October 21, 2015
Leaf peeping season is upon us and bartenders are updating their drink lists. Here's a sampling of local cocktails to toast the arrival of sweater weather.
On the ground floor of the Goldtex building in the Loft District, bar Manager Christina Rando mixes stellar drinks to go with Chef Brian Ricci’s flavor-packed skewers and small plates. Rando’s refreshing, appley Little Sparrow ($10) — with Calvados, herbaceous Averna amaro, rosemary honey and lemon — is the perfect thirst quencher on those in-between weather days of early fall.
Brick and Mortar, 315 N. 12th St., (215) 923-1596
For brunch and day-drinking options, head to this Old City gelateria and pizzeria where owner Stephanie Reitano offers riffs on the Sgroppino (traditionally made in Italy with lemon sorbetto, vodka and Prosecco). The Pera ($10), for example, combines pear sorbetto with Dad’s Hat rye and Prosecco. On frigid evenings when slushy cocktails are not an option, look to warming drinks like the Bitter Nonna ($10), with heirloom apple cider, Campari and Bulleit bourbon.
Capofitto, 233 Chestnut St., (215) 897-9999
Head bartender Sara Justice is on a roll with her seasonal cocktail tasting menus (like summer's “Down the Shore” list) and the debut of a casual bar upstairs from the lounge. Justice’s next tasting menu won’t appear until November, but in the meantime, tequila lovers will appreciate the contest she’s hosting with local brand Siembra Azul. Four Franklin mixologists created drinks featuring Suro Extra Añejo; drink sales over the course of a month will determine the winner.
The Franklin, 112 S. 18th St., (267) 467-3277
At this Chinatown spot, named one of the best bars in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, owner Lê has two notable -- and very boozy -- creations in the works. The Abbey Road ($12) is a combo of two Knob Creek bourbons — the single-barrel reserve 120 proof and the smoked maple — and Cynar (an artichoke bitter liqueur), with a twist of lemon. Those who enjoy cold-weather brown spirits more in theory than reality should try the Mack the Knife ($12): Kronan Swedish punsch liqueur and Angostura orange bitters lend a golden autumnal hue to Belvedere Unfiltered vodka.
Hop Sing Laundromat, 1029 Race St.
Beverage Manager Matt Polzin and his staff are revamping a good chunk of the drink menu at the historic Bookbinder’s building in Old City. A fall-oriented tiki cocktail, the Pinkerton's Folly ($13) is a mix of rum infused with warming spices, house-made orgeat (almond syrup with sugar) and lime over crushed ice. The frothy, creamy Monseuir Lesieur Flip ($14) blends Cognac, Cointreau, Cruzan Black Strap rum, allspice dram and a whole egg; it’s topped with Scotch Ale and sprinkled with nutmeg.
The Olde Bar, 125 Walnut St., (215) 253-3777
At this new Korean-inspired gastropub with talented Chef Clara Park in the kitchen, bar manager Juan Bustamante has introduced the SouthGate Shandy ($9) for fall. It’s a riff on a “somec” (beer mixed with soju, the popular clear Korean spirit). Here, the beer is Southern Tier Pumpking, and the drink gets a nice citrusy tartness from “citron tea,” or yuzu marmalade.
SouthGate, 1801 Lombard St., (215) 560-8443
JB Bernstein, bar manager at star chef Greg Vernick’s busy Rittenhouse restaurant, associates fall with the Concord grapes that grew in his childhood backyard in New England. For his latest in-season drink list, he combines fresh Concord grape juice with pisco, Batavia arrack (a Javanese spirit made from fermented sugarcane and rice), citrus and an egg white ($14). His d’Anjou pear sparkler ($14) blends poached pear puree with dry gin, Pommeau de Normandie (an appley apéritif) and cava.
Vernick Food & Drink, 2013 Walnut St., (267) 639-6644