Ethan covey (Good morning sunshine). Courtesy of Mad Social (Madteani).
Forget Bloodys, Bellinis, and mimosas. The age-old brunch trifecta is just that -- old -- and bartenders around the country are retiring it in favor of a new set of daytime sippers: micheladas, fizzes, and punches. These concoctions strike the perfect balance between hangover helper and afternoon enabler, with plenty of bubbles to clear morning-after heads.
"You always need a sparkling twist, a creamy drink, and a foamy one," says Xavier Herit, co-owner and head bartender at New York City's Wallflower (WallflowerNYC.com). Variety is the spice of life on his new brunch menu, but what his cocktails have in common is an easy-drinking quality to accompany, not overpower, your eggs Benny. Herit's creations include a pear-scented spin on the classic silver fizz, which builds a luxurious froth (and adds protein!) with an egg white, shaken furiously.
Meanwhile, the beer-based michelada continues to snatch up the savory-cocktail baton from the bloody mary -- consider it a more laid-back alternative to that overblown, over-garnished workhorse. At Los Angeles's Gracias Madre (GraciasMadreWeHo.com), a spin-off of the feel-good vegan eatery Cafe Gratitude, Jason Eisner is stirring up the Mexican beverage with house-made Worcestershire sauce and a lemon-jalapeno-basil ice cube, topped with a blonde ale from Eel River Brewing for maximum local appeal. To create your own, fancier house michelada, upgrade your condiments: Try a small-batch hot sauce instead of the usual Cholula, or rim your glasses with Moroccan ras el hanout or Japanese togarashi.
If you're really gunning for the title of best brunch host, beef up your liquor cabinet with some new morning-friendly spirits, like Few Spirits' Few Breakfast Gin, which uses Earl Grey tea and lemon peel to evoke Britain's favorite morning cuppa. Shake it into a Champagne-based French 75, or do as Sara McDaniel of Chicago's MAD Social (MadSocialChicago.com) does and mix up a retro-chic punch with brewed tea. And if you like the darker stuff, Vermont's Saxtons River Distillery has whipped up both a maple-infused bourbon and rye, perfect pancake companions that work best in a Chatham Artillery Punch or egg-white-enhanced whiskey sour.
Yes, brunch drinks must do double duty (revivers the morning after a long night out, smooth intros to day drinking), but that's no excuse to fall back on the standbys. Just heed Herit's words of cocktail wisdom: "Keep it simple and tasty."
Courtesy Sara McDaniel, MAD Social, Chicago
3 oz. Few Breakfast Gin
1/2 oz. iced Earl Grey tea
1/2 oz. honey syrup*
3 dashes Bar Keep lavender bitters
Add all of the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an edible flower.
*Honey syrup: Combine 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat just until honey has dissolved and let cool. Store in the fridge.
Good Morning Sunshine
Courtesy Xavier Herit, Wallflower, New York City
1 oz. Pear Williams Purkhart
1 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
Dry shake all of the ingredients except the soda water to build a good froth from the egg white, then shake again with ice. Strain into a Champagne flute, top with soda, and shake 3 dashes of bitters over top.
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