Unlock The Bars by Martell Noblige is back for a whole new season with interesting new ingredients and unique home DIY cocktail recipes will be unveiled for you to try at home at the end of each video. The first episode of Season 3 features Kuala Lumpur’s very own Bar Trigona with the featured ingredient, Kelulut honey.
Back for Season 3, this episode of Unlock the Bars with Martell Noblige brings us to Bar Trigona, ranked 29th on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022 and the best bar in Malaysia for three consecutive years, right here in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Named after the Trigona bee — considered to be among the biggest genera of stingless bees, the highly-praised Bar Trigona is one filled with alcohol wizardry; adding creative substance to the booming bar scene in the city.
To truly understand Trigona honey (also known as Kelulut honey or stingless bee honey), host Anjoe Koh heads to Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan to check out Dino Kelulut Farm. Founded by Dino Malik, the Kelulut farm is situated approximately 90 minutes from KL. Accompanying Anjoe on her buzzing voyage is Julian Brigett, the Assistant Bar Manager of Bar Trigona.
Known for its sweet sour aftertaste, Trigona honey has been a staple ingredient in Bar Trigona’s arsenal of concoctions. During the tour of the farm, Dino shares that Trigona bees do not sting but they definitely bite. In addition, he also explains that the Trigona stingless bees are rare because they are only found in tropical and subtropical regions. As Dino, Anjoe, and Julian explore the Kelulut farm together, they discover the numerous species of stingless bees available on the farm. According to Dino, the area comprises three species but there are around 50 types throughout Malaysia! Can you bee-lieve it?
In order to grasp how Kelulut or Trigona honey can complement a cocktail, Anjoe and Julian each took turns trying the honey straight from the source. Using syringe-like tool, Dino extracts the liquid gold for Anjoe and Julian to taste. Of course, it’s as raw and organic as it gets — an experience like no other. Aromatic, sweet yet distinctively sour, and tangy, it’s apparent that Kelulut honey isn’t like the honey many are used to.
As host and entrepreneur Anjoe enters the exquisitely designed Bar Trigona (on the sixth floor of the Four Seasons hotel), where she meets Bastien Michaud, the Martell Brand Ambassador. The French cognac connoisseur in his own right, takes Anjoe on a brief yet immensely informative masterclass about cognac, Maison Martell, and of course, Martell Noblige. Here’s when the Sungai Petani-born Anjoe takes her first ever sip of Martell Noblige; describing her maiden Martell Noblige experience as exceptional — on both nose and palate. That comes without surprise, in fact. After all, Martell Noblige comprises more than 100 eaux-de-vie from the Cognac region and is an elegant yet powerful dark amber delight.
Unlock The Bars is all about discovering how special ingredients can inspire one-of-a-kind cocktail concoctions. Julian demonstrates how he incorporates Trigona honey into the novelty cocktail, “Go Dark Or Go Home”. The spirit- and chocolate-forward cocktail with a celebratory amber hue might look simple, but its complexity in flavour expression is a nod to the bartender’s prowess and experience.
To complement the cocktail, Julian washes the ice with some overproof rum (rum that contains more than 50% ABV) — ensuring he encapsulates all the strength of the alcohol in the drink. To complement Martell Noblige’s elegant smoothness, Julian infuses the cognac with dark chocolate through a tedious yet fruitful process called fat-washing. The procedure includes freezing the cognac (the entire bottle) with melted chocolate for a few hours to solidify it and then putting that blend into a sous vide machine so it returns to liquid form. This creates an exchange of flavours and texture between the chocolate and the cognac.
This ingenious process results in a particle-free cognac washed with dark chocolate that’s now a little darker in appearance and richer in both flavour and feeling. For garnish, Julian opted for milk chocolate strokes — to elevate both drinking experience and cocktail appearance. Stirred and perfectly executed, the cocktail is meant to be enjoyed in two simple steps as Julian suggests. First, have a bite of the milk chocolate and then, take a gentle sip of the drink.
What you can expect is a massively intricate and vibrant drink that’s naturally sweet yet distinctively tangy and acidic from the Trigona honey; but also aromatic, slightly herbaceous, with a refined flavour profile from the dark chocolate washed cognac. Creamy caramelised notes come to play on the palate, taken to new heights with adroit levels of mixology. Ultimately, it’s the layering of a myriad of flavours working together. Like Anjoe says in the video, it’s a cocktail she can drink all night.
This is neither Julian’s first time using Trigona honey in a cocktail nor pairing the star ingredient with cognac. However, the lasting impression here is crystal clear: both Martell Noblige (with its warm notes) and Kelulut honey are the exact personifications of versatility. In spite of the cocktail’s name, it is, unequivocally, a tipple that can light up the dampest of moods; a sensorial reflection of Kuala Lumpur’s tenacity and upbeat spirit as the capital city of Malaysia.
Thinking of trying it at home? Julian shares the recipe of this cocktail.
45ml Dark chocolate washed Martell Noblige
5ml Trigona honey
5ml Creme de Cacao
5ml Overproof rum rinse
2.5ml Cacao husk infused orange bitters
2 dashes Absinthe
Garnish: Milk chocolate stroke
Try making the highball-inspired Home DIY cocktail — Honey, I’m Home — with easily available home ingredients.
60ml Martell Noblige
10ml Trigona honey (replaceable with any honey from your kitchen cabinet)
25ml Lemon Juice
10ml Simple Syrup
Top up with Soda
Garnish: Dehydrated Lemon Slice
Otherwise, head over to Bar Trigona in Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur to enjoy this cocktail and taste the unique expression of the Trigona honey together with Martell Noblige. Featured Go Dark Or Go Home, the home DIY cocktail — Honey, I’m Home, and another surprise Martell Noblige with Trigona honey cocktail will be available at Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur from 3 October 2022 until 15 November 2022.
Unlock the Bars is a collaborative initiative between Martell and Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur to explore the possibilities of blending Martell Noblige cognac with locally-inspired elements. Unlock the Bars travels to different cities in Malaysia to unearth new talents in the country’s vibrant bar scene and invites you to taste the unique creations of Martell Noblige.