When takeout cocktails became legal last May, Philadelphians lined up for the promise of icy alcoholic drinks from early adopters. In the year since, many more Philly bars and restaurants have developed their own menus of to-go drinks, many of which are packaged in creative ways designed to travel well. Capri Sun-like pouches? Yes. Large format pitchers for a full afternoon of backyard drinking? Of course. Bottled cocktails for storing indefinitely in the freezer? You bet. Here are 16 picks for to-go cocktails from restaurants that are rethinking the drink menu.Read More
16 Places in Philly for Creative Cocktails Packaged To-Go
Where to get easily transportable, eminently drinkable takeout cocktails
Satisfy cravings for both cocktails and caffeine with the iced coffee negroni at Martha in Kensington. The to-go cocktail list covers all the bases, from aromatic lavender spritzes to a sharing-sized old fashioned made with cherry bitters.
The International Bar
Outdoor seating is available at The International but if enjoying cocktails in your own backyard is preferable to being serenaded by the the sounds of the El passing overhead, the bar’s takeout team is mixing up everything from Sichuan-scented Negronis to a golden turmeric gin fizzes and a CBD-spiked tequila cocktail.
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R&D Cocktail Bar
R&D is known for making some of the most creative cocktails in the city, and the to-go drinks are no exception. The bar also mixes up a wide variety of bottled beverages to serve two or six people, and is even selling its own cocktail bar calibre ice, in 1- or 2-inch cubes, in case the home freezer isn’t cutting it.
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Southern restaurant and music venue South is known for its celebratory jazz brunch — and while in-person live jazz is available only at a limited capacity right now, blackberry sangria, honey butter cornbread, and Nashville hot oyster sliders are still very much available.
Art in the Age
Those looking to drink local can head to Art in the Age where the Old City spirits company is turning out sleek bottled cocktails using their own line along with help from fellow East Coast distillers Tamworth, Boyd and Blair and New Liberty. Spring brings an array of sparkling spritzes highlighting Art in the Age’s range of fruit cordials.
The Franklin Bar
The appeal of a speakeasy-style bar may be gone in the era of to-go cocktails, but the Franklin still delivers well-made drinks packaged in bottles in a variety of sizes. Stow the 18-serving old fashioned bottle in the freezer for a professionally mixed cocktail at any hour.
Oyster Bar’s upstairs neighbor takes home the gold for most aesthetically pleasing takeout margaritas. Packaged in branded glass bottles, Mission is mixing up sharable batches of tequila cocktails in flavors like guava, pineapple-mango and green juice. Also of note is the Mission Mezcal Club, a subscription service where guests pick up samplers of mezcals complete with an invite to a monthly virtual tasting.
Whipping up a simple G&T at home isn’t all that difficult, but emulating the kinds of cocktails ordinarily on offer at a.bar is another story. For those whose home bars aren’t stocked with, say, cinnamon infused Pedro Ximenez sherry and Punt e Mes, a.bar is featuring a menu of to-go cocktails like a bittersweet Molegroni, The Greenland Purchase made with Campari, Aquavit and egg whites, along with some intriguing canned concotions.
Friday Saturday Sunday
Months after closing its elegant dining room in Rittenhouse, Friday Saturday Sunday finally reopened, serving almost exclusively to-go cocktails — a real testament to its commitment to excellent drinking. The restaurant has since reopened for very limiting indoor dining, but the drinks, in individual and six-serving sizes, are not to be missed for those who can’t get a reservation: They’re all intricate recipes totally unlike anything the average drinker is making at home.
In University City, Vietnam Cafe is where to go for a bottled Zombie or Mai Tai perfect for drinking at home. The strong, fruity tiki cocktails are also available at sister spot Vietnam Restaurant in Chinatown.
Bud & Marilyn's
Bud & Marilyn’s cocktails pouches are basically the grown-up version of a Capri Sun, which fits the restaurant’s retro vibes. The cleverly names drinks — like the Let’s Get Schitt-Faced and Look Out Liver! — can be consumed right way or stowed in the freezer for a semi-frozen treat later on.
It is pretty difficult to recreate the iconic dive bar experience with outdoor dining or to-go cocktails, but Tattooed Mom is definitely trying. The South Street bar has a few takeout cocktails available in easily transportable pouches — and, yes, the pickletini is on the menu.
9th Street Bottle Shop
Di Bruno Bros Bottle Shop offers an expertly-curated selection of the city’s most intriguing wines as well as a fridge stocked with house batched and bottled cocktails to take away. The current roster includes an eye-catching Empress Sour, a white Negroni featuring aromatic French vermouth, plus a few more spring season adds as the temperatures continue to rise.
Blue Corn Restaurant and Bar
There’s not much that compares to the joy of a very well-made margarita, and Blue Corn consistently delivers just that out of a small restaurant (now open for outdoor dining) in the Italian Market, where few restaurants have liquor licenses. In addition to the menu of Mexican dishes, which goes way beyond tacos, the to-go cocktail game is strong, seasonal, and varied.
Bing Bing Dim Sum
Bing Bing’s perfectly packaged takeout has been a pandemic lifesaver, and their small list of rotating cocktails travels equally well. Balanced and refreshing, these 16-ounce refreshers tend to rely on savory, herbal flavors packed just enough citrus to compliment Bing Bing’s multi-faceted menu.
South Philadelphia Tap Room
Takeout cocktails are all about drinking something that is difficult to recreate at home, which South Philly Tap Room clearly understands. The crew here is spinning five different frozen cocktails, all available to go. They’re also doing their own hard seltzers made with fresh fruit puree, seltzer water, and vodka, which nicely complement the upscale pub food.