Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Rittenhouse Row Fashion & Cocktail Crawl

Philly has a great number of fashion boutiques and, as expected, they're primarily centered around the Rittenhouse area. For those that aren't necessarily sartorially-inclined, it may be a bit intimidating. But have no fear. With the help of Corie from Gloss PR, I've discovered one of the best ways to check out what Philly fashion has to offer - the Rittenhouse Row Fashion & Cocktail Crawl. 

And like with most things, it helps to have a drink in hand, especially when they're free. An added bonus? These custom cocktails were created by some of the city's best mixologists, hailing from restaurants ranging from Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga's Fat Ham to Iron Chef Jose Garces' Tinto & Village Whiskey!

So what exactly is the Rittenhouse Row Fashion Crawl? In addition to some of the area's hottest boutiques offering up great deals and prizes, the city's best restaurants partnered up to provide cocktails for you to enjoy while perusing the racks. Let it be known that there were quite a few tasty bites on hand as well, including indulgent macarons at Lagos Jewelry and sliders and cupcakes at Stars & Stripes. But let's get on with the drinks!

 Rouge | Skirt
The Snow Berry
Jim Beam Apple, cranberry, cinnamon-infused syrup, fresh rosemary

Clearly in the holiday spirit, Rouge's mixologist offered up a festive cocktail that tasted like a green Jolly Rancher that somehow wasn't cloyingly sweet, thanks to the fresh rosemary and cinnamon. A visual stunner as well thanks to the candied "snow"berries and the rosemary "X-mas tree" branch.

Ranstead Room | Joan Shepp
Devil Wears Shepp
Jim Beam Devil's Cut, champagne, black walnut bitters, lemon juice, maple syrup

Joan Shepp had two mixologists in house. El Rey's Ranstead Room offered up a tipple that belied the Devil's Cut underneath, with the champagne providing some effervescence and the maple syrup and black walnut bitters providing some subtly smooth sweetness.

Tinto | Joan Shepp 
Pinnacle vodka, Dolin vermouth, bitters, housemade ginger simple syrup, star anise

As one can expect, Tinto had a Basque-inspired cocktail. It centered around a vodka martini, with a wonderful housemade ginger simple syrup that paired well with the star anise.

Crow & the Pitcher | DFTI Boutique
Stiletto in the Snow
Barrel-aged Pinnacle vodka, maraschino liqueur, cranberry marmalade, orange liqueur, egg white snow foam

Crow & the Pitcher's was simply a stunner. The vodka was aged for a few days and poured right out of the bourbon barrel. Shaken with maraschino and orange liqueur along with some cranberry marmalade, this had a nice tartness. The iSi egg white foam was a nice touch and caught a few giggles and stares at my snow foam mustache.

Alma de Cuba | Stars & Stripes
Hornitos tequila, Leblon cachaca, blood orange, lime

In deference to both the cuisine offered at Alma de Cuba and Stars & Stripes' name, the Bandera was highly reminiscent of El Vez's blood orange margaritas. I enjoyed the addition of the cachaca, which provided an additional backbone of sweetness.  

Sbraga | Shop Sixty Five 
Fire and Apples
Jim Beam Apple, apple cider, housemade pomegranate, lemon juice, Jim Beam Fire cream 

Sbraga's offering featured cider, which was accentuated by the Jim Beam apple. The cinnamon cream helped to impart some balance to the initial tartness of each sip. | ellelauri 
Saturday in the Park
Jim Beam Honey, lemon juice, banana clove syrup, walnut liqueur

A lot of work went into's offering centered around Jim Beam Honey. It's hard to impart banana essence due to the starchiness of the fruit. But the housemade banana clove syrup definitely worked and paired well with the smooth mellow elements from the walnut liqueur. Delicious.

The Prime Rib | Lagos 
(B)old City
Pinnacle vodka, Reeds ginger beer, bitters, lime, orange, mint

The taste of a proper Moscow Mule were definitely present here with the vodka, lime, and the ginger beer. The orange and bitters added a nice countervailing element to balance out the sweetness.

CODA | Calypso St. Barth
Jim Beam Honey-Hattan
Jim Beam Honey, sweet vermouth, orange peel

CODA's was a straight take on a classic bourbon Manhattan - smooth with the sweetness of the Jim Beam Honey shining through.

Village Whiskey | Knit Wit
No Turn on Red
Jim Beam Devil's Cut, arperol, Dolin vermouth, grenadine, orange bitters

Village Whiskey's amalgamation of the Blinker (rye, grapefruit, grenadine) and the Boulevardier (whiskey, Campari, vermouth) worked rather well, especially with the marrying element of Jim Beam's Devil's Cut, An apropos end to the crawl, with a subtly stiffer drink. 

So if you're looking for something to keep you warm during the winter weather or want a great way to shop the racks, I'd highly recommend checking out the annual Rittenhouse Row Fashion Crawl. Pro-tip: Go after brunch so all of those drinks have a place to settle! 

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