Taste: Spirits: Rye Times

Apothecary puts its signature on a new nightlife scene

You’ve heard, of course, of the Manhattan. Whiskey, sweet vermouth and cherry, it’s the granddaddy of all signature cocktails, evoking the elegance and power of 19th-century New York even more vividly than the Tang rim of the Continental’s Buzz Aldrin conjures the heady early days of Old City nightlife. But have you heard of the Brooklyn? The Park Slope? The Red Hook? The Midtown Village? Just wait; you will. No up-and-coming neighborhood arrives without a cocktail calling card.

A few years ago, there wasn’t a neighborhood at all here on 13th Street where club-sleek Apothecary Bar + Lounge (102 South 13th Street, 215-735-7500, apothecarylounge.com) shares the block with Lolita and Capogiro. This was simply the fringe — and we mean the fringe — of the Gayborhood. Then came the real estate developers, the marketers, and the blessedly short-lived moniker B3 (Blocks Below Broad). Now the quickly changing corridor has a new identity — trendy food, trendy shopping — and yet another name: Midtown Village.

The bartenders at Apothecary (along with cocktail consultants the Tippling Bros.) can work with that. Among the classics on the bar’s extensive cocktail menu is the Midtown Village. Like the Manhattan, it’s a stiff drink. But the rye is softened with the caramel sweetness of port and the surprising saffron and spice of a bitter Italian amaro.

At Apothecary, it’s catching on. But the bar’s most popular cocktail might be a more accurate picture of the new nightlife scene: the gin-based Booty Collins, made with yohimbe and valerian root — both natural aphrodisiacs.

To make Apothecary’s Midtown Village:

2 ounces Old Overholt rye whiskey

1 ounce Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth

3/4 ounce Graham’s Six Grapes ruby port

1/4 ounce Averna amaro

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 dashes Regans’ orange bitters

Pour ingedients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a Les Parisiennes brandied cherry and an orange twist.