Unlike its plan-ahead, big-investment dining room, Volvér's cocktail lounge is a haven for an intimate, spontaneous splurge. Dark and moody with the swirling fabric of artist Conrad Booker's wall-spanning textile sculpture, I can think of few spaces where I'd rather linger over charcuterie, caviar, and tartare - especially with a Champagne benefactor in tow. But Volvér's cocktails are just as impressive, at once balanced and complex and fair value at $12. Fresh-pressed pineapple gives the rummy Spruce & Broad a nutmeg-dusted golden glow. Sugar-snap pea juice garden-izes the sherried vodka Sugar Snap. I loved the Smoked Marcona Old Fashioned, though, for its drama - an alderwood plank is set on fire! The smoke is trapped inside a tumbler and still rolling about when the sweetened brew of rye and Marcona almond bitters splashes in, sending notes of campfire, salt, and nuts washed with sweet whiskey weaving across my tongue. Now that's a performance cocktail.
- Craig LaBan
Smoked Marcona Old Fashioned, $12, Volvér, the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., 215-670-2303.