Drinking in Philly

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.

Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Rittenhouse Square: in the basement of an office building. Cozy but with enough booze, tinctures, bitters and syrups to make anything. We were a little bummed that cocktails are $12-15 a piece when they're more like $9-12 in Chicago, but liquor in general is more expensive in Philly.

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Old City: a curio shop with an herbal liqueur line. I really enjoy the ethos - they seem to limit what they offer only based on what they like - cocktails, clothing, art, books... They also had a wall dedicated to the history of Philadelphia and William Penn (Philly's Daniel Burnham - ok, Penn was wayyy earlier).

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.

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