Last week I had the opportunity to spend an evening at the whiskey bar at Time Restaurant on Sansom Street in Philadelphia talking with Ashley Kane, a bartender there who is also responsible for the cocktail program. The seasonal drink menu at Time changes 4 times a year, with the selections following a theme that Ashley creates. The current theme is 80s music and all the names of the drinks on the list are puns on popular songs from that decade. Their flavors are somewhat lighter and more spring forward, including things like green strawberry bitters, lemongrass syrup, and edible flower garnishes. Many of the syrups, tinctures, and bitters at Time are made in house with ingredients that are sourced as locally as possible. This is true of the food program as well. There is an additional classic cocktail list, which changes twice a year to also reflect a shift in the seasons. For example, the summer classics will include drinks like the Martinez, which happens to be one of Ashley’s favorite cocktails, and the Blood and Sand, both of which are more definitive warm weather drinks. The first cocktail that I ordered (pictured above) was the Ginmiroquai made with Tanqueray 10 gin, honeysuckle syrup, Crème de Violette, and orange bitters. Not only was it beautiful to look at, but it tasted equally amazing, and definitely had me wishing that the spring weather that teased the East Coast with a visit last week was here to stay. Unfortunately this week’s snowstorm had other ideas.
In addition to fabulous cocktails, Time also offers over 200 whiskeys, available at the most reasonable prices in the city, all impressively displayed behind the bar. I was incredibly impressed by the depth of the selection. For example, there were 5 different bottles of Laphroaig (where most bars will have only the Laphroaig 10), 6 bottles of Glenlivet, 3 of Talsiker, 3 of Highland Park… and I could go on and on. Some of these whiskeys make their way into cocktails like the Smoke Peat Everyday (pictured above) made with Black Grouse, Cointreau, Averna Amaro, lime, and black walnut bitters. It’s the perfect drink for someone who is a new or uncertain scotch whisky drinker. Guests can also sample 1 or 2 ounce pours in a whisky flight that they create, or in one of the set flights on the menu. I was able to try the Laguvulin 16 and the Talisker Storm when I was there, both of which had been on my list for quite some time. As you all know, I’m a huge advocate for tasting things side by side because I believe it’s the best way to learn what you like. To have that opportunity with very knowledgeable bartender pouring such high end products is truly an exceptional experience.
Sharing that knowledge is obviously one of the aspects of the job in which Ashley and the other bartenders at Time are very skilled and seem to really enjoy. Their goal is to make guests feel as comfortable as possible, especially those who may not be all that sure about what they want to order. I had the chance to watch Ashley talk with customers while I was there, walking them through a series of questions in order to determine which direction their cocktail choice should go in. It was a relaxed and easy interaction, and I’m reasonably sure that each person was quite happy with what they’d ordered. Ashley readily admits that the cocktail world can be intimidating, not to mention expensive, especially if you’re not happy with your drink choice. The hope is that a guest’s experience at Time will make it less so, music to my ears since I write this blog with that same goal in mind!
Time also has an impressive Absinthe selection, over 20 beers on draft, and a wine list that has recently been updated to make it more food friendly. They open at 5pm with happy hour specials, a bar menu or full dinner menu, and live music everyday. Add it to your list of cocktail bars you want to visit in Philadelphia. You won’t be disappointed; to the contrary, you may actually find one of your new go-to spots.
Time Restaurant 1315 Sansom Street Philadelphia, Pa 215-985-4800