Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

5 unique Midtown Village cocktails to thaw your wintry heart

At this point in winter, we are all feeling the continuous wrath of Mother Nature's bitter mood swings, and frankly it's starting to get old. Some of us seek refuge at a sunny island where they serve cocktails in a coconut, but for the rest of the urban population, the only option is to rough it out until spring brings us warmth, pastels and bunnies.

5 unique Midtown Village cocktails to thaw your wintry heart

Cocktail from Sampan
Cocktail from Sampan Jim Teti

At this point in winter, we are all feeling the continuous wrath of Mother Nature’s bitter mood swings, and frankly it’s starting to get old. Some of us seek refuge at a sunny island where they serve cocktails in a coconut, but for the rest of the urban population, the only option is to rough it out until spring brings us warmth, pastels and bunnies.

Meanwhile, we need to stay warm, and there’s no better way to do so than by sipping on an alcoholic beverage that makes your mouth pucker, your fingers tingle and your toes curl. Best of all, after a few of these appealing elixirs get into the bloodstream, winter will be a distant memory. (special note: feeling diminishes when you go back outside)

 

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1. Scorpion Fishbowl at Sampan

The fishbowl at Sampan is a great option for couples, friends who aren’t afraid to get cooties, or one person who plans on waking up the next day curled behind one the restaurant tables. Essentially, they are a bit pricey ($28) but they are sizable, and man do they pack a punch. Did I mention you get to drink out of a fishbowl! How cool is that?! (Beta not included) There are three flavors, but the best bet is to go with the Bubble Tea or the Mistown Punch. The Midtown is my favorite and perfect for Valentine’s Day. It mixes vodka, pomegranate, and lychee puree to create a bright pink mixture that works better than any love potion around. The Bubble Tea is also noteworthy and it fuses Bacardi Dragonberry with green tea and spicy ginger for a more authentic Asian flair. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a fishbowl. It’s easily the most fun you’ll have drinking a cocktail since who knows when.

 

2. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame at The Corner

Sure, we could all head over to El Vez for some signature blood orange margaritas, but that’s been done and done again. Why not try the Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame ($12) over at The Corner across the street. It’s Reposada Tequila, green apple, lime, and cayenne pepper! There’s so much kick that you’ll blow right off the chair after one sip. Best of all, all the cocktails are hand crafted at The Corner, weaving a variety of complex ingredients together. It’s more than a drink; it’s a math equation. Not feeling the tequila, then try the Lady Killer with chai infused vodka and Licor 43 (spicy citrus). Take that Starbucks!

 

3. Opa Martini at OPA

If you have scoured the Midtown Village bar scene up and down 13th street, you may just blink and miss Opa, the cool, uber-modern Greek restaurant nestled on Sansom street. Their signature cocktail, the Opa Martini ($10) has just the right blend of sassy and sweet to make it worth a try. It essentially mixes vodka and lemon, but also spices it up with some white wine and a splash of orange blossom to brighten it up. You may never return to land of bland plain martini again after taking a trip down this intoxicating Greek isle. Don’t forget, Opa has entire list of specialty cocktails, so one of the others is certain to catch your eye if this one doesn’t.

 

4. Naranja de Sangria at Lolita

Now here is an option for those who want to combine their drinking with some delicious food. If you haven’t heard of Lolita, crawl out from under that rock, put on your best cashmere, and run don’t walk to this fantastic Mexican fiesta. While filling your tummy with all the impressive comfort food, check out the nifty beverage options. Lolita is BYOB, but it will provide you with handmade mixes, and the featured winter concoction is called Naranja de Sangria ($13). It’s a sizeable pitcher made with fresh squeezed blood oranges (already sold) and fresh mint. Okay, so you gotta pick up a bottle of alcohol before, but there is a huge Wine and Spirits at 13th and chestnut and if you split the bottle with a few friends it saves money. Best of all, you control the pour so be as heavy or as light as you want. Bring on the piñata!

 

5. X-Boyfriend at Valanni

Alright, so quick disclaimer: Valanni is not literally situated in Midtown Village. However, it is fairly close and after a few drinks you won’t remember anyway. It’s worth the trip because the cocktail list reads like a novel or the menu from Cheesecake Factory. There are many terrific drinks to choose from at Valanni (signature mojito can’t be beat), but the Ex-Boyfriend ($11) is pretty special, at least to me. It’s sweet with X-rated Passionfruit Liquor and Skyy Passion Fruit Vodka. Add some blood orange puree, fresh lime, a decadent sugared rim and you’ll be in sugar shock heaven. I love the X-boyfriend because even though it has more calories than a Cinnabon, it goes down nice and smooth and looks really pretty. These are all things we should aim for in a quality cocktail!

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