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Philly's Hottest Sips
Exotic Cocoas, Creative Cocktails & Sweet Sips Top The List Of The Region’s Winter Libations
Huddling around a steamy cup is one of winter’s greatest pleasures, and Philadelphia’s restaurants, bars, cafes and tearooms offer plenty of delicious options. Be it a cocoa infused with habanero and orange, a julep with bourbon and mint tea or an old-timey hot fountain soda, this season’s drinks call for leisurely enjoyment. Here are a few of the most tempting hot beverages in town:
- A creative cannoli bakery in the Italian Market, Café Crema pays equal attention to its drinks. The hot chocolate bar is stocked with all manner of meltables—including red velvet, peppermint, peanut butter and other delicious flavors—ready to be combined for a customizable cup. 1205 S. 9th Street, (267) 928-4501, cafecremaphilly.com
- Paging Nutella enthusiasts: Gran Caffè L’Aquila prepares its luxurious Italian hot chocolate each day, made from Classic Perugina 70% dark chocolate. Boozy variations are also available. 1716 Chestnut Street, (215) 568-5600, grancaffelaquila.com
- Known for its frozen confections, Franklin Fountain also entices during the winter season, serving an array of intriguing warm drinks. Try the Hot Chocolate Float, made with cocoa powder and topped with a fluffy scoop of housemade ice cream. 116 Market Street,
(215) 627-1899, franklinfountain.com
- Few eateries are as cocoa-obsessed as the Max Brenner chain. Hot chocolate here comes in eight varieties (from marshmallow to hazelnut), each of which can be prepared with milk, dark or white chocolate. 1500 Walnut Street, (215) 344-8150, maxbrenner.com
- In keeping with its always-soul-satisfying cuisine, Talula’s Daily serves hot drinks that quickly become an obsession. A must try: The Charleston, a salted caramel latte.
208 W. Washington Square, (215) 592-6555, talulasdaily.com
- Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers all the cold weather merriment and hot beverage comforts skaters and onlookers could want. Among them is Thomas Jefferson’s Toasted Chocolate Nightcap with marshmallow, available at the Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 925-RINK, riverrink.com
- Cocktail lovers at the colorful and crowded Bing Bing Dim Sum can sip and savor the Bonita Applebaum, a concoction that swirls together lemon, brandy, ginger wine, spiced apple puree and clove. 1648 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 279-7702, bingbingdimsum.com
- What’s better than hot apple cider? The Hot Chai Apple Cider at The Dandelion, spiked with Bulleit Rye, chai tea, honey and lemon. 124 S. 18th Street, (215) 558-2500, thedandelionpub.com
- Anyone skeptical of the idea of hot booze should visit The Franklin Bar. As its name suggests, If You Don’t Know Now You Know packs a convincing punch with rum, apple schnitz-infused calvados, caramel, Fuji apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. 112 S. 18th Street, (267) 467-3277, thefranklinbar.com
- When the weather snaps, Frankford Hall keeps the chill away. The house-mulled wine, made from a traditional recipe, is a spicy delight. 1210 Frankford Avenue, (215) 634-3338, frankfordhall.com
- Step out of the cold and come into the cozy with the Winter Julep at Red Owl Tavern. The original cocktail combines hot mint tea, Maker’s Mark, mint syrup and lemon juice—to great effect. 433 Chestnut Street, (215) 923-2267, redowltavern.com
- An epicenter for choco-consumption, the Venezuelan restaurant Sazon features an entire menu devoted to the stuff. Selections change from month to month, but always feature something delicious, such as the El Duende (homemade eggnog, Venezuelan rum, dark sugar cream and nutmeg). 941 Spring Garden Street, (215) 763-2500, sazonphilly.com
- Those Winterfest visitors who need a more fortifying drink than the hot chocolate mentioned above can sip hot spiked drinks from a changing menu of beverages. Past drinks include the S’mores (hot chocolate, whipped pinnacle vodka, marshmallows, crumbled graham cracker) and Cookies and Cream (hot chocolate, whipped pinnacle vodka, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, cookies and cream crumble). 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 925-RINK, riverrink.com
- Devotees of the hot cocktail will find plenty of options at University City’s White Dog Café. The most fragrant of the bunch is the Happy Hound, a combination of Bill Hill gin, St. Germaine, passion fruit, white grape, orange blossom and hibiscus tea. 3420 Sansom Street, (215) 386-9224, whitedog.com
Hot & Sweet:
- No one should have to wait until summer for a milkshake or fountain soda, and that’s why Franklin Fountain serves them steamy. Hot milkshake flavors include Caramel Apple Pie, Peach Praline Pie, Hot Peanut Butter Brownie and Double Espresso; the hot sodas come in Violet Limeade and Mead. 116 Market Street, (215) 627-1899, franklinfountain.com
- Simple pleasure awaits with the honey vanilla steamer at La.Va Café. Sweet, creamy and warming, it’s the perfect alternative to coffee or hot chocolate. 2100 South Street,
(215) 545-1508, lava-cafe.com
- It’s known primarily for its teas, but the infusions and tisanes at the Mary Cassatt Tea Room in The Rittenhouse are just as rewarding. Mocha Spice, for example, features the flavors of chicory, carob, malt and vanilla. 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, (215) 546-9000, rittenhousehotel.com
- When the occasion calls for herbal healing, The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop meets the need. On the infusion menu are house blends like the organic Simmer Down (chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint, passionflower), designed for relaxation. 713 N. 4th Street, (267) 639-2442, therandomtearoom.com
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
Experience A Taste Of That Famous Philly Flavor
Philadelphia’s signature flavor is a dynamic mix of traditional recipes, new culinary inventions, well-known treats and obscure dishes, and these specialties can be found everywhere—from corner stores to the fanciest haute restaurants. Among the region’s best-known foods are national favorites like Italian water ice, Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels and the ever-popular cheesesteak. More localized favorites include pork roll and scrapple, which are available here in the region and through services such as Taste of Philadelphia, one of many companies that ship Philly goodies across the United States.
Here are some of the sandwiches, snacks, meats and more that have left a...
25 Things To Know About Philly's Food Scene
Philadelphia food is so much more than the cheesesteak and the soft pretzel, or even scrapple, or roast pork sandwiches. It’s also amazing vegan fare, quirky BYOB (bring-your-own-bottle) restaurants, world-class craft local beer, emerging distillery scene, or chef-driven concepts and passion projects. Philly’s food scene is about neighborhoods that grow with their restaurants. And competing chefs who work together. It’s about sourcing ingredients from the region’s farms and giving casual dining its due. It’s about embracing delicious diversity.
Here is a primer of 25 lesser-known components of Philly’s lush and luscious food scene:
- Richly Rewarding Food Shed:
The BYOB Restaurant: A Philly Phenomenon
Despite decades of popularity and expansion, one quintessential Philadelphia dining phenomenon continues to fly deliciously under the radar. It’s the BYOB, the bring-your-own-bottle restaurant—BYO, for short. Typically independently owned and operated, Philly’s BYOBs number into the three hundreds. Diners find them on dozens of corners in Center City, along avenues of renewed urban neighborhoods and tucked down rural roads. It’s a curious trend with an interesting backstory—and an even more interesting present.
Here’s a short explanation of how the BYOB scene came to be—and advice on navigating the landscape.
What Is A BYOB?:
A BYOB restaurant allows patrons to
A Wave Of Authentic Taquerias & Roving Trucks Make Philly A Bona Fide Taco Town
Little by little, Philly’s turned into a bona fide taco town. Between the mom-and-pop taquerias of South Philly, tried-and-true tequila bars, a roving pack of lunch trucks and the newest crop of gringo-owned joints, there’s truly a taco for everyone and their hermano. Here’s where the hungry masses can get their tacos on:
- Fishtown’s divey Loco Pez found its inspiration in L.A.’s fusion-y taco trucks, and the result is a mix-and-match selection of fun—and sometimes unexpected—flavors. Classic preparations like al pastor and cochinita pibil share menu space with unconventional choices, like vegan-friendly seitan and spinach, and soy
When It Comes To Vegan Dining, The Home Of The Cheesesteak Proudly Vedges Out
It’s a curious thing that a city so renowned for its cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches could also foster one of the nation’s most robust vegan food scenes. Upscale diners can find delight in the shared plates at Vedge or the coursed and the home-style elegance of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, while those seeking a quick bite can swing by Blackbird Pizza for fare that is more traditionally Philadelphian. Factor in some coffee shops, bars and even a diner, and vegan eaters will see—and taste—that the city’s offerings have something for every palate, day or night.
Here’s a look at some
Cheesesteak 101: A Primer On The Who, What, Where And Whiz Of South Philly Cheesesteaks
Here in Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. So what is an authentic cheesesteak and where did it come from? Here’s the lowdown on this region’s favorite sandwich.
What Is A Cheesesteak?:
A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed rib-eye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz®, but American and provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance of flavors, textures
Philly Pizza Pleases Every Palate
Philadelphia’s gained some serious pizza cred in recent years. Not only is this city home to a pizza museum and restaurant (Pizza Brain), an artisan pizza truck (Pitruco) and, according to Bon Appétit, America’s very best pizza (Pizzeria Beddia), but it’s also a proving ground for the idea that this traditional food can be reinvented in infinite ways. Whether it’s a straightforward but studious Neapolitan round, a floppy tri-corner slice with cheese to spare or a newfangled pie laden with unexpected but carefully sourced ingredients, there is absolutely a pizza for every eater’s predilection. Here’s...
Craft Distilleries Revive Pennsylvania's Pre-Prohibition Tradition
In just over four years, the number of craft distilleries in the Philadelphia region has increased by more than a dozen, helping to restore Pennsylvania to its once-prominent place in the national distilling conversation. Until Prohibition wiped out the state’s industry, Pennsylvania housed the country’s densest cluster of homespun and commercial whiskey producers, beginning with some of the country’s earliest settlers.
In 2011, Pennsylvania’s government passed reforms that allowed distillers to offer tours, samples and onsite sales. These new laws opened up the craft to would-be distillers who now proudly produce and sell small-batch spirits in Philadelphia. In a sign...
Beer Trail Highlights The Craft Brewing Tradition In Philadelphia, America's Best Beer-Drinking City
One hundred years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation,” according to food critic Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. In fact, Philadelphia taverns were, arguably, the true birthplace of the American Revolution.
In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, more than 90 breweries operated in Philadelphia proper, and another 100 operated in the city’s environs. One area northwest of Philly, located on the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Girard Avenue Bridge, became known as Brewerytown. As Brewerytown grew, area producers of German-style...