When the whir of air conditioners becomes white noise and blankets of humidity are a given, cocktail choices get rough. Smoky Scotches tend to lose their appeal, and even the chilliest martini doesn’t hold the allure of an icy, fruit-forward long drink. Here’s a handpicked menu of porch-sippers from a few of our favorite barkeeps.
Jennifer Conley of Stateside (1536 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-551-2500, statesidephilly.com) has crafted a South Philly sangria with backbone using Rittenhouse Rye shaken with lemon juice and simple syrup, finished off with a pinot-noir float and seasonal fruit (this week: apricots).
Dan Carr’s Rye Lemonade at Pub & Kitchen (1946 Lombard St., 215-545-0350, thepubandkitchen.com) is “the cocktail equivalent to a Philadelphia fire hydrant on full blast.” Rye meets herbs by way of a housemade tarragon-caraway syrup. Bitter-orange Torani Amer rounds out rye pepperiness.
The Industry’s (1401 E Moyamensing Ave., 215-271-9500, theindustrybar.com) Bob Achilles’ cocktail list would be just as much at home poolside as in Pennsport. The Lucky Loser is a riff on the Pimm’s Cup and a nod to his British roots: Pimm’s No. 1, Bluecoat, lemon, ginger beer and cucumber simple syrup.
Cristina Tessaro has done a bang-up job with her exotic-infusions cocktail program at London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave., 215-978-4545, londongrill.com). After a pilgrimage to Portland’s Thai-food and vinegar-based-cocktails mecca, Pok Pok, peach-infused mild coconut vinegar serves as the base of her Persian Tart, a puckery mix of Rhuby, rhubarb bitters, served over ice with club soda.
With a menu subheader that reads “I asked her for water but she brought me gasoline,” you might not think to venture into Franklin Mortgage (112 S. 18th St., 267-467-3277, thefranklinbar.com) for heat relief. Here are liquid-AC picks from Franklineers Colin Shearn and Al Sotack.
Shearn’s Psycho Cupid, named for a dark track from post-punkers The Mekons, blends Genever with lemon, raspberry syrup and Peychaud’s; then it's shaken and served tall over crushed ice with a few raspberries.
Banking on the Collins’ refreshment factor, Sotack hands over The Poison Ivy: Beefeater, lime and honey, with dandelion-burdock bitters and quinine duo of tonic and Bonal Gentiane-Quina.
Steer clear of watery light beer and poorly muddled mojitos and into the hands of these thoughtful bartenders who ensure coolness for the rest of the summer.