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Savory Cocktails Are On the Rise Around San Francisco

They basically count as your daily vegetables.

Bar manager Anthony Parks makes saffron vodka at Mourad.
Bar manager Anthony Parks makes saffron vodka at Mourad.
Noelle Chun

Sure, most of us are familiar with a savory classic cocktail or two; we've all thrown back a spicy bloody mary at brunch or sipped on a cold, briny martini to end the day. But as bartenders and bar flies explore new flavor profiles — especially in a city so friendly with the seasonal bounty — more and more savory cocktails are hitting menus across the Bay Area. "You are now seeing a lot of cocktails using more than just your fresh fruit and citrus from the local market," says Nick Jones, lead bartender at PABU. "Fat washing a cocktail with meats, vegetables in drinks such as peppers and snap peas, and more savory items are making the drinking scene more fun and a lot more unexpected."

As San Francisco bar managers roll out their fall menus, you can expect savory cocktails that play on autumnal produce. This includes carrots, beets, peppers, celery, and more. Fat-washed spirits — a technique of adding savory flavors into spirits with rendered fat, such as bacon, so the alcohol compounds pick up the flavors of the fat before the mixture is chilled and the fat is scraped off the top, leaving just the savory flavors behind — or even the inclusion of straight-up oils are on the rise for these new cocktails as well.

Here's where you can get in on savory cocktails right now:

PABU Lead Bartender Nick Jones

Lead Bartender Nick Jones at PABU. Photo credit: Noelle Chun

Financial District

PABU: Dragon's Nails (Casamigos reposado, bell pepper shrub, yuzu, velvet falernum, soda); The Bitter Truth (gin, Suze bitters, rosemary-carrot, Carpano Bianco vermouth)

Schroeder's: Must You Ask (bourbon, sage-forward gin, celery shrub, whole grain mustard, lemon)

The Mission

Bar Mia: Beeter & Sweet Negroni (Oola barrel-aged gin, Anitica formula sweet vermouth, beet-infused juice, Angostura bitters, coconut lemon water)

Chino: Golden Eye (209 gin, aquavit, beets, ginger, lemon); Chino Margarita (Pueblo Viejo Blanco, fennel, basil, agave)

DOSA on Valencia: Hanging Gardens (housemade beet nectar, vodka, lemon, ginger liqueur, long pepper)

Hog & Rocks: Arbequina (olive oil-washed gin, Gran Classico, Dolin Blanc vermouth)

Lolo: 2 Birds 1 Stone (San Juan del rio mezcal, carrot juice, parsley, celery bitters, kaffir lime salt rim)


The 2 Birds 1 Stone cocktail at Lolo blends up carrot juice. Photo credit: Noelle Chun


Mourad: Carrot & Spice (VSOP cognac, amaro, carrot juice, lemon juice, coriander nectar, egg white); Umami & Mint (Plata tequila, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, raw agave, cucumber, mint); Curry & Milk (gin, lime juice, lychee milk, salted pistachio syrup, basil, Aziza curry tincture)

Union Square

Burritt Room: Johnny Appleseed (Apple Jack, ham-infused amontillado sherry, apple cider vinegar, fennel bitters); Red Baron (rye, pistachio bitter, dry vermouth)

Duboce Triangle

Aatxe: Petro Romero (Tanqueray Old Tom gin, Bigalet China China, Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos, bell pepper cordial, almond bitters)


Alta: Fountain of Roots (beets, bourbon, Indian spice, yogurt)

Bon Marche Brasserie and Bar: Port of Shadows (mezcal, Lillet Blanc, coriander syrup, celery juice, lime juice, bitters)