When Merrick Fagan took over the Bar Manager role for Ciao Baci, he knew that he wanted to ensure the local favorite cocktails had the same level of creativity and execution that came from the kitchen. The new cocktail menu for this winter does just that.
While the old specialty cocktails and full wine list can still be found behind a QR Code, the physical cocktail menu has a curated list of seasonal specialties, classic cocktails with Baci’s own tweaks, and zero proof cocktails so there is something for everyone. Fagan has a few tasting notes included on each seasonal drink so patrons can get an idea of what they may want at a glance while still showcasing the breadth of talent he brings from his time at Trios, Big Orange, and more.
“Funky, Tropical, Easygoing”
The Beach House has the tropical signature that Fagan is known for but uses cachaça for the base. The Beach House has a bright and sweet nose highlighting the cane sugar nature of cachaça leaving a slight sour twang. The passion fruit provides a rounding flavor while the almond based orgeat creates a smooth and almost savory finish. It is sure to please any of the legion of patio diners at Baci with its combination of flavors and complex finish.
Baci Mulled Wine
“Sweet spice and Comfort”
A seasonally appropriate cocktail that comes from Chef Jeff Owen’s collaboration with the bar. This smooth and easily quaffable wine will warm you inside and out as the lightly steaming wine has its tannic edges tamed with a mixture of brandy, spices, and a secret ingredient or two.
“Rich, Fruity, Baking Spice”
The seasonal Old Fashioned, now named the Vivaldi, highlights a combination of brandy and rum for the winter. Like a comforting mug of hot cider, the Vivaldi is both fruity and rich with the delightful combination of rum and brandy soothing the winter blues. It is a refined and complex drink that isn’t too complicated with the rums unique flavors supporting the spanish brandy. It is an Old Fashioned like no other in Little Rock.
In conjunction with Mailyn Schneider, the new General Manager for Baci, Fagan crafted the Plaza Spritz to highlight a ray of summer sunshine even on the dreariest of winter days. The Plaza Spritz will give you all the feeling of a beach trip even as the sky turns gray using the Giffard Aperitivo syrup to the greatest effect. The lightly bitter base is coupled with the right amount of grapefruit and lemon to leave you thirsty for more in all of the best ways. It is sure to be a favorite as long as it is on the menu.
“Herbaceous, Vegetal, Savory”
Never one to shy away from a complex and layered cocktail, Fagan’s Sage Advice brings peppery and funky notes to the nose as the familiar combination of tequila and citrus gives way to the less familiar flavors. The Sage Advice straddles the line of a margarita and a martini bringing out the vegetal and herbaceous notes of the tequila while letting the honey and blanco vermouth deepen the flavors until all you can do is smile. And take another sip.
With its newfound resurgence, Fagan dusted off Baci’s classic Espresso Martini recipe and gave it a fresh 2023 look. This Espresso martini uses Rocktown Coffee liqueur and cold brewed espresso grind coffee to make a distinctly coffee flavored but balanced cocktail. The turbinado sugar provides a matching richness and depth to go with the clean coffee flavor making this a near perfect quaffable cocktail. The richness and smoothness of the drink don’t rely on dairy or cream liqueurs, but on the coffee itself so you can feel light on your feet when you finish.