If the annual list celebrating innovation and revolutionary talent in Asia’s bartending scene wasn’t enough, Asia’s 50 Best Bars has launched a 51-100 list for the first time ever! The inaugural list features bars from 22 cities across 12 countries in Asia and is carefully curated by experts from across the globe. We are proud to announce that 6 bars have featured in these lists combined that are headed by Indian bartenders. Let’s look at the bars and bartenders that make us clink in celebration today!
Ashish Sharma from Bar Trigona at #12
With a menu focusing on indigenous and sustainable ingredients, Bar Trigona speaks to its setting beyond the gilded walls of its host Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian produce is a mainstay, from the wild turmeric harvested in Pahang, raw honey from the eponymous Trigona hives and tropical fruits from a Bangi organic farm. The local honeybees, particularly, are given centre stage. Their nectar – simultaneously sour and sweet – peppers many of the drinks, after head bartender Ashish Sharma (previously of Manhattan, Singapore) uncovered it on a research trek into the jungle. Book a table for sundown – the mosaic and mirroring across the bar splays light all around the room during golden hour. For the third year in succession, Bar Trigona is named The Best Bar in Malaysia 2021, sponsored by Remy Martin.
Yangdup Lama from Sidecar at #16
Brought to you by Indian bartending legend Yangdup Lama and front-of-house supremo Minakshi Singh, Sidecar continues to grow in prominence on the Asian cocktail map. This year it is named the joint Nikka Highest Climber after rising 24 places in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars since 2020.
Spread over two floors, Sidecar is a classical all-day venue. The first floor houses a restaurant and is a great place to eat and chill. The second floor is where you’ll find the bar, which is complemented by live music for a livelier atmosphere. Lama’s quarter of a century in the bar business means a robust menu of craft cocktails, with a lot of the flavour extractions made in-house, from bitters to syrups. There are six variations of the namesake drink as well as classics with a twist. Sidecar also takes the award for The Best Bar in India 2021 for the second year in a row.
Sandeep and Gagan Gurung from Tell Camellia at #23
Industry veterans Sandeep Hathiramani and Gagan Gurung run this tea-forward cocktail bar, which takes its name from Camellia Sinensis – a species of evergreen shrub native to East Asia whose leaves are used to produce tea. The cosy bar’s teal and gold accents are bang on trend, and the menu features an array of ‘Teatails’ based on exotic teas from around the globe. ‘T&Tonics’ – variants of gin and tonics featuring teas redistilled with gin. Cocktails are based on the tea’s country of origin, such as Australia, which features a blend of whisky, Yalangi Rain tea, blue cheese, clarified strawberry, koala munchies (aka eucalyptus) and Australia’s much-loved cake-biscuit hybrid, Tim Tams. Don’t miss the bar’s tea take on an Espresso Martini – the aptly named Teaspresso Martini, with roasted green tea vodka, malted cocoa and pistachio dust.
Sandeep Kumar from The Wise King at #28
A new entry to the list in 2019, The Wise King has rapidly established itself as a Hong Kong favourite. Its individuality lies in its heavy Iberian accent, intimate space with plush velvet seats and golden Damask-style wallpaper. Its name pays tribute to Alfonso X of Castile, a 13th-century Spanish monarch who allegedly contributed to the creation of the country’s culinary tradition of tapas with a decree. It was thus established that no alcoholic beverage should be served without food. Try the signature cocktail named after Alfonso himself, El Sabio or The Wise, featuring spiced dried fruit and red wine reduction with Cava. Or the creative concoctions from head bartender Sandeep Kumar with a side of patatas bravas.
Cindy Lalramngaihzuali and Sahil Negi from Hoots at #59
With one of the most impressive teams of bartenders in the country, Hoots has made it to the #59 in the inaugral list. The team comprises of – Sahil Negi : Monkey shoulder UBC India winner 2019 and Bacardi legacy national finalist 2018-19; Cindy Lalramngaihzuali, co-head bartender; Pankaj Balachandran who is the Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, and an alcho-bev entrepreneur; Anand Virmani, co-creator of Greater Than Gin and Hapusa Gin; and Arijit Bose, co-founder of The Lovers Rum, Counter Top India, Jerry’s Cocktails, Bartesouro, BarBack Collective and more.
With this plethora of achievements, it was given that Hoots would bag this position in the prestigious list. What started out with a small secret room under the hugely popular wine bar Perch, now has its own range of speciality cocktails. Interestingly enough, its signature cocktails have only numbers for names. One of the most popular ones has to be No. 4: tequila, clarified citrus, clarified grapefruit juice, hibiscus cordial and sparkling wine
Shobhit Shetty from Goa Nights at #100
This is a tapas bar that offers craft cocktails made 100% from scratch. Small and large plates of classic and modern interpretations of Indian and Goan cuisine, this restaurant has featured as #100 on the 51-100 list of Asia’s Best Bars. In the past they’ve also been crowned at The Bar Awards 2019 and Bar of the Year Macau Tatler Dining.
Housed in an old style Portuguese building in the heart of old Taipa Village, Goa Nights is the latest restaurant launched by Indian Spice, an Indian Restaurant Management Co Ltd group of restaurants.
The artistic bar team includes Gagan Sethi, Shobit Shetty, Gwen Trott and Wilson Ricablanca.
This hip cocktail bar offers a wide array of innovative drinks including nine signature “Vasco da Gama” cocktails and a collection of six new cocktails inspired by iconic landmark attractions found in Goa and Macau.
With these newly established levels of mixology in the country today, it is given that we are slowly emerging as a top drinking destination.