Carmelita Martell's Cocktail of Choice
by kristin detterline-munro
Carmelita Couture is well known for its over-the-top aesthetic. This season is no exception: The Book of Revelations informed the striking pieces that comprise the Fall collection. “I thought it was a timely way to present the prophetic aspects of 2012 and all of the curiosity about the Mayan calendar,” says namesake Carmelita Martell, the Old City–based designer known for her custom prints and whose client list includes celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Kourtney Kardashian, and Katerina Graham. The strong biblical influence feels anything but prudish in Martell’s imaginative hands: Lightning bolts dip across fringe-sleeve caftans, and leopard patterns draw attention to flowy, wide-leg pants in bright shades of red, purple, and orange.
Such cerebral source material calls for a breezy cocktail after a day of designing. Martell’s drink of choice: white sangria. For summertime pool parties, she likes to whip up her own—“I use peaches, pineapple, and tangerines for a citrus taste”—but the rest of the year, she enjoys this sweet sipper at Alma de Cuba (1623 Walnut St., 215-988-1799), Stephen Starr’s enduring Latin bar and restaurant. Here berries and pineapple flavor the tried-and-true recipe. “I like to people-watch with a drink and some small bites,” says Martell. “Alma de Cuba has been such a staple in the city, and I still enjoy going here.”
Martell’s love of these classic Spanish cocktails speaks to her Florida roots. She was living in Miami when she launched Carmelita Couture in 2008. While there, she would often enjoy a glass of sangria with a good friend at a local tapas bar they frequented. Martell still misses those steamy Miami nights, but has settled happily into her adopted hometown over the last few years. “There is such a great cultural mix in Philly,” she says. “And that sense of diversity really promotes creativity, which is so inspiring to me as a designer.”
Alma De Cuba's White Sangria
Assorted raspberries, strawberries, and diced pineapple
1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
1 bottle Chardonnay
8 ounce Don Q Limón rum
8 ounce Bacardi Razz rum
Soak raspberries, strawberries, and diced pineapple in simple syrup for about 24 hours. Add ice to a pitcher, pour in all wet ingredients, and top with syrup-soaked fruit.
photography by william brinson; styling by ed gabriels