With the shifting of the seasons, we have started to see a gradual transition in our favorite Rock City menus. We recently checked in with Merrick Fagan, Head Bartender and Bar Manager of Trio’s Restaurant, to discuss his exciting and unique new drink additions curated specifically for fall.
Inspired by the changing colors associated with autumn, the new menu is beautiful in its presentation and simplicity: the drinks’ names appear in colored text, with intriguing descriptions for each flavor and experience alongside.
“I wanted to not list the ingredients,” says Fagan, “partly because so many people are scared of the word that represents the spirit–they see tequila and they think [Jose] Cuervo Gold, or they see gin and they think of that one time they tried to shoot gin in college … and that’s not how you’re supposed to drink gin.”
When glancing down the row of colors, it is wildly apparent that this new menu is more about the visual effects of the cocktails, rather than their specific alcoholic makeup. Fagan continues, “I wanted to get to more of the end result and describe the flavor, experience, and color. All of the cocktails are a different color … achieved in different ways.”
A crowd-pleaser, start with the Gold cocktail. “Shiny sweet/tart apple” are the descriptors for this particular drink, and it takes just a second to see why this description is so apt. Consisting of Pisco, Calvados, lemon juice, angostura and orange bitters, this drink glitters like gold as shimmer sugar syrup is mixed in creating a celestial, galaxy-like effect within the glass. Stirring the drink sets it back in motion; it’s interactive and delicious!
Next up is the Blue/Pink, the “refreshing, effervescent, tart” cocktail on the menu. Served in a tall glass, royal purple/blue ice cubes made up of butterfly pea flower float in a mixture of London dry gin, a syrup made up of caribbean rum, lime, and spice, orange bitters, El Guapo tonic syrup, and soda water. “As the ice cubes melt,” Fagan explains, “they come into contact with the citrus in the drink and that changes the pH balance [of the drink] and it turns pink …The magic is all in the ice!”
Following the pretty pastels of the Blue/Pink comes the contrasting Black cocktail, consisting of “balanced, earthy comfort.” Activated charcoal-infused bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and black walnut bitters gives this drink an opaque black color, which is perfect for the upcoming Halloween holiday. And it’s nowhere near as heavy as you would think a Black cocktail would be, as the lemon juice gives it a refreshing feel, much lighter than this dark drink lets on.
Last, and most certainly not least, is the “grassy, vegetal, tart” Orange cocktail. Consisting of rhum agricole, passion fruit, cinnamon ginger syrup, and garnished with mint and a classic orange umbrella, this selection is perfectly described by Fagan as a “tiki drink.” The rhum agricole, “a cross between rum and tequila,” gives the beverage a unique flavor while the passion fruit stays true to the fruity nature of a beachy beverage.
The new autumn cocktail menu at Trio’s Restaurant has been live for a little over a week, so you’ll have plenty of time to sample every color–including those not featured here–on the menu before Fagan cooks up something new. Perhaps the Red “sweet apple spice” or the Green “bold herbal complexity” might be more your speed – if so, make sure to stop by and give them a try, there’s a whole rainbow to choose from!