Brunch cocktails that will make you forget about mimosas
There’s just something a little decadent about brunch beverages. Really, how often do most of us have a legitimate reason to tipple before noon? While bubbly mimosas and savory bloody marys have long been the traditional workhorses of weekend brunch, there’s so much more to consider for tasty options. Taking cues from international day-drinking favorites, local restaurants and bars have thrived by incorporating Utah-made spirits and other quality ingredients in a slew of creative iterations.
One thing they all have in common? They’re all uncommonly delicious.
IN THE PINK
I’m not quite sure why margaritas aren’t more popular at brunch. The combo of spicy-sweet-salty is a classically delicious foil for brunchy comfort food, and tequila—especially lighter, unaged tequila blanco—is a fantastic day-drinks spirit. At Hearth and Hill in Park City’s Kimball Junction, the signature Lavender Margarita takes the south of the border sipper on a bit of a floral journey courtesy of their house lavender honey. H&H keeps things local by using Eden, Utah’s New World Distillery Rabbit and Grass Blanco Agave Spirit shaken up with Cointreau, fresh lime juice and rose hibiscus. It’s a delightful beverage to pair with lighter fare like Hamachi crudo or a salad, but really shines next to hearty dishes like huevos rancheros or a loaded fried chicken sando. Save room for a served-in-the-skillet Dutch Baby pancake to enjoy with those last few sips (or second round) of lavender margaritas.
Hearth and Hill, 1153 Center Drive, Park City,
PUTTING ON THE SPRITZ
Italians know how to live (and eat, and drink) well and with enthusiasm, so it’s no surprise that they invented so many classic beverages made for easy daytime sipping. An Italian perennial favorite of lingering summer lunches is the Aperol Spritz, a drink built right in the glass with a minimum of fuss. A slightly milder and lower alcohol-by-volume cousin to Campari bitter liqueur, Aperol’s name legendarily comes from the Italian word “apero,” slang for aperitif. At Oak Wood Fire Kitchen in Draper, chef Brandon Price likes to keep a couple of spritz options on the weekend brunch menu; these well-balanced cocktails easily complement both savory and sweet dishes.
Oak Wood Fire Kitchen, 715 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-996-8155, OakWoodfireKitchen.com
1 ½ ounces Aperol
3 ounces Prosecco Redentore
Club soda (or lemon-lime soda, for sweeter profile)
Method: To a large wine glass filled with ice add the Aperol and prosecco. Top with a bit of soda to fill the glass and garnish with an orange wheel.
HOP ON POP
The team at SLC Eatery takes a global approach to their always-delicious brunch offerings, so it’s no surprise that their drink menu is equally adventurous. Bar manager Elyse Evans says she developed this bright and zingy cocktail as a “light and fun alternative to the bloody mary.” Key to any great drink, Evans uses only fresh-squeezed lemon and strained ginger juices. “I wanted to come up with a brunch cocktail that was healthy and refreshing, but with a hint of spice to it,” she says. “Most people don’t associate gin with brunch, but with carrot juice, it was the perfect canvas to build upon.” If mixing this up at home, go local by trying a high ABV kick from Bosun’s Navy Strength gin made by Holystone Distillery.
SLC Eatery, 1017 S. Main, SLC, 801-355-7952, SLCEatery.com
1 ½ ounces gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
¼ ounce ginger juice
2 ounces carrot juice
Method: add all ingredients to a shaker with ice; shake until tin is frosty. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass; garnish with a celery stalk.
BEEF IT UP
While bloody marys are the drinks of brunch legend, many prefer the savory deep flavors of a Bloody Bull, which is mixed with beef stock or au jus for that little extra bit of can’t-quite-place-it umami. The popular version made at Copper Onion is on both the brunch and daily lunch menu and worth a try any day of the week. Copper bartenders combine strained housemade beef stock with horseradish and house pickle juice for a uniquely satisfying spin on the brunch classic. While convention might declare all bloodies be made with vodka, take a cue from our neighbors to the north (Canada, that is) and make this cocktail at home with gin, Snapper-style (a Snapper is usually made with gin and Clamato for a bright profile). I’ve also enjoyed many a Bloody Bull variation in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, made with bracing unaged whiskey, of course.
Copper Onion, 111 E. Broadway, SLC, 801-355-3282, TheCopperOnion.com
Know this right off the bat: The Bar at Beehive Distilling usually doesn’t open to the public until 4 in the afternoon, so it’s clearly not a brunch destination. In fact, when suggesting this day drink, head distiller Chris Barlow says the Corpse Reviver No 2 “is about as brunchy as we get.”
However, a recent Beehive visit to drink cocktails and sample their very fun food menu (featuring bites like smoked tinned mussels with pickled peppers and truffle potato chips) inspired me to host a super simple conservas (tinned seafood) brunch at home with goods sourced from Caputo’s Market. Although vermouth is the regional standard for sipping with conservas, classic gin or vodka drinks with a bit of citrus are equally delish. I took Barlow’s cue and shook up some Corpse Revivers (of which there are several recorded versions, hence the “No. 2” descriptor), a Victorian-era slang term for morning drinks prepared “hair of the dog” fashion. Wrote Corpse Revivor No. 2 recipe chronicler Harry Craddock in the late 1920s, “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
The Bar at Beehive Distilling, 2245 S. West Temple, South Salt Lake, 801-326-3913, BeehiveDistilling.com
Corpse Reviver No. 2
1 ounce Beehive Jack Rabbit Gin
1 ounce Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 dash absinthe
Method: Shake all ingredients together in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Strain into a Nick and Nora or coupe glass. Squeeze a swath of orange peel over the cocktail to express the citrus oils; garnish with the orange swath.