Philadelphia is hot in the Summer. Hotter than Chicago. Too hot to be productive. Better to wile the time away with a cocktail. Below are a few places we visited on a recent trip.
The Farmer's Cabinet in Washington Square West: an extensive cocktail menu broken down by drink style. Most are complicated and fruit/fresh herb centric. It reminds me of our style of cocktail making - a little too complicated and rough with raw ingredients - no surprise that the cocktail maven is a lady. We're thinkers.
We enjoyed the From the Garden/Herb/Basil cocktail: Lemongrass Infused Pisco Torontel, Fernet Branca, Chamomile Simple Syrup, Basil, Thyme, Lemon, Egg White, Basil Leaf Garnish. P.S. It's a relief to me that there's a story behind the bar's name that also explains the complexity of ingredients.
In honor of Fishtown (where we stayed*), the scorching heat, and simplicity, we give you the classic Philly Fish House Punch.
Fish House Punch by David Wondrich**
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
2 quarts water
1 quart lemon juice
2 quarts dark rum
1 quart cognac
4 ounces peach brandy
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and only enough water to dissolve. Then incorporate the lemon juice. Next, add the spirits and the rest of the water -- or as much as you wish to contribute (less in summer, to allow for meltage). Slip in as large a block of ice as you can procure. (Use your imagination -- if worse comes to worst, a mixing bowl full of water that's been frozen overnight will do the trick; run a little hot water on the outside of the bowl to unmold.) Let stand in a cool place for an hour or so before serving. Do not garnish with fruit, herb, vegetable, or paper umbrella.
For individual portions:
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
2 ounces spring water 1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces dark Jamaican rum
1 ounce cognac
1/8 ounce peach brandy
*Thanks to Franny and Willie!
**Sometimes we feel like a mere conduit for David Wondrich's recipes and espouses on cocktails, but we can't help ourselves - he's so dammed good at what he does.