This week I had the honor of making my first appearance at Fress Restaurant & Bar, which is conveniently located downtown Appleton on College Avenue a mere block away from the Performing Arts Center. While I have heard many glowing reviews of Fress, I have neglected their fine establishment. Upon entering the restaurant, I was treated to a very well-lit atmosphere that was equally creative and artful in its layout. The works of art that adorned the walls were colorful and vibrant, often distracting me as I glanced over the establishment.
I approached the bar and was greeted warmly by their mixologist, Tyler. Grabbing a seat at the bar, we quickly striked up a conversation as I looked over the cocktail menu. Due to COVID, there were only a few cocktails listed on the menu. With the uncertainty of customers coming in to try out the extravagant and ever-changing menu, Tyler was forced to simplify the offerings. Tyler admitted that he often would change up the menu on the fly, sometimes with cocktails that required 10 or more ingredients. Constantly tinkering and finding new inspirations, these menus would often fit into these whims of his.
Sadly, I was not able to try some of these exotic drinks, but that did not stop him from showing off his creativity as he concocted some of his personal favorite drinks. Tyler’s first concoction was his rendition of a Vieux Carré, a drink that traces its heritage to prohibition era New Orleans. Comprised mainly of Rye, Cognac, Sweet Vermouth, and bitters, it is a tad on the stronger side for a drink. Having never had one before, I sipped my cocktail as I took in all the flavors. As an amateur mixologist myself (I just make them for myself and friends), I am going to practice making this drink myself and test some of the drinks variations.
My second cocktail is where Tyler was able to have fun and show off his passion. He admits his love of any tiki-styled cocktail as he was mixing this cocktail in front of my eyes. Using a few different Caribbean rums, he appeased my tastebuds with this delectable drink. He then went in depth about the rums that he used and how each one is different based on the location it is from. Listening to these details, I inhaled this delicious drink in a faster manner then the Vieux Carré that came before it. It was dangerously delish and highly recommend trying one.
While discussing my drink preference over the last two cocktails, Tyler assembled a drink that fit my flavor profile. Something on the stronger end and not too sweet. A Sazerac. This is another classic cocktail that resides from New Orleans, but from the century before the Vieux Carré. Crowned the official cocktail of New Orleans, this drink is commonly made with Rye, Absinthe, and bitters. Tyler’s variation mixed equal parts Rye and Cognac to deliver a strong yet pungent flavor. This was another amazing drink that I will attempt to recreate myself in the future.
Finding constant inspiration with the cocktails that Tyler made for me, I cannot wait to come back once COVID is no longer a threat. This way I can see Tyler’s full prowess on display as he is able to work to the fullest and utilize all his creativity to invent a full variety of delectable drinks. I highly recommend that you stop in and imbibe these creations of his. You will not be disappointed at all.
Tuesday 5PM – 9PM
Wednesday 5PM – 9PM
Thursday 5PM – 9PM
Friday 5PM – 9PM
Saturday 5PM – 9PM
Sunday 5PM – 9PM
Phone – 920-364-9098