When it comes to summer cocktails, there is a line of reasoning that says to keep things light, clear, airy and fresh. Well, it’s hot out there, and some of us need a stiff, complex, chilled – but not freezing – cold drink (this ain’t dessert, kids) to cut through the humidity. Here are several strong, new cocktails from Philly bars and restaurants that live up to my expectations.
Cocktails from Philly bars and restaurants you have to try
Numbered Redemption cocktails at Spice Finch (220 S 17th St.)
To cut through the boldly definitive, mod-Mediterranean flavors of chefs Jennifer Carroll and Billy Riddle spirited cuisine, you need a definitive, solid drink to get you there. Hence, the Redemption line, which moves handsomely from #3 – the sweet, but kicking cocktail with Midori, Japanese whiskey, green chartreuse, ginger, wasabi and egg white – to Redemption #4. That’s the hard one served neat with Jägermeister, Mezcal, agave and rosewater.
Scorpion Bowl at The Patio at Spring Arts (500 N 10th St.)
Yes, technically, this wide, white bowl filled with Finlandia vodka, New Amsterdam gin, house made grenadine, several strong rums (Don Q Anejo and Cristal) and the potent juice of tropical fruits is meant to be shared by a close knit group of friends. I have no friends when it comes to drinking something so decadently delicious and impactful on so many levels. Don’t eat the candle, by the way.
Corpse Reviver #2 at Walnut Street Café (2929 Walnut St.)
Hayman’s ‘Royal Dock’ Gin, Curaçao, Lillet Blanc, Arak and lemon – shaken, not stirred like a Bond martini. One is a cool dream, a hammock in the shade with freshly-mowed dewy grass below you. Three of them, and you’re a character in “Trainspotting.” The drink’s name? So apt.
The Poet at Suraya (1528 Frankford Ave.)
Not your father’s gin sour, I can tell you that. This herb-heavy concoction starts with Bluecoat gin, begins its bitter climb with a dose Persian lime syrup, a little fresh cucumber puree, genepy liqueur and the aeromantic whisk of Lebanese za’atar and tart sumac, all cascaded with foam from aquafaba. Pucker up.