I rarely make judgments on what people order at a bar. However, I do judge the drinks people order for brunch — only because not all brunch drinks are created equal, and you should always start your day on the right foot. Some brunch cocktails are so boozy that you’re headed to a post-brunch hangover, or they’re so acidic that your Sunday will be spent giving your money to the fine folks who make TUMS. What I learned after working brunch behind the bar was that most people don’t know what they want to drink for brunch. Most people stare blankly at their brunch menus, frozen in hangover fear. Well, your friendly neighborhood drinks dork has your back. Here are a few of my favorite go-to’s for that Sunday Funday.
Corpse Reviver No. 2
Brunch beckons, so you do everything in your power not to succumb to your hangover, splashing your face with water before sitting down for much-needed food. You are, for all intents and purposes, a walking corpse. The ideal cocktail for this condition is aptly named the Corpse Reviver No. 2. One of many variations of the classic cocktail, this one is bold, refreshing, and, with plenty of alcohol, a must-have for any hangover.
Corpse Reviver No. 2
Absinthe, to rinse glass
¾ ounce London dry gin
¾ ounce Lillet blanc
¾ ounce orange liqueur
¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Rinse cocktail glass with absinthe, throwing out the excess, then set glass aside. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with nothing but a morning’s regret.
The Italians are amazing at most rituals around drinking. They have a style all their own, and drinking Italian cocktails helps you appreciate their long history of culinary delights. One of my favorite drinking traditions from the Italians is the idea of corrected coffee, or caffè corretto. The concept: Coffee is great, amaro is great, so we should drink them together. Amaro or another bitter, slightly sweet liquor is a traditional ingredient in most Italian cocktails, which have a legacy of starting or ending most great meals. For the discerning brunch drinker, caffè corretto can be a great way to start your day, and picking out the perfect coffee-and-amaro pairing can be a rewarding challenge. I recommend starting with a sweeter amaro with your coffee. Amaro Montenegro, Amaro Cannella, or Averna are great for those new to the idea of amaro. After that, pick your favorite coffee or espresso and enjoy how the bitter notes of the liquor bring out the best of your coffee.
1 cup of your favorite local coffee or espresso (Magpie Coffee Roasters coffee is perfect for this)
2 ounces amaro (local Amaro Cannella, Amaro Montenegro, or Averna are recommended)
Enjoy as you would like — sip a bit, then maybe add another dash of amaro … there is no wrong way to enjoy this casual classic.
Mimosa Done Right
Everyone always wants to know how I like my mimosas, as if there were some kind of magical recipe, but it’s really just about personal preference. The only advice I can give for the perfect mimosa is to explore the world of juices. At a restaurant, ask what juices are available freshly pressed and then consider trying something new — a splash of fresh grapefruit juice in bubbles can change your day. At home, mix it up. I, for instance, love POG (passion fruit, orange, guava) juice from Hawaii in my mimosas. The tart passion-fruit mix is the tropical kick I need to start my day. Your only possible misstep is not exploring what’s out there. But for the bubbles, I would stick with Prosecco; you need something dry to go with the juice.
1 ounce POG juice
8 ounces Prosecco
1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine ingredients in glass; the bitters adds a bit of spice to balance the juice. Garnish with pineapple chunks.