Philly is famous for its Beer Week at this point, but rum is still hiding under the cocktail umbrella. Adam Kanter, owner of Rittenhouse’s Rum Bar, is hoping to change that with the inaugural Philly Rum Week, kicking off Tuesday.
Here’s why we’re toasting rum next week:
1. Rum deserves a closer look: It may be synonymous with punch bowls and beach bars, but rum cleans up pretty well, too. “Beer’s come a long way, but people don’t realize that rum’s come a long way over the past 20 years, too,” says Kanter. “People still think it’s just a mixer, and it can be, but some of the nice rums out there are as nice to sip as a scotch.”
2. There will be tiki time: On Thursday, Rum Bar is transforming into Duke’s Surf Bar, a tiki-style pop-up featuring 20 cocktails. Order one from the sweet, sour, spicy or strong menus, but just don’t ask what’s in it — keeping with tiki bar traditions, the recipes are a secret. “Tiki bars started in the 1930s. Every bar had a mai tai, but every bar had a different mai tai — not even the bartenders knew the recipes,” says Kanter.
3. We do, in fact, like pina coladas: Top-shelf tasting flights and secretive craft cocktails are great, but sometimes you just want a familiar fruity drink with a pretty garnish. On August 18, stop by Rum Bar to celebrate the Pina Colada’s 54th birthday. They’re serving up three versions — original, berry and spiced banana — in kitschy hollowed-out pineapples.
If you go
The first annual Philly Rum Week runs August 14-18 at Rum Bar (2005 Walnut St.). For a full list of events, visit www.phillyrumweek.com.