CHARLES VEITCH, WHO PLIED the weekend masses with drinks as bar director at Bastille before decamping to New York in January, says there are two reasons to order a brunch cocktail. One is a simple matter of celebrating the occasion; the other involves erasing the misdeeds of the night before. Either way, palatable daytime drinks tend to be light, involving juice and sparkling wine or clear liquors.
Brown spirits are usually a little much for the morning, says Veitch. “When you’re sipping on something with bubbles and a little bit of booze, you can gauge yourself a little more accurately and not put yourself into the nap state.”
Casey Robison, bar director at Capitol Hill brunch hot spot Barrio, also likes beer-based drinks, like the michelada, for that very reason. “You don’t want to get the person drunk…again.”
So how to explain the salty, spicy, punch-packing Bloody Mary, perhaps the most preeminent boozy brunch companion? Robison theorizes that, much like a mimosa with orange juice, people associate Bloody Marys with tomato juice, thus thinking it’s somehow healthy. In reality, he says, that so-called juice is “more like diluted ketchup.”
If you prefer your breakfast with a libation or two, here are a few of the city’s classics.
Ramos Gin Fizz at Toulouse Petit
New Orleans’s classic breakfast cocktail puts your morning egg in a glass…along with some lemon juice, orange flower water, sugar, and gin.
Kir Royale at Cafe Campagne
A jolt of creme de cassis helps smarten up your typical breakfast bubbles.
Blood Orange Mimosa at Barrio
Blood orange juice rescues brunch’s signature drink from sweetness overload and gives it a memorable hue.
Michelada at Smith
A glass of easy-drinking Modelo beer gets doctored with house Bloody Mary mix, lemon, lime, salt, and four dashes of Tapatío hot sauce. The rest of the can of beer is served on the side, a handy chaser to quench the fire in your throat.