I had my first drink yesterday at noon and followed it with a 2nd, 3rd and 4th, at roughly hourly intervals, right up until 7pm when our Philadelphia’s Signature Cocktail event kicked off at Cook. And that’s when I started drinking for real.
I did not follow this process because I am a shameless drunk, but because sometimes the liver–like a pet, a small child or a recalcitrant employee–must be shown who’s boss. It must occasionally be sat down and given a stern talking to–explaining to it, in the only language it understands, that tonight is going to be a work night and it needs to be at the top of its game.
The good news? Mine performed admirably over the course of a great night and many cocktails and I saw the morning just as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as ever I am. The better news? By the time the dust had settled last night–once all the civilian judges had been gathered, all the drinks had been poured and consumed and (occasionally) re-poured and re-consumed, once all the ballot sheets had been collected, accidentally left in the backseat of a car, recovered and tabulated–we had ourselves a winner. A true Philadelphia cocktail which, from now and until forever, will stand as this city’s official cocktail: the alcoholic summation of everything wonderful, sweet, shocking and bitter about this city.
And the only drag? We can’t tell you what it is.
No, that secret will only be revealed in the November issue of Philadelphia magazine–as the heart and soul of our feature on drinking in Love City.
But as a consolation, I can tell you this: There was not one cocktail served last night (save one) that couldn’t proudly stand as Philly’s boozy namesake. Five of the six that were shaken, poured and consumed could proudly stand on any cocktail list in the city, win fans, make money for careful bartenders and owners. I would happily drink all of them again–even if one of them I might only do on a bet.
So once again, I am including the recipes for all six below.
Cheers, Philly. This one’s for you.
Last Call in Rittenhouse
3/4 oz Rye (Rittenhouse or Wild Turkey)
3/4 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Angostura bitters
1/4 oz Lime
Shake and double strain, serve up. Should look a little murky and mysterious with a touch of red.
1.5 oz Batavia Arrack van Oosten
.75 oz Amoro Montenegro
.5 oz Cocchi Americano
3 dashes Falernum bitters
stir for 15 seconds in mixing glass with cracked ice. strain into chilled, petite (no more than 5oz in size) cocktail glass. no garnish.
Colin Shearn (An extra inclusion, made special for last night’s party)
2 oz Bluecoat gin
1/3 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz creme de cassis
Combine in a shaker, shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish, please.
Dirty Salty Liberty
3 oz Vodka or Gin
1/2 oz olive juice
Splash beef stock
Garnished with a cube of aged cheddar wrapped with beef jerky and a sprig of thyme. (Thyme because we have a touch of class, what?!)
Stirred and served up in a chilled martini glass
City Hall Cocktail
1 oz. Laird’s bonded
1 oz. Rye (Rittenhouse if you can find it, Turkey if you can’t)
3/4 oz. Bual Madiera (Rare Wine Co. Franklin Reserve)
1/4 oz. Cynar
Serve up, well chilled, with lemon twist.
Housemade Raspberry Puree
Fresh Lemon Juice
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with mint leaves