Vijay Mudaliar: Building Flavours upon Tradition

All about supporting like-minded craftsmen
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With ingredients such as sweet potato compote to ants on a frozen basil leaf, Native bar can be found on Amoy Street. As its name suggests, most of their cocktails are made from ingredients familiar to the Southeast Asian region. Native's commitment to the local can be seen in their commitment to keep at least 10% of supplies coming from foraged sources.

From bringing ingredients together through stories worth telling, every cocktail is a promise of a journey that is close to home.

We speak to bartender-founder of Native bar, Vijay Mudaliar, on his creation process and his daily work at Native bar.

Describe your creation process at work.

We work as a team for all our cocktails.

We start off with an idea or inspiration and build those flavours based on tradition, location, history and techniques.

Describe a regular day at work.

  • We are mostly in by 2-3pm on a daily basis.
  • We take care of our vertical garden and churn our compost first.
  • We then head on to prep our cocktails that last about two and a half to three hours.
  • Thereafter, we have a team briefing that includes trainings or sharing sessions (which happens every Thursday).
  • Individual breaks are taken for our team members before shift begins.
  • We usually end at 1am and spend another 2 hours closing down the stations.
  • We leave at 3am for occasional team supper before heading home.
  • Rinse and repeat.

What’s the most important aspect in cocktail making?

It’s about looking back to traditions and trying to connect with customers based on that.

Why is it important for you to source locally/regionally?

It’s important for us to support like-minded craftsmen and to also serve as a platform for the upcoming ones.

What’s something that people don’t know about the work that you guys do?

We don’t just work with spirit producers but we also work with local carpenters, ceramic makers and musicians.

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