it's okay to play with your food

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company

Behind a black, unmarked basement door on 18th street is the newest spot for cocktails in Philly. The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company opened last month with an excited hush. Rumors abounded, many of them proving to be true.

The place was so exclusive that a password was required for entry. (Not true)

Drinks are pricey, but deservedly so. (True and true)

Signage would be nonexistent. (True)

Inspired by the speakeasies of yore, Franklin Mortgage does not boast its presence. Once Daniel and I found the place, a dimly lit, narrow alley of a space greeted us. The burgundy booths, dark walls and sparse lighting made me pine for a gun in my garter belt.

Nicholas Jarret (whole mixology I last enjoyed at the Root liqueur tasting) tended bar. We took our seats and our hostess brought each of us the menu, a multi-page tome divided into categories like American History and Revivers and Tonics.

I was decidedly overwhelmed, with many of the ingredients foreign to me, but I spotted something that recalled a French 75, the Doc Daneeka Royale: gin, fresh lemon juice, maple, grapefruit peel, and sparkling wine. It was light and clean, with bright citrus at the front and the warm maple flavor hitting you at the back. It was my favorite overall by the end of the evening. Daniel's Hoff's Law Cocktail, a mix of rye, elderflower liqueur and sweet vermouth, put hair on my chest (and tongue).

The devil is in the details at Franklin Mortgage. The glassware is unique and matched to its particular cocktail. Three types of ice are served and also paired with the appropriate drink.

Luckily, Aaron joined us a little later on, which meant more cocktails for sampling and comparing. Overall, we tried six different drinks. (See details and pics below)

Food is not served which was disappointing, particularly since the drinks are strong and I would have liked something with which to soak them up. So after shelling $12 per cocktail, we made an economical and delicious next stop: Five Guys for burgers and fries.

I will definitely be returning, though likely later in the evening and donning a Fedora. It's just that kinda place.

Some of our beverage choices for the evening...

Center City Swizzle: rye whiskey, amontillado sherry, ginger, lemon juice, velvet falernum, angostura bitters. Very gingery, which I liked, but Aaron thought it overpowered the other flavors.

Diamondback: rye whiskey, apple brandy, yellow chartreuse. Daniel's second choice, another hair maker. As I recall (confirm please, Daniel), this was his favorite of the two.

Pass and Stow Punch: aged Bermudan and Jamaican rums, pineapple and lime juice, marschino cherry liqueur, seltzer, grated nutmeg. A nice, evenly balanced punch. My second cocktail. I also love nutmeg so I liked the inclusion.

Simo Cup: gin, Pimms No. 1, fresh lemon juice, cucumber, and strawberry. Another sweet summer drink. Aaron could have used more bite but it totally hit the spot for me. I definitely don't think of myself as a girlie drink person but apparently I do like cocktails that go down a bit easier.


Michael Greenberg said...

That's almost a list of my favorites, less the egg-white-based Billy Penn Club!

Nice place, right?

kitchenplay said...

Very nice. I dig egg-white drinks, so I'll have to hit the Billy Penn Club next time. You down?

Melanie said...

Goodness gracious, that sounds amazing. More reasons to love Philly...

kitchenplay said...

I know! And this is only the most recent addition to the Philly cocktail scene. There's APO, Southwark, Chicks, Noble...

Alice said...

Let's go!!!

Daniel said...

The Diamondback was my favorite of the two. But both were quite good. (And better when followed by a burger from Five Guys.)

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Anonymous said...

The devil is not in the details, he could not be that creative. The divine is in the details. Please change the text.