One year since its opening last May, the boutique TRUNK(HOTEL) has already built up a reputation as a swank and stylish hangout for Tokyo’s creatives and professionals. At the heart of the hotel is the TRUNK(LOUNGE), a community work and leisure space that features a first-rate bar in the evening hours. Celebrated mixologist Ryuichi Saito has been with the lounge since its inception, bringing with him an award-winning past and experience to craft a unique set of signature cocktails for the lounge’s bar, TRUNK(BAR). His menu is organized around the hotel’s five signature principles, allowing him to find inspiration from categories including Culture, Health, Environment, Diversity and Local First. The drinks are whimsical and conceptual, but most importantly they are delicious.
Under the Diversity banner, TRUNK(BAR) serves its “My Thai” cocktail (¥1,800), a fruity spin on the beachside classic Mai Tai. More than wordplay, the drink builds off a Patron Silver tequila base to concoct a pleasing assortment of Thai culinary flavors, such as lemongrass, Kaffir lime, cilantro, and Naga chilli, before garnishing with a thin slice of dried pineapple. The dried fruit, like many ingredients in the lounge, are produced in-house. Rather than throwing away excess products like citrus rinds or buying manufactured flavorings, Saito repurposes ingredients to make his own mixes and garnishes whenever possible.
Alongside an appreciation for ingredients, Saito brings imagination and wit to his signature cocktail concepts. He says that every cocktail on the menu has a narrative built into its flavors. “Gothic and Lolita” (¥1,600) falls under the Local First section. A nod to the TRUNK(HOTEL)’s Harajuku neighborhood, the drink features an offbeat mix of spiced craft gin and soymilk, a play on the light and dark parallels of these two 2000s fashion trends. The drink is finished with a pairing of dark chocolate and sweet mandarin.
One of the most popular cocktails, however, is house special “Getting TRUNK,” which puts the hotel’s Local First principle into action. The drink, served in a TRUNK brand mug, looks like an inviting cup of hot chocolate. Inside you’ll find a spiced explosion. Hojicha tea is infused with anise and nutmeg before mixing with Falernum, a Barbadian almond liqueur, and Ogasawara rum, brewed on the Tokyo Prefecture islands.
While the signature cocktails are a highlight of TRUNK(BAR), there’s plenty on offer for those that prefer a single liquor, neat. The bar includes an array of premier spirits that will appeal to any knowledgeable drinker. This includes Kyoto-based gin distillery Ki No Bi’s Sei brand, a 2,000-bottle limited release that packs bolder flavors than the standard bottle. The Essence of Suntory Collection is also in stock, an exclusive experimental whisky from the renowned Japanese distillery that can only be purchased by liquor-licensed establishments and is limited to one bottle per establishment.
No matter your taste, anyone can enjoy a stiff drink at TRUNK(BAR) while avoiding the stiff upper lip you’ll find at many cocktail bars. TRUNK(BAR)’s inviting social atmosphere is an alternative to the Ginza or other old-school drinking establishments. During the coming summer months you’ll also be free to enjoy a special offer happy hour in the lounge. Starting in June, reduced price drinks will be on offer between ¥800 and ¥900 from 5pm until 8pm on a select menu that includes happy hour original drinks. It is a great opportunity to enjoy TRUNK(LOUNGE)’s communal space while taking full advantage of the bar’s assortment of delicious and creative signature cocktails.