Archive for June 2012

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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Fit for a Room: Take 4

Fourth post in the series where we take a room and then we pair a drink with the room. Why? Because it's a fun exercise. Because we like interiors and art and culture and this gives us the opportunity to see how cocktail culture fits in.

Often people ask us to explain our blog. First and foremost it's a cocktail blog, but it's also a culture blog, a learning blog, an exploring blog. We try to be well-rounded people. We want to mix in lively libations with interesting people, and the ideas and notions that make life exciting.

Above and below is the work of Gregory Crewdson who produces beautiful, lonesome and mystical photos of suburban life. For the kitchen/garden photo above, we're pairing the classic Rusty Nail cocktail. Can you see the husband standing there, just out of the frame, watching his expressionless wife, drink in hand? Is he contemplating how well the earthiness of the scotch and the honey and botanicals of the Drambuie mirror his wife's state of being? Probably not.

Rusty Nail
3 parts Scotch
1 part Drambuie

Build in an ice-filled rocks glass and stir.

Notes: David Wondrich says it best on his Esquire write-up of the Rusty Nail: " Once the Rusty Nail found its identity, it found its home. With its combo of swank ingredients (Drambuie ain't cheap), homey comfort (the liqueur and ice blunt any edge the liquor might have), and foolproof construction (there's really no way to fuck this one up -- if it's too sweet, just add more Scotch), the Rusty Nail is to the classic suburban rec room as coffee is to the church basement."

I found a noteworthy recipe for making Drambuie on shaving forum?!? Badger and Blade:

1 bottle Blended Scotch
Peel of 1/2 a lemon
Peel of 1/2 an orange
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves
A good bit of Angostura
5oz honey

Let it sit for a week or two, shake until it's all dissolved and strain.

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