May 7, 2011

Cocktails Garnished with Brotherly Love

There are so many different elements to master in the restaurant/bar business - food, drinks, service, ambiance, price, marketing - that it's nearly impossible to master everything, causing even the hottest spots to close shop quickly.

That's why it is so cool to see two local establishments - Supper and the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. - teaming up to share what they each do best. Last year, Supper Chef Mitch Prensky developed a seasonal menu of bar snacks for The Franklin. (Fitting, as Supper did win Best of Philly Bar Snacks last year). Now The Franklin is creating seasonal drinks for Supper's cocktail menu. Brotherly love is filling the springtime air!

We recently previewed the new cocktails and they were deeee-lish. I highly recommend putting Supper on your to-do list for this spring/summer, even just to chill at the bar. 22nd & Philly is also determined to hit up The Franklin asap. We've never been and although the following drinks are only available at Supper, we have complete faith that anything else drinkmaster Colin Shearn creates, and super smooth bartender "Mike" mixes up, will be tasty.

Two drinks tied as my favorites, the Village Green Preservation Society and the Station to Station. Both served in martini glasses, both ideal for a warm summer day/night, and both dangerously easy to suck down in three minutes or less.

Station to Station (left) and the Village Green Preservation Society (right)

Village Green is made of Hendrick's Gin, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, Dolin dry vermouth and orange bitters, and then garnished with a mint leaf. Admittedly, I never drink gin because to me it always tasted like the bark of a Christmas tree, but the Village Green may just recruit me onto Team Gin. It doesn't have a strong taste of anything, and is rather just a great, refreshing combo of light flavors to cap off a long hot day.

I learned that mint leaves only contribute positively to the flavor but if they are appropriately applied. It takes no more than smacking a mint leaf once between your palms to "bruise" it enough to let out the right essence. Try this at home and you'll find a striking difference from when you crush them with one of those mallet-looking things. That releases too much other bad stuff that ruins the taste of your mojito. Plus the single smack is a great attention grabber for parties. People will just have to ask why you did it.

The Station to Station has Lairds BIB (apple brandy), Pimms, lemon juice, Saint Germain (elderflower liquor), simple syrup and Peychaud bitters. Also a light spring/summer drink, but the Saint Germain gives it a sweeter, perhaps more girly taste to it than the Village Green. The bartender called Saint Germain as "catnip for girls." Meow, it worked on me.

Electric Warrior
Fun fact: Supposedly, the only person outside the Laird family to ever know the recipe for the apply brandy was George Washington, as the family distillery dates back more than 300 years - in New Jersey mind you. All sorts of other great historical facts are on the Lairds website

I also tried the Electric Warrior (left), a rum drink with grapefruit juice, lime juice, grenadine, simple syrup and Angostura bitters. It was the sweetest of the group, but not too sweet. The grapefruit juice gives it a refreshingly different flavor than most drinks in these pomegranate-obsessed times. Doesn't it just look inviting?

The Odessey & Oracle and the Aftermath were far stronger than the preceding three, made for sipping over an extended period of time. The former has Wild Turkey Rye (which you can really taste, so if you don't care for bourbon, don't get it), Cocchi Americano Apertif, Dolin Rouge Sweet Vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse and Angostura bitters. Don't ask me what all that stuff is... Bradd enjoyed the drink but it wasn't my cup of tea so I only had a sip. 

The Aftermath
The Aftermath (right) has Espolon Reposado tequila, Campari, Bonal, Kahlua and orange bitters. Of all the drinks, it really should be treated as the "aftermath" because it's very intense. Also not my personal fav but I can think of plenty of men and stronger women than me who would like it. For Bradd, it was reminiscent of the "Spritz" in Venice - the common aperitif for locals made with Aperol. Campari is very similar and really drives the taste of the Aftermath.

What's with the drink names? All 60's and 70's British rock band albums! Drinkmaster Colin said his philosophy is simple: put a fresh twist on ingredients and drinks that people already enjoy, and people will love it as something new and different. If that sounds familiar, Chef Prensky takes the same outlook at Supper. Brothers from another mother, I tell you. 

And thus the British rock band album titles. Each band brought a unique twist and flavor to an already-strong music scene, and the public went bananas for it. Clever idea, and fitting, too, as each Franklin/Supper cocktail mixes comfort with just enough "new" to make for a special night out.

Without using Google, can you name the band that matches each cocktail name?

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