One of the original proponents of the farm-to-table movement in Nashville, Husk’s bar program reflects the restaurant’s continual commitment to sourcing Southern grown and made produce and preserving traditional regional foodways. On our recent visit, Husk Nashville’s Bar Manager Adam Morgan presented a refreshing cocktail filled with their trademark local flavor.

{ Refined, but Still Feels Like Home }

In 2015, I visited Husk Nashville for the first time on my way to a Leon Bridges concert happening right around the corner at music venue Third and Lindsley. The Music City outpost of Chef Sean Brock’s original Charleston restaurant opened its doors in 2013. A few years and many visits later, it remains a favorite. The food is refined, and yet it still feels like home.

If you grew up in the South, it’s likely the sight of chopped wood brings on a flood of memories: chainsaws, axes, hauling and stacking, a fire burning in an Ashley stove. As I walked up the stairs at Husk Nashville for the first time, a half cord of neatly stacked wood resting beside the entry welcomed me into a space filled with smoldering embers and warm bourbon. Dinner that night was bone marrow, a perfect bowl of shrimp and grits seasoned with a side of hickory smoke. My first experience at Husk Nashville set the bar high and it has been met or exceeded on every occasion since.

On a recent trip to Nashville, I returned to this place, which has become my customary first stop. I walked along the herringbone brick pathway through the hellebores and liriope grass surrounding the restaurant’s iron fence. Another shiny, new half-built structure now stands on the opposite corner of Rutledge Avenue. The home of Husk Nashville, a beautifully restored historic house blessed with soaring ceilings, original woodwork and lots of warm, red brick, stands in stark contrast to the sharp angles, iron skeletons and cranes that engulf Nashville’s horizon lately. Perched atop the high ground, the busy downtown unfurls below the foot of the restaurant. In a town that changes by the minute, it’s nice to sit down for a meal or a cocktail in a place that feels timeless.

Anyone who has visited Nashville during the past three years marvels at the city’s growth. Along with the skyline, the restaurant scene has exploded. Once a leader of the nascent farm-to-table movement in the city, Husk Nashville has matured, and restaurants offering upscale, locally sourced menus abound. What continues to distinguish Husk Nashville in a sea of new restaurants is consistency in its mission and complete commitment to striving for perfection. The menu here has always been dependent on the season, but the exceptional quality of the food, service and bar program has remained a constant.

Husk Nashville takes pride in offering diners the freshest and most flavorful produce, sourced as locally as possible. On the night of my most recent visit, a chalkboard near the entry announced the names of dozens of Southern farmers and makers including Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, Sunburst Trout, Bourbon Barrel Foods and Blackberry Farm Brewery. Husk Nashville has also developed an impressive and beautiful garden on its own grounds. The garden provides much of the produce used by the kitchen and a veritable “cocktail apothecary” is available to its bartenders just beyond the doorstep of the restaurant.

The cocktail I enjoyed on my recent visit was garnished with cucumbers and flowers picked that evening from the garden. Adam Morgan, a Nashville native, has been at the helm of the Husk Nashville bar since October 2017. His career in the hospitality industry spans nearly fourteen years. During that time, he has worked every single position, both front and back of house. Combining the ethos of hyper-seasonality and sustainability, he says his focus is “to pay respect to my surroundings and the ingredients that come with it.”

 

The impressive bar menu is famous for the bourbon offerings and local spirits. Nashville distillers Belle Meade, Prichard’s and Corsair are standards. If you have read the recent bestseller “The Dirty Guide to Wine, Following Flavor from Ground to Glass” by Alice Feiring, you’ll appreciate the wine menu here. Instead of the usual arrangement by grape, the Husk Bar wine list is organized by terroir and soil type with a preference for organic, family-run, sustainable producers.

And then there’s the cocktail menu. Always inventive, delicious and beautiful, the cocktails at Husk Nashville Bar are some of the best you will find across the South. Bar Manager Adam Morgan has kindly shared his recipe for a summer beverage featuring bourbon from Southern distiller Belle Meade. He calls it, The Clean Slate. This cocktail has a perfect flavor profile with great flavor, aroma and balance.

 

COCKTAIL RECIPE: The Clean Slate

  • 2 oz Belle Meade Bourbon
  • .75 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • .5 oz Fino Sherry
  • .25 oz Bonal
  • .25 oz Angostura Amaro
  • .25 oz Mint Syrup
  • Dash Cardamon Bitters

Instructions: Mix all ingredients and shake With ice. Strain into chilled rocks glass on rocks.

Garnish: Cucumber ribbon and flowers from the garden

If you’re in Nashville, find your way to the hilltop on Rutledge Avenue, and pull up a chair at the bar. Get comfortable, and be prepared to enjoy excellent cocktails, spirits, wine and non-alcoholic beverages infused with locally sourced flavor. The bar staff is extremely talented, friendly and knowledgeable.

Husk Nashville is open Monday thru Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch; Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch; and Sunday thru Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner; and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The restaurant is located at 37 Rutledge Street, Nashville, Tennessee. For reservations, call 615-256-6565 or online a husknashville.com.