CHALONG BAY RUM?
Sichuan Pepper Gin? Amrut Whisky? If these regional spirits don’t ring a bell, fret not – clueing imbibers in on the ongoing trend of turning to Asian-made spirits is a specialty of Vijay Mudaliar’s, who is the owner and head bartender of the hip new hangout, Native.
In less than a year, his small bar perched on the second floor of a shophouse along Amoy Street has already garnered critical acclaim. It debuted at the 20th spot on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017, and swept up multiple wins at this year’s The Bar Awards. Its claim to fame? A focus on all things regional, from the spirits and ingredients used, to the music, uniforms and decor. And you’ve most likely heard of it as the bar that intentionally serves ants in its cocktails.
‘ With Native, we seek to highlight spirits that are from where we’re from, as well as distil traditional practices from this region,’ the 28-year- old bartender explains. ‘ There are many Asian craft brewers and distillers that are doing great things, but because they’re from this neck of the woods, they get put down as producing moonshine or alcohol that’ll give people a hangover. We want to dispel that notion.’