If there’s a bar that proves that sustainability is a journey, not a destination, it is Kuala Lumpur’s Bar Trigona. After its debut on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list in 2019, Bar Trigona confirms its status as one of the continent’s most sustainable businesses by becoming the winner of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award for the second year in a row in 2020, showing a marked improvement on its stellar 2019 performance.
Bar Trigona marries the glamorous surrounds of its home – the Four Seasons Hotels Kuala Lumpur – with a hyper-local approach that celebrates Malaysian ingredients and small producers. This remains at the heart of its focus in 2020, as the team works harder than ever to educate guests on the benefits of shopping local and to introduce them to suppliers, so they can buy directly from them. Bar Trigona’s retail corner, which promotes and sells products such as artisanal honey, Mutiara figs jam, chocolate and even bamboo travel kits, further proves their efforts in this direction.
The team’s philosophy is to extract every essence of flavour, colour, scent and texture from each ingredient. The bartenders buy ingredients in bulk from farmers and insist on plastic-free packaging. The current cocktail menu introduces the life cycle of home-grown fruits, allowing the team to follow a strict root-to-shoot approach, while overripe fruits are used to make fermented juices. The signature drink features rye whiskey, cynar, trigona honey, cedarwood and bitters for a Malaysian take on an Old Fashioned.
The Kuala Lumpur bar gets its name from the trigona bee, a rare insect indigenous to South East Asia which creates a sweet and sour honey that works brilliantly in cocktails. The team came across a small farm producing trigona bee honey while on a trip through Malaysia sourcing ingredients for the bar, and since then they have been involved in efforts to protect the insect, such as the Save the Bees campaign. Launched in July 2019, the programme allows guests to adopt a honeybee hive at Dino’s Kelulut Organic Farm in Negeri Sembilan, from which they receive six jars of artisanal honey.
Bar Trigona employs a spirits distribution technology called ecoSpirits, which greatly reduces the amount of glass bottles and plastic packaging required when shipping spirits. These are transported in reusable vessels known as ecoTotes, which bartenders use to fill their own bottles at the bar. Through the programme, Bar Trigona has reduced up to 80% of its carbon footprint related to spirits consumption.
Free of any single-use plastic straws, sachets, coasters and cocktail napkins, Bar Trigona makes a genuine effort to minimise waste with clear food waste reduction targets in place and specific training offered to the staff. The team is also encouraged to work with the local community and charity groups, with a policy in place to ensure that staff doesn’t work over contracted hours and ensure a fair work-life balance.
The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award was introduced to Asia’s 50 Best Bars for the first time in 2018. The sustainability rating of each bar is assessed by Food Made Good Global through a system specially adapted from their restaurant rating, which has been used to assess sustainability for over 10 years. All bars on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list are invited to enter the award via self-nomination and the bar that achieves the highest rating in the audit is awarded the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award.
Four Seasons Place, 145 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Malaysia