Cocktail lists are often dripping with sweet or tart offerings, from syrupy liqueurs to citrus-forward notes. Meanwhile, those looking for something on the savory side often get left high and dry.
Thankfully, some Pittsburgh bars are experimenting with briny, bitter, or even cheesy flavors sure to awaken different areas of your taste buds. Pittsburgh City Paper compiled a list of savory cocktails to look for this season.
Toki-o Drift — Bar Botanico
4325 Butler St., Lawrenceville. barbotanico.com
Once lauded by City Paper for its dedication to showcasing international flavors, Bar Botanico continues that mission with an unsweetened hat-tip to Japan. The malty, hearty Toki-o Drift combines Toki Japanese whiskey, Cocchi Americano, roasted barley syrup, and cinnamon barley tea. A popular drink option in some Asian countries, roasted barley tea edges closer to coffee in flavor, and has no caffeine, making the Toki-o Drift a cozy cocktail to try this winter.
I Like Your Style — The PA Market
108 19th St., Strip District. thepamarket.com
With all that the PA Market has to offer, including six counter-style restaurants and four bars, as well as a wide wine selection, it’s no surprise that a savory cocktail managed to slip in. The Tavern and the top-floor cocktail bar now whip up I Like Your Style, a special drink crafted with Hendrick’s Gin, smokey ginger, and housemade cranberry ginger syrup.
Don't Ask Terry — Scratch & Co.
1720 Lowrie St., Troy Hill. scratchandcopgh.com
This cocktail seems to say, cheese goes great with alcohol, so why not just put it in a cocktail? Scratch & Co. infuses charcuterie board flavors into Don't Ask Terry, made with Lunazul Reposado tequila, bell pepper shrub, beet, and goat cheese foam.
Garden of Earthly Delights — Station
4744 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. station4744.com
The list of Station’s current seasonal cocktails includes the Garden of Earthly Delights. Crafted with Spanish-made BCN Gin and dry, white Fino sherry, each sip promises to excite the senses with sage, lemon, brine, garden herb bitters, and maitake powder.
Vegan Bloody Mary or Maria — Square Cafe
134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. square-cafe.com
Despite its long-time popularity as a coveted brunch spot, Square Cafe is not content to rest on its laurels. This is reflected in its innovative cocktail menu, which includes a vegan twist on the vodka-based Bloody Mary and its sister drink, the tequila-based Bloody Maria. The restaurant’s housemade mix replaces Worcestershire sauce — a bloody staple traditionally made with anchovies — with vegan powder. It all comes together with a radiant red extracted juice made with beets, carrots, fresh lemon juice, and apple for a “touch of sweetness.”
Michelada — Whisper Nest
313 North Ave., Millvale. whispernestpgh.com
Whisper Nest has become a popular spot in Millvale with its well-appointed divey vibes, intimate, date-worthy booths, and rotation of vinyl records played to the delight of crowds. Enhance the experience with the bar’s Michelada, a slightly spicy, tangy drink made with fresh lime juice, Bloody Mary mix, hot sauce, and Tecate, all topped off with a rim of Tajín seasoning.