Just drinks. No food this visit. This was just a quick stop in for a drink after some shopping on the other side of Broad street. Although after reading some other reviews on Farmers Cabinet, not sure I really want to spend money on a meal here. Lauded for it's cocktails and beer list though, the Cabinet has brought prohibition style drinking to an otherwise bleak section of Walnut street.
Late afternoon on a Saturday and we were the only ones in the place, which was fun getting the servers full attention and watching the bartender slowly chip away at a huge block of ice produced specially for the bar. It apparently is denser than store bought or ice machine ice, with less oxygen dissolved in it. The idea is that it melts slower and therefore doesn't water down your drink as much. Science!
We also got a seat at one of the full size wine barrels at the front - perfect for people-watching on a nice day. Farmers Cabinet is known for their extensive beer list, boasting the "most diverse collection of European craft beer in Philly". A great alternative to Monk's when people are spilling out the door there for a Leffe and frites. The cocktails list consists of Foundations, Original Creations, Punches and Beer Inspired. This all sounds eerily similar to the menu at Franklin Mortgage.
The Punches are old school concoctions based on recipes dating back to the 1800's - such as the Powder Horn with dark rum, cinnamon tea, fresh lime, maple syrup & nutmg. No jungle juice here kids. A rotating list of themed drinks, the Original Creations are currently inspired by different Shakespeare quotes.
Beer Inspired drinks do not contain any actual beer, but are supposed to reflect the flavor profile of a particular style of brew. The Cockaigne is their riff on a belgian sour lambic consisting of cognac, strawberries, cider vinegar, orange bitters sugar and sparkling wine. I'm not sure how well these are selling, but at least it's novel.
The Foundations are just that, the most basic recipes that all variations of drinks are based on. It's a clever concept that lets you choose from Collins, Sour, Fizz, Cocktail, Daisy, Toddy or Crusta. Each is a simple blend of good ingredients like citrus, soda, or housemade bitters along with the booze of your choice.
I chose my old standby - the Cocktail. Essentially a basic Old Fashioned with rye whiskey, sugar, angostura bitters, orange and lemon twist served on the rock. No, I didn't forget an "s" on that. The drink is served with a baseball size orb of ice bobbing around in your whiskey. Again, the thought is that since there is less surface area than traditional cubed ice, it melts slower and doesn't dilute the spirits. That definitely seems to be the case, as barely any of the ice ball melted and my glass was kept frosty the whole time. However, the ice takes up so much room that there isn't much room left for the whiskey! For $10, I want a a little more than a shot and some bitters. The bit I did get to drink was very good. One of the better Old Fashioned's in the city at least.
There's few other places in the city that can rival The Farmers Cabinet for their beer list and quality of cocktails. Value does not seem to be high on their priority list though. If you're trying to look cool and impress a first date, this would be a primo spot. Anybody who is anybody in out little metropolis is drinking here. If you're looking to get your hangover on and put away some serious booze without dropping Franklins though, this is not your port of call.
The Farmers Cabinet
1123 Walnut Street
Open Daily 11:30 - 2am
Food served until midnight (1am on Fridays & Saturdays)