There is a lot of heated debate when it comes to naming the best place to go for brunch. And yet it's funny — often it seems as though these restaurants topping their city's (or the country's) "Best Brunch" lists have accompanying cocktail lists that are, well, real snoozers. Next to those perfectly poached eggs or that too-good-for-words plate of fried chicken and waffles, a plain 'ole mimosa just loses its sparkle.
Of course (thankfully) there are exceptions — restaurants who've done away with the tired classics and instead come up with drinks that are actually worth getting out of bed on a Sunday for. Here are six favorites.
Publican (Chicago, Ill.)
At this top-ranked restaurant, the quality of the libations list matches that of the food menu. With your pork belly and golden raisin omelette you can try their signature mimosa, which cleverly replaces the traditional Champagne with a light, tart German beer. Also interesting is the Ojos Rojos, a buzz-inducing mixture of Intelligentsia coffee-infused rum, Coca-Cola, and Peychaud's bitters.
Toulouse Petit (Seattle, Wash.)
This Seattle homage to New Orleans' French Quarter is all about encouraging daytime drinking. Quality daytime drinking, that is. Their list's Big Easy-inspired drinks include adaptions on a Hurricane, Sazerac, and a Milk Punch. The real attention-grabber, however, is the Breakfast Flip. This morning-meal-in-a-glass drink combines bacon-flavored vodka with vanilla liqueur, irish cream, and maple syrup. Better still, all of the cocktails are priced under $7 until 5:30 p.m.
Buttermilk Channel (Brooklyn, NY.)
There's good reason why this Carroll Gardens spot is never without a line at brunch (the fried pork chop with cheddar waffles and pecan pie French toast have something to do with it). That, and the fact that a long wait seems less so when you've got a well-crafted cocktail in hand. It's not as extensive a bloody mary list as Prune's, which is well deserving of a shout-out, but there is certainly a lot to praise about the four varieties it does offer. Perhaps most interesting is the Star of the Sea, which features celery and peppercorn-infused vodka and is garnished with a freshly shucked East Coast oyster. And for whiskey lushes, there's the Otis, which adds Jameson and a rich stout to the bloody mary equation.
Lambert's Downtown Barbecue (Austin, Texas)
Clearly if you've opted to go with barbecue, you're not looking to have a typical brunch experience. Lambert's seems to understand that, given their brunch cocktail offerings. In addition to more familiar creations like the Michelada and the Pimm's Cup are stand-outs like the Sanchez — a puckery, briny mix of vodka with olive juice, pickled jalapeño, and caperberry. Also worth noting are the Arturo (vodka, Kahlua, double espresso, and steamed milk), and the Sour Cherry Rita (Cazadores Blanco, Grand Marnier, brandied cherries, lemon, cherry bitters, and cherry brandy).