Adam Erace Adam Erace battles adult on-set diabetes and cankles as the restaurant critic for the Philadelphia City Paper. He also writes about food and travel for publications like Details, Fodor's and Southern Living. He lives in South Philly with his wife, Charlotte, and two rescue mutts, Lupo and Marco.
As I walk through the valley of the Av’nue Passyunk, I take a look at my cup and realize I’m not drunk. Fortunately, the concrete-topped trapezoid that is the bar at Stateside opens at 4:30 for happy hour, and I’ve been spending most of my night thinking ’bout their Gangsta’s Pearadise.
Brown liquor is Stateside’s raison d’être, and for the Gangsta’s Pearadise — inaugural subject of City Paper’s new Cocktail Hour column — bar manager Christian Jacobson reaches for 94-proof Rebellion Bourbon. “We use Rebellion because this is a cocktail that’s a little sweet,” he explains. “It has a lot of heat and smokiness to balance that.”
Jacobson shakes the bourbon with pear puree, lemon juice and simple syrup that’s steeped while warm with whole black peppercorns, then strains the apricot-colored concoction into a double Old-Fashioned glass over fresh rocks. He garnishes with cracked black pepper, a freckling on the frothy surface, and a piece of vanilla bean on the rim.
Considering there’s no vanilla in the drink, it’s crazy how pronounced the vanilla is. The fragrance caresses the nose as you lift the Pearadise to take a sip. Delicately fruity and nectar-like, pear follows the vanilla, then a deep bourbon bass note of oakiness. The pepper comes last, an insistent heat on the finish.
“There are a lot of people who are interested in getting into bourbon, but don’t want something so boozy as a Manhattan or Old-Fashioned,” says Jacobson. “This is an easy approach to dark liquor.”
• 2 ounces Rebellion Bourbon
• 2 ounces pear puree
• ¼ ounce peppercorn simple syrup
• ¾ ounce lemon juice
• Black pepper (garnish)
• Vanilla bean (garnish)
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a double Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with fresh, cracked black pepper and a piece of split vanilla bean.
French fare done just right by Bibou's Pierre and Charlotte Calmels
Most 21st-century parents have one or two kids. Pierre and Charlotte Calmels have five. Roll call:...
The week in eats
Pizza & Beer Happy Hour at Nomad Roman, Thu., March 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m., pay as you go ...
New restaurants and cafes
Baker’s Jar | We’re happy to say that the cupcake’s moment in the sun has passed. The...