Going Down The Shore At The Franklin Bar

Taking a look at the new seasonal bar menu for the end of summer.

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Back to school is around the corner for most Philadelphia families, but the parents at least can still enjoy a little summer in a glass–four actually, at the Franklin Bar.

Down the Shore is head bartender Sara Justice’s latest edition of the bar’s cocktail tasting menu. Like her winter tasting Dutch Country Memories, this menu plays on seasonal flavors. One change to this menu is that Justice has edited it down to three drinks as well as an amuse bouche, which helps to keep each distinctive and it keeps the price point at a reasonable $35.

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Sign on for the menu and it kicks off with that amuse–a thimble of brandy from Ukiah, California-based distiller Germain-Robin. Rich in stone fruit flavors of apricots and plums, think of this as the basket of peaches purchased from a roadside stand on the drive from Philly to the shore, because that’s unmistakably where you’re heading next.

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The Surf Avenue is a pale blue tumbler of pearl ice topped with a pineapple leaf surfboard. Because why even bother with a Down the Shore themed menu unless you’re going to put Blue Curaçao in at least one of them? The bright blue orange-flavored liqueur is matched with two rums, tiki bitters, and pineapple juice, but genmaicha, green tea with roasted grains of rice, and a shower of fresh nutmeg (which could be sand in this particular diorama) give the drink a backbone of toasty, bitter warmth than keep it from being cloying.

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The second drink in the progression is the Under the Boardwalk, a fluted collins, complete with paper umbrella, that keeps things in tiki territory. More pearl ice and more rum here, this time with cream of coconut, lime, and passionfruit. Sipping it through a metal straw though, the trick of the drink comes through: the slow burn of fresh ginger, and the savory undertow of paprika tincture, allspice, and both celery and Chesapeake Bay bitters. The fragrance of the drink, sitting on top is black pepper, mustard, celery, and coriander, from a last minute dusting of Old Bay, right from the metal canister. There’s a lot going on here, it’s true, and the finished product has the appeal of Mexican tamarind candies, simultaneously fruity and tropical, while also being spicy and savory.

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Any beach day should retire eventually to the boardwalk, so the final drink in the tasting, Laughy Taffy, pulls flavor inspiration from salt water taffy. Justice infuses cognac with brown butter and then blends it with maple syrup, caramelized banana, and Killepitsch, a German amaro. A little saline pins the drink squarely in the kettle corn combination of sweet and salt. A fitting end to a day Down the Shore.

The Franklin Bar [Official]