For the whole month of November, the Continental in Old City is celebrating Spirit Month. And if you order a cocktail that features local spirits, including those from Philadelphia Distilling, the drinks are just $7.
I remember when Philadelphia Distilling Company first released Bluecoat Gin, the craft distillery’s flagship spirit. “Gin made in Philly?!” people would say when I told them about it. “No thanks.”
Nearly a decade later, no decent, self-respecting Philadelphia bar is without a bottle of Bluecoat on the shelf, and it is available in dozens of states. But now Bluecoat’s creator, Philadelphia Distilling Company master distiller and co-founder Robert Cassell (that’s him on the bottom), is leaving the company.
After 9 p.m. at Emmanuelle tonight is a special industry fundraiser. The Northern Liberties cocktail bar will be offering special cocktails made with Philadelphia Distilling products. Jen Carroll will also be lending a hand, whipping up free snacks. The cocktails are $5 and the night is also a fundraiser for Wine to Water, a charity that aims to bring clean water to people around the world.
Emmanuelle [Official Site]
Today, Philadelphia Distilling announced its newest product, The Bay – Seasoned Vodka. The “traditional Chesapeake Bay seasoning” flavored vodka will be available in one liter bottles. Whether this is a good or bad thing, we’ll refrain from commenting on until we try it. At the very least, it provides a savory alternative to all those sweet cotton candy, icing flavored vodkas. And we could see it working in a Bloody Mary. But we wonder, why not something more local, like shad flavored vodka? Never mind, we think we know Philadelphia Distilling master distiller, Robert Cassell skipped that.
Philadelphia Distilling [Facebook]
The Michael Samschick proposal for Canal Street North, an entertainment center planned for Fishtown that we described yesterday, was approved by the Fistown Neighbors Association last night. According FNA’s live tweets of the public meeting the project was supported 72-17.
What we now know from last night’s meeting is that the music venue will be a Fillmore Theater run by Live Nation and that parts of Canal Street will be turned into a pedestrian plaza with outdoor dining. We also have it on good authority that the distillery set for Canal Street North will be ….
Early Monday morning, Philadelphia Distilling Company master distiller and co-founder Robert Cassell showed up for work expecting to begin the tedious process of distilling Vieux Carre, PDC’s absinthe that debuted in 2008. The only problem? No wormwood, the controversial herb used in absinthe and one that some say causes hallucinations but almost certainly doesn’t. Cassell normally gets the herb from a farm in Switzerland. But not this week. “I asked my assistant where the wormwood was, but he said it hadn’t arrived yet,” explains Cassell. “I said, WHAT? It was supposed to be here last week!” And without wormwood, there could be no Vieux Carre.
Bill H.B. 242 will allow Pennsylvania distillers to sell their product on site and in two satellite locations has passed the state senate and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Corbett. With the law going on the books, look for Philadelphia Distilling’s Robert Cassell to open “a more tourist-friendly facility near Center City.” [Philly Post]
Also in Bill H.B. 242, brunch can start earlier as restaurants, hotels and country clubs will be allowed to serve alcohol on Sundays at 9 a.m., as long as it is served with a meal.
The third piece of good news in the bill is that beer distributors will now be allowed to sell beer from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. More than double the current noon to 5 p.m. hours.
On Tuesday, Cook (the collaborative kitchen, classroom and experimental food lab from Audrey Claire Taichman) had its unofficial opening night–a kind of friends-and-family, pre-sold, not-exactly-open-to-the-public event which featured Georges Perrier behind the bright and shiny-new Wolf range, cooking and chatting and generally just being his charming, French-y self. I didn’t go to this event, but did call the next morning to see how things went–wanting to make sure that the place hadn’t caught fire (looking at you, Spread Bagelry), that no SWAT teams had been called, that there hadn’t been a last-minute decision to just junk the whole cooking school idea and turn the place into a sushi bar. On an opening night, that’s really all I expect of a new operation: Don’t catch fire, don’t perform any kind of panicky conceptual U-turns and don’t make the 11 o’clock news in any way that would involve a police captain being interviewed and saying something like, “At this point, we don’t even know how many hostages are inside…” I’ve been through enough restaurant openings in my time to know that no one should really ask for anything more than that. If you make it through the night with no sirens, that should be considered a smashing victory.
Wednesday was a down day at 20th and Rittenhouse. A recovery day. And then came Thursday–the official first night of business, which also happened to be the sold-out Foobooz/Philly mag/Philadelphia Distilling Gin-o-Rama. The real-world version of the Gin Universe guide we did a couple weeks back. And I was there for that, right from the start. Honestly, I’m still recovering today.
Click through the jump for a wrap-up of the opening night festivities and a Foobooz exclusive sneak-preview of Cook’s October schedule…
After many months of experimentation, delays, and inevitable late-night taste-testing at their Northeast Philadelphia industrial park facility, Philadelphia Distilling, the producers of Vieux Carre Absinthe, Penn 1681 Vodka, and the revered Bluecoat Gin are finally bottling XXX Shine, their white whiskey that pays homage to Pennsylvania’s moonshine heritage (who knew?). Read more »