There’s (finally) a winter-is-coming chill in the air, which means it’s high time to put that margarita down and switch to rich, cold season cocktails.
Liberte Lounge, 120 S. 17th St.
Strike up a conversation with a stranger passing through town — or a Rittenhouse local enjoying a post-work drink — at Liberte Lounge on the ground floor of the Sofitel hotel. ChefJustinPerdue is pouring a version of hot rum butter: the Grand Rum Butter with clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, cane sugar and vanilla ice cream, plus Grand Marnier and lemon. Or go for Philadelphia Distilling Company’s addition to the Liberte bar, a Buttermilk Fizz with buttermilk, maple syrup rosemary and cinnamon.
Hop Sing Laundromat, 1029 Race St.
Philly knew how good the cocktails were at this speakeasy-style spot in Chinatown long before Conde Nast Traveler named it one of the 30 best bars in the world. Stand in front of the unmarked door, wait to be allowed in, and then order Bitter Ending, made with just two ingredients, Cynar 70 and Bulldog Gin, for a Campari-like taste but with a fuller body. Bottoms up.
Al la mode
Hard Rock Café, 11th and Market
Hard Rock might be best known for music memorabilia, but the chain takes its cocktails pretty seriously — the Philly outpost is hosting the regional round of Hard Rock’s Global BARocker bartender competition Monday, and the public is invited watch it all go down. While you’re there, sip on the seasonal She’s My Apple Pie, made with Fireball cinnamon Whiskey, apple juice, pineapple juice, hard cider and Monin Salted Caramel, topped off with whipped cream and cinnamon and decorated with a cinnamon cookie.
Charlie was a sinner, 131 S. 13th St.
The all vegan, largely plant-based menu draws the attention at this long, narrow, dim restaurant from Nicole Marquis (Hip City Veg, Café Bombon) but the inventive cocktail list — also vegan — deserves its own accolades. Warm up with the Bulleye: It’s Woodford Reserve bourbon infused with faro, plus Meletti amaro and absinthe. Grab a sit on the bench behind the tiny tables up front; it’s calmer than the dining room.