michter’s bourbon whiskey, dry vermouth, lemon, and menthol candle.

On the other hand, Ambrosia comes with a QR code floating atop a layer of foam, which, when scanned, leads to either the bar’s Instagram or a custom link for special occasions. Gimmick aside, this Bellini-inspired cocktail offers a nice fruity, bubbly combination of Remy Martin 1738 cognac, Cointreau, donut peach, Telmont champagne, and prosecco.



Considering that Trigona is a hotel bar, Rohan has thoughtfully crafted bottled cocktails that are ideal for international guests (a significant share of its clientele) to bring home as souvenirs. Customers can choose from four cocktails that come in one, two or five servings, which can be consumed at the bar too. These also make great gifts for corporate clients, so the idea simply works out well for everyone. 

Bumblebee is the crowd-favourite, offering an update of one of the bar’s most popular drinks—the Trigona Old Fashioned. It’s made Michter’s bourbon and rye whiskey, orange blossom, Amaro Montenegro, and its eponymous trigona honey. Then there’s Inca, a tropical take on the Martini comprising Remy Martin VSOP cognac, pineapple, mango, Dom Benedictine, and eucalyptus.

Fans of Negroni may opt for the Tropica, a bittersweet blend of Roku gin, Campari, strawberry, pink coconut and vermouth. Viva rounds off the list with a refreshingly sour mix of gin, elderflower, sage and pastis. 


Trigona Honey Flight

The third segment is the Trigona Honey Flight, presenting the bar’s signature trio of classic cocktails that embody the transformation of Trigona honey. These can either be served in a flight of three tasters or in individual full servings. The three drinks include the Airmail (rum-based), Bee’s Knees (gin-based) and Penicillin (whisky-based), each made with honey that’s sourced from the Dino Kelulut Organic Farm in Negeri Sembilan.



In the spirit of inclusivity and conscious drinking (pun unintended), the fourth and final segment lists four spirit-free cocktails. Regular drinkers shouldn’t skimp on this section as the drinks can also be made with alcohol, should you evade being the designated driver. Thankfully, this writer skipped driving duties that evening, so I opted for the alcoholic versions.

My favourite of the selection is Petrichor, a clean, bright drink made with Ford’s gin, dried fig, fig leaf, vetiver and pandan—served from a tea pot. On the other hand, Blush offers a refreshing highball consisting of vodka, dragon fruit, trigona honey, chamomile, and sparkling water. 

Scarlet—comprising Roku Gin, raspberry, roselle, black truffle, grapefruit, and egg white—is a bold option that tastes as earthy as it looks, arriving in a mushroom-shaped glass. Lastly, Lust offers the familiar cooling notes of stewed winter melon, alongside a crisp blend of Auchentoshan Three Wood whisky, pu er tea, and pink pepper berry.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BURO Malaysia (@buromalaysia)

On the whole, Trigona’s latest menu has something for everyone with its imaginative local twists on classics, bottled cocktails, and even spirit-free options. In addition to the bar’s colourful concept and adept mixology techniques, Trigona’s cocktails convincingly colour me curious enough to come back—even after trying them all.



Click here for more bar reviews and stories.


Explore More