Drink: Off the Coast of Florida, at Townsend

Craig LaBan, Restaurant Critic

Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2016, 3:01 AM

The Off the Florida Coast cocktail from Townsend.

There's never been a question as to whether I'll be drinking something interesting when I go to Townsend for dinner.

A fantastic wine flight recently from sommelier Lauren Harris that ranged through surprising pours from Portugal, Turkey, South Africa, and Tenerife was a perfect example.

But I worried about the cocktails, especially after Keith Raimondi, who'd crafted one of the city's better cocktail programs there, left to open his own restaurant in Buffalo.

But it turns out Raimondi is still consulting. Even more reassuring, his successor and acolyte, new bar manager Jeff Jagger, is clearly up to the task. His "Off the Coast of Florida" is probably my favorite cocktail of the summer so far.

Inspired by other Papa-theme drinks (Hemingway Daiquiri; Hotel Nacional) that Townsend has featured, this chilled pink coupe balances citrus fruit and tropical booze with a sly balance. Jagger pairs Nicaraguan Flora de Cana white rum (1½ ounce) with ruby grapefruit juice (1 ounce), lemon (½ ounce), Aperol (½ ounce), maraschino cherry liqueur (½ ounce), and one teaspoon of honey syrup before an icy shake and double strain.

The secret to bringing it all together into one quenching beam of drinkable deliciousness? A pinch of salt that brightens the Aperol's spicy orange and pushes the other citrus forward.

- Craig LaBan
Off the Coast of Florida, $13, Townsend, 1623 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-639-3203.

Craig LaBan, Restaurant Critic

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