1516 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Chef Justin Swain of REX 1516 creates elevated comfort food with a Southern influence, and the cocktails are mixed to complement the cuisine. The mint julep is a traditional Southern summer drink that is actually the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. To update this classic for the fall, REX 1516 will offer a new mint julep that is a better match for the cool weather. The Prescription Julep has the same muddling of fresh mint leaves and simple syrup, but the traditional bourbon is replaced with a mix of rye whiskey and cognac. This version of the julep drink holds up better when paired with the heartier fall dishes, warming you from the inside out.
Vintage Wine Bar & Bistro
129 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
This Midtown Village hot spot offers over 60 wines by the glass and about another 20 wines by the bottle. While the menu of seasonally inspired dishes is also excellent, it’s obvious that wine is the focus here — even in the cocktails. Here, every cocktail includes wine as an ingredient. In the fall, the cocktails aren’t too heavy or too light but perfect for the season. Choose from drinks such as the Vintage Sangria, a blend of red wine, orange juice and brandy; the French 22, a mixture of sparkling wine, Maraschino cherry, lemon juice, vodka and Luxardo; or the Manhattan Port Authority with port wine, Maker’s Mark and orange bitters.
2 Rector St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127
Bourbon Blue brings New Orleans-style American cuisine to Manayunk. With live music five times a week and an atmosphere that’s reminiscent of a Southern bistro, it’s the perfect spot for both a date night and an upbeat night out with friends. Like most NOLA-style spots, there are a number of creative cocktails on the menu. The Harvest Spice Cooler features sweet Riesling that’s been flavored with apples, cloves and vanilla, and then it’s topped with ginger ale. Or try the Smashing Pumpkin, a blend of Kahlua and Baileys with a splash of cinnamon schnapps and cream, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
118 S. 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
At this Jose Garces spot, drinks take center stage. Black and white tiled floors, subdued lighting and vintage mirrors set the atmosphere for a speakeasy-like experience in Rittenhouse Square. A wall of bottles behind the long pewter bar showcases over 80 bourbons, single-malt Scotches, Irish whiskeys and ryes. Order your choice in tastes by the ounce, or try one of the cocktails. The cocktail menu is divided into two categories: Prohibition (classic) or Repeal (modern versions). Perfect for the fall, the Johnny Apple (from the Repeal menu) is a blend of apple brandy, apple butter, orange liqueur, honey and lemon.
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The Twisted Tail
509 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
While the Southern-style cuisine from Chef Leo Forneas is reason enough to visit The Twisted Tail, this bourbon house and juke joint has a seemingly endless array of bourbon and whiskey. Quite a few on the menu are aged and infused in-house, making for unique drinks to sip on their own and incredible ingredients in cocktails. Preparation starts in the summer, with the first big fall release in September during Bourbon Heritage Month. Twisted Tail introduced a barrel-aged Manhattan cocktail with Woodford Reserve for the occasion, though the barrel-aged cocktails will continue through the fall months. New for October is a charred oak barrel-aged tequila. This whiskey-like liquor takes on a lot of the butterscotch/caramel notes of the charred wood, perfect for fall cocktails. Fall will also bring a pear moonshine infusion as well as a fall spice bourbon infusion. The fall spice bourbon has a rich cinnamon flavor that is wonderful in a cocktail with hot apple cider or ginger beer. Stop back often as the infusions tend to rotate through the menu, three to four at any time. In addition to enjoying these creative infusions in a specialty cocktail, you can also order them as a tasting flight as shots or mini cocktails.
Michelle Hein is a copy editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer boyfriend would love to open.
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