Libations & long sleeves: Five winter drinks in St. Pete

Grab a beer or cocktail around St. Petersburg to entice your palate this season.

click to enlarge This coffee milk stout combines two soul-satisfiers at Engine No. 9. - Taylor Austin
Taylor Austin
This coffee milk stout combines two soul-satisfiers at Engine No. 9.

Subtlety syncing flavor profiles with the changing winds, several restaurants and bars in downtown St. Pete altered their beverage menus to accentuate the climate.

Their offerings are designed to add warming or savory elements to drinkers’ palates, and many spots are receiving requests for yearlong availability.

At Urban Brew and BBQ, Original Sin’s Elderberry Hard Cider, which this reporter tasted at the eatery last month, boasted an incredible rouge hue and drupe undertones. Traditionally, elderberries are utilized in cordials, chutneys and fruit pies. However, when they’re fermented for a cider and paired with a slow-smoked pulled pork sandwich, taste buds get their own season’s greetings.

Luckily, because Florida has a lingering summertime vibe, margaritas have a way of being the “all-purpose drink.” At Red Mesa Cantina, the drink gets a festive spin, and stir. The restaurant’s Hibiscus Cinnamon Margarita — with reposado tequila, hibiscus extract, cinnamon, agave nectar and more — warms and refreshes simultaneously. Fresh orange, a classic in-season Florida treat, is also integrated.

If folks are enjoying the outdoor bar and it’s particularly cold out, try the Hot Carlos. Fresh jalapeño and more reposado tequila are incorporated into the cocktail, but its name alone will make the space feel 5 degrees warmer.

For something with a little more weight, the Stone Coffee Milk Stout offered at Engine No. 9 is a great brewed option that perfectly blends two beloved cool-weather drinks: coffees and stouts. Since both use roasted ingredients, they give lucky tasters a cozy feeling reminiscent of sweaters and bonfires. At first sip, the milk stout tastes creamy and slightly bittersweet. But the milk sugar that’s added during the brewing process allows for smooth drinking.

Packing a lovely tart acidity, Green Bench Brewing Co.’s French Oak Oud Bruin boasts not only a beautiful dark color, but also a title. The Flanders-style beer smells of rich wood and vanilla.

The next time you’re meandering through the city’s downtown neighborhoods, order one of these babies in spirit of the season.

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