The FetchIt 360 staff has been traveling all over Philadelphia searching for the perfect cocktail. We had a tip to check out Amy Farrell at Bar210 in the Rittenhouse Hotel, and we weren’t disappointed! Bar210 is part of the upscale dining experience in the Lacroix Restaurant. The bar itself is sophisticated, elegant and comfortable. Amy is a tall, dark haired women who looks, at first glance, more like a model then a bartender. However, her bartending skills can not be denied. Amy is a huge sports fan who does not work on Sundays due to football games and even calls herself more of a tom boy.
After a short conversation with Amy, you find out quickly she has more then just looks going for her. She has true bartending talent. Amy handed the Fetchit360 staff a cocktail list and informed us the menu was created by her, and changed seasonally. All the drinks looked amazing, so we just asked her to craft us a few of her favorites. We were presented with three delicious drinks, the Blackberry Bourbon, the Lemongrass Sparkler, and the Jamaican Old Fashioned.
Maker’s Mark, Blackberry, Thai Basil, Lemon, Ginger Ale
The first drink we tasted was the Blackberry Bourbon. I’m a huge Bourbon drinker and any drink with Maker’s Mark added to it is a must try.
The Blackberry Bourbon was smooth to taste with hints of blackberry and lemon. It was fresh and fruity, not sweet. The splash of Ginger Ale gave it the perfect sparkle to elevate the drink to the next level. The garnishing gave the drink the look you expect from a high class establishment, but Amy was quick to point out that the garnish was not “just for looks”. A garnish should enhance the drink it adorns. You see the beautiful garnish, you smell the Thai basil and blackberry as you bring the drink toward your mouth, and that olfactory stimulation enhances the subtle flavors of the drink itself.
Lemongrass Sparkler (the Porch Sipper)
Grey Goose, La Poire, Saint Germain, Lemongrass, Candied Lemon
Our next drink was the Lemongrass Sparkler. After having lived in Thailand for a number of years, the smell and taste of Lemongrass always brings back great memories.
The Lemongrass Sparkler was exactly what I expected. Refreshing! The ingredients blend together perfectly. The candied lemon looks great sitting on top of the drink, but like we explained earlier its not just pretty. We dropped the candied lemon into the drink and the flavors to the drink went over the top. The lemon and sugar mixed into the drink perfectly giving you a sweet sugary flavor, while upping the citrus flavor as well. I loved it! Amy appropriately nicknamed this drink the “Porch Sipper”, and indeed I could see myself guzzling a pitcher of these outside on a hot, summer day.
Jamaican Old Fashioned
Appleton Estate Reserve, Montenegro Amaro, Demerara, Orange Bitters
The third drink Amy chose to showcase was the Jamaican Old Fashioned. This is Amy’s twist on the well recognized Old Fashioned cocktail.
If anyone reading this has been to Jamaica, you will recognize right away the unique flavor of Appleton Rum. The taste is smooth and not overpowering. You immediately taste the orange bitters, but they are not overpowering. This twist on the Old Fashioned is a must try for anyone who enjoys a high quality drink. Or is it you just love rum!
Who Is Amy Farrell?
Amy has been at Bar210 for 8 years. She was actually their opening bartender in September of 2008, and tells us that making the move to a fine-dining, luxury establishment was a bit intimidating at first. Amy admits it took her about 6 months until she felt comfortable.
Amy is from Pittsburgh originally, and her true sport loyalties remain there despite living the Philly the past 17 years. In fact, she confided in us that she never works Sundays, and thus never misses the Steelers play. She moved to Philadelphia from Virginia in 1999 to attend the University of the Arts. Her training and background was in classic theater, and she worked doing plays and modeling for years after graduation. Eventually Amy got into cocktail waitressing for extra money and got asked one day if she had bartending experience. With a smile, Amy said “yes”, even though she had none. After all, how hard could it be? She “winged it”. At the time, she was working at a hip-hop club in Old City making drinks like the Incredible Hulk, wearing short skirts and tight clothes, which might have made winging it a little easier. She started studying cocktails and trying a lot of different drinks at local places. Amy soon found herself a bit discouraged with acting and modeling. At auditions, they were always wanting her to be a little shorter, taller, blonder, brown eyes instead of blue, or 15 lbs lighter or heaver. It was frustrating. Tending bar allowed her to still be on stage, create, play to the customer, but still allow her to maintain herself in the process.
Amy ultimately moved from the Old City Hip Hop crowd to Steven Star’s Continental Mid-Town when it first opened. She started bartending upstairs and had to get used to working at a bar with customers 6 people deep in a non-stop busy environment. Amy told us this was an environment that she fit in very well. The experience was a good one, and her cocktail IQ increased.
Amy did a stint teaching classical theater after Continental Mid-Town, before taking a job in a fine dining establishment. The restaurant was adding a bar and was looking for the right person to be part of the team. Amy was that person, and that bar was Bar210 on the second floor in the Lacroix Restaurant at the Rittenhouse Hotel.
Amy has now been at Bar210 for 8 years and still thinks about the early days starting there. She remembers everything she had to learn about the fine dining atmosphere. Through the years, she has progressed from the intimidated fresh face, to the established and well respected creator of cocktails she is now. She now looks at new employees starting and sees the same look in their eye she had in hers 8 years ago. She teaches them the rope. Amy sees herself having progressed from Danielson to Mr Miyagi. Perfect analogy!
Visit Amy at Bar210. She will make you feel welcome while crafting you the Perfect Cocktail!
Come Visit Amy at Bar210 at Lacroix
Bar210 at the Rittenhouse Hotel
210 W Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia PA, 19103
Does the Bar210 at the Rittenhouse Hotel have the perfect cocktail? Head over and try for yourself. Tell them Fetch-it 360 sent you.