“Drink until it hurts” is not exactly a hard sell for a cocktail, unless, of course, it’s tagged to one named after the Marquis de Sade.
Attention is piqued. Eyebrows are raised. It’s worth an investigative sip, at least. Because the naughty marquis has company on the unusually cheeky list of cocktails at Libertine, a stylish new place in the old Gayborhood where creative bar manager Tara Ulissi has dedicated her entire list to famous libertines: Freddie Mercury, a lemony ginger zinger; Catherine the Great, a cold twist on the hot toddy infused with honeyed Earl Gray; and the handsome, tequila-driven Charlie Sheen, whose fruity spice is muddled with jalapenos and pineapple then dappled with red dots of Calabrian chili oil in lieu of the star’s preferred tiger’s blood.
The Marquis de Sade, however, is more than just a witty wink to the infamous French nobleman, with whom Libertine chef Derek Davis happens to share a birthday: “I did a little reading on him,” Davis says. “I thought that was cool.” This cocktail, which Ulissi calls “my favorite child,” is one of several here she refers to as transformative drinks with flavored ice cubes that begin as one thing and then evolve into another as they melt. The Hemingway, for example, comes with a cola-flavored cube that turns what is a classic daiquiri at first sip into a variation on rum and Coke. The Marquis begins i as a rye Manhattan, but as the Campari melts, it becomes a boulevardier, the Negroni’s dashing whiskey cousin. And it’s delicious — unless, of course, you drink it too fast. And then all you’re left with is a big gulp of Campari slush, which is bitter. “And then,” Ulissi says, " it hurts."
— Craig LaBan
Marquis de Sade cocktail, $14. Libertine, 261 S. 13th St., 215-398-5555; libertinephilly.com