Dinner out on the town is often incomplete without a cocktail. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon, area in search of good libation but with a cider twist, Trifecta Tavern should be on your list. The name Ken Forkish, owner of Trifecta, should be familiar to Portland natives, after the success of Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Pizza. At Trifecta, his team homes in on the artistry behind the drink menu. For bar manager Colin Carroll, that focus is on classic cocktails, like the Stone Fence — an OG cider cocktail.
Traditionally, the Stone Fence is a simple blend of aged rum, Angostura bitters and sweet cider. “I love the fact this is a Colonial-era cocktail,” Carroll says. “I’m also very big on simple cocktails that are well curated with spirits focused on making the cocktail shine in the best way possible. Thus, this drink is right in our wheelhouse because of its simplicity.”
At Trifecta, the drinker has the option to choose between five types of brandy, plus aged rum, for their beverage. “I offer the choice, so the customer can choose their own adventure,” Carroll adds.
Each ingredient in the specialized drink goes in with thought and care. When going with rum, Carroll says he uses an aged rum with sweetness and depth, and just a hint of citrus brings the whole drink together, whereas with instead a Spanish brandy will offer spice and added sweetness that holds up to a dry cider.
The cider in the drink is near and dear to Carroll’s heart too. Reverent Nat’s Hard Cider, a fellow Portland artisan, makes the Cascadia Ciderworkers United Dry featured in the Stone Fence. Rev. Nat’s “one of my favorite cidermakers in Portland,” he says. “The price point on it is awesome too.”
Trifecta’s menu stays fresh by always changing but if you’re lucky enough to stop by when they’re still serving their grilled chicken, Carroll recommends pairing it with his take on the classic Stone Fence.
Recipe by Colin Carroll, Trifecta Tavern
Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces aged rum or brandy
2 shakes Angostura bitters
Cascadia Ciderworkers United Dry
Pour the spirit into Collins glass, and then add a dash of bitters. Top with ice and fill the glass with the cider. Stir and garnish with a lemon wheel.