36 Taian Lu

There are a number of corners of the Former French Concession where you could very easily, and very happily, spend an evening barhopping without walking much more than a block or three. Most recently, it seems to be the little patch in the southwest of the FFC where a spate of new bars have popped up. There’s Healer on Tianping Lu (a low-key neighbourhood cocktail spot from Phoebe Han, formerly of The Nest and Kee Club), The Water Margin on Hunan Lu, focused on cocktails but also on whiskies. And now, Trio.

Set on Taian Lu, Trio is run by head bartender Kimi Chu, only a few doors away from Heyday, where he previously presided. Trio’s name comes from what Chu sees as being the essential elements to a cocktails, a threesome of the base spirit, sweetness and sourness.

Founded on this fundamental belief, the menu at Trio is then divided into two levels, separated by section: junior, which are lighter in flavour and often floral, and senior, which implies more technically involved preparations and deeper, more complex flavours.

With a bourbon whiskey base, rippling with soft undertones of kumquat and ginger, the Golden Warm (88RMB) arrives in a tumbler and garnished with two halves of a candied kumquat – smooth, well balanced and with a light pop from the citrus. Coloured a vivid, neon green straight out of The Secret World of Alex Mack, the SI CHUAN Food cocktail (88RMB) doesn’t hit too hard with the spice from its chilli-infused vodka, instead leaning towards brighter flavours of fresh coriander and lime. The drink is rimmed with honey and sprinkled with five-spice powder, further layering on the dimensions.

Squarely on the ‘senior’ section of the menu, the Apricoffee (98RMB) is a deep, heady blend of apricotinfused tequila, espresso and a hit of lime, none of which leads to any issues tossing back. For a fanciful, adultified version of the Creamsicles of your childhood, look to Chu’s take on a Ramos Gin Fizz (108RMB). Sweet-tart and unimaginably creamy, the labour-intensive drink, which requires extensive shaking, is prepared only only nine times a day. Don’t sleep on it.

With a deep-house soundtrack, a chill, sophisticated interior and a solid roster of drinks, Trio has all the right parts in all the right places.

By Cat Nelson

Venue name: Trio
Opening hours: 7pm to 2am Tue-Sun
Metro: Jiaotong University
English address: 36 Taian Lu, near Xingguo Lu, Xuhui district
Chinese address: 徐汇区泰安路36号,近新国路