Not Your Parents’ Cocktail

IMG_4816Goodbye White Russians and hello Moscow Mules – the ones made with homemade ginger beer and pomegranate-infused vodka, that is.

Ingredients like fresh mint, herbs and vegetables grown on his Cherry Hill farm make Aaron Gordon’s 13th Street Cocktail Catering part of the newest craze in artisan cocktails. It’s a marriage between the kitchen and the bar, Gordon says, with an emphasis on using fresh, seasonal produce.

“We have a fish pond that irrigates all the gardens,” says Gordon, 31. What he doesn’t grow on site, he buys fresh. “Nothing comes out of a bottle. It all comes out of a peel or a rind and is juiced the day of the event. After we juice the citrus we’ll batch everything, putting them in kegs and purging the oxygen out to keep the freshness without oxidation. It tastes like a drink squeezed right before you.”

That means he can offer signature “cocktails-on-tap” made quickly for a long line of thirsty guests.

He started the company about three years ago after working as a bartender in Miami and New York. Earning a reputation for his cocktails, Gordon began doing private parties, eventually leading to 13th Street Cocktails, named for his past homes – the 13th floor of a Miami condo and then a loft on 13th Street when he moved to Philadelphia.

The_Hemponair_13thStreetCocktails_004Beyond the cocktails, Gordon builds custom bars out of steel and maple or walnut that he sets up in any venue, from a house party to an event hall.

“It’s a full cocktail workstation with drainage and bar-height tables, whether it’s a 50-person party or 200, it’s still the same level of service,” he says.

For outdoor parties, Gordon brings a refitted horse trailer turned into a bar, always a fan favorite.

“We wanted a mobile bar that we could bring to events that would not only save set-up time, but also create a unique bar experience,” he says. He’s in the process of building another larger one, out of steel and beech.

Weddings are the company’s specialty, though they’ve provided cocktails for a 1,300-person Kimmel Center event and recently catered a party at East Hampton, New York’s Grey Gardens.

Clients visit the farm to sample freshly made drinks, generally choosing three for their event. Gordon even creates menus and other event-related materials.

“Everything is done with style and function in mind,” he says.

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