By Pat Smith & Matt Goldstein
Village Whiskey in downtown Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse section brings some of the best food in the city amid a whiskey list that is flat out unheard of. With undoubtedly the best burgers in Philadelphia and over 150 different Bourbons, Ryes, single malt Scotches, blended Scotch whisky’s, Irish and American whiskey’s, the Village Whiskey is a complete downtown takeover. Not only does the energetic atmosphere work well with the New York City ambiance and decor, the music is unstoppable. From “Right Down the Line” by Jerry Rafferty, to non radio play obscure songs from the Velvet Underground and Rolling Stones, not many joints in the city put the music list together so correctly. The food is a creation of internationally renown chef Jose Garces and manager Paul Rodriguez runs the show.
Village Burger (8oz):
The Village Burger with Sesame roll, house-made thousand island dressing, tomato and Boston Bibb lettuce. This is 100% without a doubt the best burger in all of Philly, maybe the best in the country. Before you even bite the burger, the scent lets you know that there is something different here, something remarkable. As soon as I bit into burger, I looked over at Pat Smith and said, “New Champion!” (We’re in search of the ultimate burger.) There is no need for cheese and no need for ketchup. All the Village Burger needs is a California style sunny side up egg on top of the burger to make a medium rare cut of beef simply flawless. The house-made thousand island is so perfectly subtle, you will barely know it’s there. Have you ever dipped your toast into the sunny side up egg on a breakfast plate? Just wait until you do it with a burger. The Village Burger is game over.
The Duck Fat French Fries are very good but the serving is a kind of small.
Boulder Brewing Mojo IPA:
The Mojo is pale in color and has a strong scent of flowery hops and bitter floral flavor. It’s a hop heavy but refreshing ale, perfect with a burger. The heavy floral flavor and subtle malts get sweet with a hint of citrus towards the finish and then sweeter as the beer flattens a bit. The Boulder Brewing Mojo IPA is made with Pale, Caramel and Wheat Malts with Amarillo and Centennial Hops. The Mojo is a classic IPA. 6.8% ABV
Stoudt’s Gold Lager:
Stoudt’s is a Munich style Helle session beer. The Gold Lager has a scent of fruit with a dry bite and notes of fruit in the flavor. It’s a very light bodied, refreshing drinkable beer as a session beer should be. The Stoudt’s Gold Lager won five medals at the Great American Beer Festival and another medal at the world cup. This lager is made with Perle, Hallertau and Saaz hops with Two Row, Munich and Vienna mats. 4.7% ABV
Macallan 18 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky:
The Macallan 18 is simply one of the best single malts in the world period. This 18 year single malt from the highland region is aged in sherry casks and has a rich character that is complex, smoky, and smooth. The finish is full, flavorful and easy. The Macallan 18 year single malt scotch is simply outstanding.
The Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey:
Four Roses is smooth and light with a lot of flavor. Having a good, sweet bourbon spirit and a strong bourbon finish, the Four Roses Bourbon is outstanding. This hand crafted bourbon has notes of oak, fruit, with slight spiciness. All Four Roses Bourbons are aged in new white oak barrels in one-of-a-kind single story rack warehouses. 45% ABV
The Rye Whiskey Flight:
Village Whiskey in downtown Philadelphia offers multiple whiskey flights (restaurant review coming soon). The Flights are available in whiskey, bourbon, scotch etc… For those not familiar with a flight; many establishments serve beer, wine and spirit flights for those patrons interested in tasting multiple offerings. A flight of wine usually consists of 5 different wines from a given style such as cabernet, with 5 glasses about 1/3 full of each different wine. The whiskey flights at Village Whiskey consist of three different whiskeys in a given style with about 2/3’s of a full serving. As we rarely get the chance to taste quality rye, we decided to go with the Rye Whiskey Flight. Whiskey Village serves the flight of rye in 3 tulip whiskey glasses, a glass of water to mix or only use a few drops to open the whiskey, and a glass of ice if the neat finish is too much.
The Rittenhouse 100:
The Rittenhouse 100 proof is a brilliant rye whiskey. Light in color and dry with a slow burn, the Rittenhouse 100 proof has a dry scent with a strong finish. According to Heaven Hill distilleries, Rittenhouse 100 is produced in the tradition of the classic Pennsylvania or Monongahela rye whiskies, the classic ryes that were once the preeminent American whiskey style. The Rittenhouse 100 is a throwback whiskey and very smooth for a 100 proof.
The R1 Rye Whiskey:
The R1 is very dry with a good bite but a smooth finish. With a slightly sweet bourbon flavor, the light finish and subtle aftertaste is very good. There is also a bit of spice which gives this rye a certain character, but the R1 is sweeter than most rye whiskies. R1 is produced by the famous bourbon specialists, Jim Beam. For those that associate Jim Beam with a cheap bottom shelf whiskey, think again. Jim Beam also produces the critically acclaimed Knob Creek, and other premium bourbons such as Bookers, Basil Hayden’s and Bakers, all of which are excellent Kentucky Straight Bourbons.
The Thomas Handy Uncut Sazerac:
The Uncut 126 proof Rye Whiskey has a beautiful light red color with a sweet but sour scent. Although it’s a rye whiskey, you can almost taste the Tennessee style sour mash as you sniff the tulip glass. The Thomas Handy Sazerac has a sweet flavor but the finish is very strong. Did I say very strong!?! WOW! This drink is good, not for beginners… Even after a little water is added; the finish of this 126 proof rye is just as strong. However, as you continue to sip, the unforgiving finish settles down to a solid rye whiskey flavor.