No doubt, phő is as integral to our edible identity as soft pretzels and roast pork sandwiches. Don’t believe us? Cue up the Philly episode of The Layover, and pay close attention to where Michael Solomonov takes Anthony Bourdain for an authentic taste of the city. The Vietnamese noodle soup is as ubiquitous in cheesesteak country as the throngs of right wing radio listeners who line up at Geno’s on a daily basis to prove their patriotism by ordering overpriced gristle and Cheez Whiz sandwiches in English, and has recently been mimicked and celebrated on menus from all denomination of restaurants around town. There’s even a phő beef jerky. And now it looks like it has finally made its way to the bar, too.
With the roll out of their latest cocktail menu, Emmanuelle barkeeps Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal are giving life to a pho-inflected gimlet. Dubbed a Worthy Fucking Adversary (your guess is as good as ours), the drink is made with vodka (or gin), fresh lime, phő spice syrup, Vietnamese herbs, and an optional Sriracha float. It’s just one of 14 new cocktails the two have come up with for their “New Shit Has Come to Light” list (see the full thing below). In addition to it, they two have also introduced another ten or so drinks that riff on classics ranging from a Seelbach Cocktail to a Turf Club Cocktail.
Also new is a selection of cheese and charcuterie and cheese boards, and other snacks being served as sustenance, since men and women cannot live on just booze alone. Esmon hand selects the cheeses through Reading Terminal Market’s Valley Shepherd Creamery, as well as the meats. Accompaniments like pickled fiddle head ferns and ramps are being prepared in house, and crackers for the platters are made by Carla Goncalves at Koo Zee Doo.
New Shit Has Come to Light
house originals ($12)
American Dry Gin, dry curaçao, carrot-ginger-red bell pepper syrup, fresh lemon, cardamom & cinnamon tinctures.
This tart refresher stimulates the appetite, awakens the senses, and provides satisfaction, but it’s far better for you than Roman feasts of old that did the same.
Two Weeks from Everywhere
Gold Rhum, Jamaica Rum, pineapple syrup, orgeat, fresh lime, falernum, Bitterman’s Elemakule Tiki bitters.
You shall be transported to a geographical oddity that is at once Martinique, Jamaica, and Hawaii; and isn’t nearby any of them.
Worthy Fucking Adversary
Vodka (or Gin), fresh lime, phő spice syrup, Viet herb blend. Sriracha float optional.
Ever been in a phő joint finishing up when, suddenly, you crave a gimlet?
White Light White Heat
Vodka, lemongrass syrup, almond milk, fresh lime, habanero-serrano tincture.
A clean but velvety burst of layered refreshment with a restrained fiery note.
Cachaça, Campari, fresh grapefruit, lemon peel oleo-saccharum, egg white, rosewater.
To read this assemblage of ingredients may disorient and startle, much like a Brazilian shark encounter. When the first sip has passed, you breathe a sigh of relief and feel like you’ve gotten away with something.
Blended Scotch, Aperol, crème de Mure, fresh lemon, absinthe.
Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, this drink is strong, tart & bittersweet, with a cool finish.
Fickt nicht mit dem Raketemensch
Bonded bourbon, black walnut liqueur, strawberry preserves, balsamic gastrique, Lambrusco, Angostura bitters.
Here’s a fresh-faced, plain-speaking young American suddenly enmired in the maelstrom of the Old World, kinda like that old Greatest Generation.
Sage spirit, yellow Chartreuse, house celery tonic, fresh lemon.
This tall sipper takes the conventional g & t and bends its brain with unorthodox ideas.
A More Gentlemanlike Manner
100% Torrontel Pisco, Amaro Meletti, Dolin blanc vermouth, Elmegirab’s dandelion & burdock bitters, sparkling wine.
It comes off as frightfully aristocratic, but reveals the earthiness and florality of a carriage trip through the countryside.
Ranger from the North
Akvavit, Batavia Arrack, crème de Peche, fresh lemon, coconut water, Kingsfoil bitters.
A memory of lands across the sea lingers in this tall, well-travelled stranger, and he carries within him herb-lore and the power of healing.
Genever, 100 % Arneis Grappa, Lillet blanc, green pepper jelly, Regan’s no. 6 & Fee’s orange bitters.
Because sometimes to win you have to change the rules of the game.
Bonded rye, cognac, Salers aperitif gentiane, dry curaçao, Elmegirab’s Boker’s bitters, Regan’s no. 6 & Fee’s orange bitters.
Like its namesake, this drink hides sensitivity and mellow steadiness behind a bitter, prickly exterior. Or, it’s European fatalism driving too fast in an American coupé.
Quakers with a Vengeance
Bonded rye, rhubarb shrub, ruby port, vanilla & cinnamon tinctures.
The Quakers of the American whale fisheries were about as full of vinegar as a Quaker gets.
All in the Reflexes
Reposado tequila, coffee liqueur, Benedictine, Carpano Antica, smoked salt tincture.
Jack Burton: “ Feel pretty good. I’m not, uh, I’m not scared at all. I just feel kind of feel kind of invincible.”