Ashish Sharma is the bar manager of Trigona in Kuala Lumpur. He makes us two cocktails, one with Cynar and Trigona Honey and the second with Nasi Lemak and Chicken Stock.
Ashish introduce yourself
I’m Ashish and began my career after graduating from hotel management in 2008 by opening the Four Seasons in Mumbai. After a year I was transferred to their hotel in the Maldives, before joining The Regent hotel in Singapore in 2011. In 2014 I was part of the opening of Manhattan Bar and that’s where my journey as a bartender really started. I moved back to Mumbai as beverage manager before Kuala Lumpur proposed I launch Trigona in 2018. Trigona is the name of a local stingless bee and when we were thinking of the concept, we thought honey could be a good idea as it’s an important ingredient here. After we tried the Trigona honey, we knew we wanted to name the bar after it. In parallel, we launched an educational program about honey and how to take care of it and producing it in a sustainable, local way. Our farm is between one and two hours from here, so when we have a guest shift, we take bartenders to the farm to learn more about it. We also have a cacao farm too that we take people to visit. As well as using the honey in cocktails, we also offer our customers honey flights, so they can taste a variety of different products and introduce them to what good honey tastes like.
The classic you want to show us
Trigona Old Fashioned
50ml of Michter’s Rye Whiskey
5ml of Cynar liqueur
5ml of Trigona Honey
1 dash of Orleans Bitters
2 spray of Cedarwood Bitters Oil
The bar you dream of
My dream bar would be in the Philippines in a rice paddy field. A small simple shack for around 30 people, where you can just chill and enjoy the nature surrounding you. Nothing fancy, you just go and grab your drink, relax in a hammock and listen to quiet music under the sky. Part of the drinks menu would be made with products from a garden I would have behind the bar.
What do you do in your time off
I spend all my spare time with my 3 year old son. Before he was born I spent far too much time working. Work is still important to me, but now, it’s family first.
The spirit you like the most
I like rum a lot. Every single bottle tastes different and every different country produces a different type of rum. It’s something to enjoy without explanation. I am more into the English Jamaican styles, like Foursquare rum exceptional cask.
What makes a good cocktail
A good cocktail for me doesn’t need to be complicated, just simple and tasty. I will only serve a cocktail if I think it’s well balanced and good.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Of course, I like working with honey. You can make the same drink, but by using different types of honey it can taste completely different, regarding the types you use.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
45ml of Vodka distilled with Nasi Lemak
30ml of Chicken Stock
10ml of Lemon
10ml Simple Syrup
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You should go and meet the guy from Bombay Canteen in Mumbai, I like it there.