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Cocktail review: Pink Buffalo at Public House

Buffalo bar flies hold these truths to be self-evident: Molson and Labatt might as well be domestic brews; Allen Street Hardware is a dining destination, jazz club or hip-hop joint depending on the time and day; and Allen Street Bar and Grill, better known as “The Old Pink” or simply, “The Pink,” is the late-night destination for steak sandwiches, cheap beer and loganberry mixed with vodka.

Now, The Public House on Hertel is offering The Pink's house drink, classed up and stretched out in “The Pink Buffalo.”

The Public House on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo is mostly known for its extensive craft beer selection, but its cocktail list is almost equally inventive. Its bartenders stretch their shakers with offerings like smoky lemonade, Guinness and whiskey concoctions and its own take on the now-standard Manhattan, to name a few.

The first thing to note when drinking at The Public House is the drinks are tall. Call-a-designated-driver tall. “The Pink Buffalo,” made with One Roq Loganberry Vodka, P&H Soda Co. grapefruit syrup and soda water, arrives looking pink and innocent, but it packs a punch.

A closer peek at the Pink Buffalo from Public House on Hertel Avenue. (Lizz Schumer/Special to the News)

A closer peek at the Pink Buffalo from Public House on Hertel Avenue. (Lizz Schumer/Special to the News)

If you grew up drinking Aunt Rosie’s Loganberry like I did, you remember the psychedelic logo and bright green can. That design may well have come about after a few Pink Buffalo orders, because this one is a sneaky sipper. It tastes just like the signature loganberry: a little sweet, a little tart with that deep berry flavor that differentiates it from other fruit sodas, backed up with the vodka burn to remind you this is not your Ted’s stand pour. That syrup, from an all-natural Brooklyn brewer, adds a splash of citrus that’s characteristically grapefruit.

To fans of The Old Pink who scoff at craft cocktail bar tabs, know this: At The Public House, like many craft cocktail purveyors, one or two of their concoctions might do it. Those of you who tend to spend late-nights-turned-early-mornings downing PBRs at The Pink, consider yourself forewarned.

The Pink Buffalo is a nod to the legacy that purple building has left on Buffalo’s bar scene, with a crafty twist. With a flavor similar to a vodka and cranberry, The Pink Buffalo brings a hint of history to the menu, and maybe some nostalgia with it. Try both versions at both ends of Buffalo’s bar scene for a taste of what our bars are all about: A collection of favorite haunts, often stocked with surprises.

“Pink Buffalo,” $8; The Public House; 1206 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo; 551-6208; www.publichousebuffalo.com.

Lizz Schumer is a Buffalo writer and editor who covers cocktails, food and whimsy for a variety of publications. She is the author of "Buffalo Steel" and can be found @eschumer or www.facebook.com/authorlizzschumer.

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