For the majority of industries, the trend seems to be going back to the past - whether it's in the movies, fashion, and even food. Speakeasy-type establishments appear to satiate that craving while appeasing those who want to be in the know - specifically about where they can get a good drink around town. Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. was one of the first in Center City to provide such an atmosphere - complete with an obscure entrance. But on a weekend night, just sniff out the line in front of an atypical doorman/bouncer - they lead to some stairs down below.
Despite the notoriety surrounding Al Capone, the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. apparently served as a front for the largest alcohol ring in the country. And in the spirit of both the bygone era and the noble bartending craft, Franklin celebrates finely crafted drinks and the surreptitious spirit sometimes involved in imbibing them.
They have a bevy of cocktails on offer, categorized as Easy Going, The Flowing Bowl, Rebellious Spirits, I Asked For Water She Brought Me Gasoline, and Cool It Down. It could be seen as a veritable progression in how the night should go.
With 4 of us in tow, we scored one of the leather booths, offering a sleek environment for us to knock back a few.
La Loup Garou [$12]
Barbancourt 4 year rum, Amontilladdo sherry, lime juice, cane syrup, Peychaud's bitters, muddle strawberry, up
Entering the Easy Going territory, the ladies decided to try this rum and sherry-base tipple. Sweet, tangy, and citrusy, with the bitters adding a bit of complexity, this was easy going indeed. Dangerously so.
Lamp Lighter Punch [$14]
Laird's apple brandy, Pierre Ferrand ambre cognac, creme de cassis, lemon juice, pink earl grey tea syrup, teapot bitters, rosewater
From The Flowing Bowl, we saw a new drink created for late last year. The punch was just as easy going, with an added smoothness from the cognac and brandy, brightened by the addition of lemon juice and rosewater. The earl grey syrup and teapot bitters helped to ground the drink from becoming too sweet.
Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Dolin dry vermouth, Peychaud's bitters, orange marmalade, up
It's hard for me to say no to bourbon, let alone Buffalo Trace. So entering into the Rebellious Spirits territory, the classic tastes of a Manhattan were all there.
The Carpano Antica and orange marmalade lent a smooth sweetness to the finish, with the burnt orange rind and the Peychaud's adding complexity.
Banana infused Flor de Cana 4 year & 7 year rum, Bols Genever, brown sugar syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, rock
From the gasoline menu came forth this rum-based cocktail, ordered with extra Circumstance. Really smooth, licorice and smoke emanated through the sweet, almost creaminess of this drink.
Philly is home to many great bars and other speakeasies as well. With good reason, Hop Sing Laundromat has received much of praise over the past few years for the latter. Still, there's a reason that Franklin Mortgage has been here even longer. The service is exemplary, the drinks are creative, and more importantly, they're delicious.