By Stasia DeMarco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Emmanuelle, located behind PYT at the Piazza at Schmidt’s, raises the bar when it comes to mixology.
Bar managers Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal have taken an old-school approach to cocktails with a 21st century twist.
Gaal says they want Emmanuelle to be the kind of bar that they would like to hang in, too. “It’s a small intimate space, so it gives you the luxury of expressing what it is you like about bars,” he says.
Esmon describes the restaurant’s seductive ambience with its dark lighting and eclectic décor: “There’s flocked wallpaper, a gold tin ceiling, an octopus chandelier, and a glowing Donnie Darko type dear head on the wall, and a glorious painting of Farrah Fawcett-Majors behind the bar.”
When it comes to the newly launched hand-crafted cocktail list, Esmon says she has a very DIY approach on mixology. “It gives me more control over the flavors and how they interact with the spirits. So we have lots and lots of homemade stuff like homemade jellies and preserves, shrubs which are flavored slightly sweetened drinking vinegars, simple syrups, tinctures, you name it.”
Another wild craze storming the bar scene is punch. And no, this isn’t the punch you usually drink at a kid’s party; we’re talking 18th century style punch. And you serve yourself from a punch bowl and glasses delivered to your table.
Gaal explains that when it comes to their style of punch, they are so old-school, the iceman cometh.
“In the 18th century, it was very common for large chunks of ice to be used in the bowl in order to keep the punch cold without diluting it. So we have a block ice program, so we have the iceman cometh here on a pretty regular basis, and we break it down with tools into different shapes and sizes. And you can use it to sip bourbon or in punch.”
One favorite is Regent’s Punch made with cognac, rye whiskey, apple brandy, yellow Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, orange curacao, Benedictine, fresh lemon and sugar.
Or try a newly concocted drink, the Baberaham Lincoln (pictured), blended with Scotch, Aperol, crème de Mure (blackberry), fresh lemon and absinthe.
Beyond the cocktails and funky vibe, it also features live music by the teen jazz band The Hong Kong Cavaliers. They invite friends and regulars with eclectic vinyl collections to bring ‘em in and spin their hits.
And this just in – Emmanuelle will be expanding soon to include an outdoor tiki bar setup in the traditional Polynesian style with music, even more specially blended drinks, outside seating and music. Hawaiian shirts are preferred.
Hear the full interview with Christian Gaal and his fiancée Phoebe Esmon below…