Food & Drink

The Most Underrated Brunch Drinks, According to Bartenders

Sunday after Sunday of Mimosas and Bloody Marys has us feeling like the brunch drinking scene has turned into Groundhog Day. We need something new, or possibly something old, but definitely something underrated and uncommon. Bartenders can relate, so they suggested a bunch of tasty brunch drinks that people never order but really ought to try.

Corpse Reviver #2

“One of the drinks I love to prepare for brunch is the legendary Corpse Reviver #2—the intention of this drink was for hangover purposes. It was made famous by the legendary Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930. It contains gin, lime, Lillet Blanc and Cointreau. I’m surprised that people can order Micheladas, extra spicy Bloody Marys or heavy beers at 9 a.m.—it seems irritating for the stomach! Corpse Reviver #2 is not only low-ABV, but it’s refreshing, light and very versatile. Add some pineapple juice for a fruity effect, or add some mint and cucumber for more refreshing notes. You can even change the Cointreau for honey or agave. The possibilities are endless.” — Dany Maldonado, The Recess Room

Simple Citrusy Drinks

“Two cocktails I feel that have been a little lost in the shuffle are the Screwdriver and the Greyhound. Pairing fresh squeezed OJ or grapefruit juice with organic vodka can be a great way to spike your daily dose of vitamin C, not to mention a great way to start your day off.” — Jon Augustin, True Food Kitchen

Caffeinated Cocktails

"Tea-based Sangria and coffee-infused bourbon cocktails are a couple unique options that I prefer for brunch cocktails. Both are twists on traditional breakfast beverages. Specific examples would be a nice refreshing green tea Sangria and a Manhattan with coffee-infused Weller Antique Bourbon, which we exclusively have at Emeril's Las Vegas restaurants." — Mike Jones Delmonico Steakhouse

“I think a great breakfast cocktail is the Irish Coffee, even though it seems to be cropping up in some bars as a dessert drink. It contains strong Irish whiskey and sugar mixed into black coffee and layered with cream. At AceBounce, there is a version of the Irish Coffee called the Cold Streak done with bourbon, banana liqueur, Ancho Reyes, Metric Coffee Cold Brew and coconut-laced cream.” — Peter Vestinos, AceBounce and Flight Club

“I never really see Espresso Martinis or many coffee-based drinks listed in menus anymore. Everyone has gotten so caught up in Manmosas and Bloody Marias (and the obvious unlimited Mimosas and Bloodies) for their Sunday funday festivities that they've forgotten the one beverage that most everyone consumes on a daily basis: coffee! Now I understand not everyone has the luxury of having espresso machines behind their bars, but I'd like to say everyone has coffee, and different flavored liquors can be used to make do. I love when I've made a drink for someone and it takes them on a different flavor adventure than just spicy tomato juice or bubbly sweetened wine.” — Nicole Maung, Roux

White Sangria

“My bartenders and I think that white wine Sangria can get overlooked from other drinks because of the name itself—people think of it as just wine. But with the flavors of brandy, peach schnapps, white wine, pears and apples marinated and served over ice, it’s a very refreshing beverage. When people do brunch, they only think bottomless Mimosas or Bloody Marys. These are great cocktails, but why not a pitcher of Sangria for breakfast?” — Sean Wilson, Market City Caffe

French 75

“I tried to modify the French 75 with a twist and create a lighter version with French Vodka and French liqueur instead of the gin or Cognac. Fruit liqueur in general tastes great with bubbles. However, when that liqueur is too sweet, it tends to overwhelm the entire drink. St-Germain brings the right sweet-floral balance, enabling the use of a heavier hand, complementing the Grey Goose Vodka and Champagne. The flavors come together with a nice sensation on the palate.” — Hemant Pathak, Junoon

Vodka Gimlet

“When it comes to brunch, we’d love to see variations of the traditional Vodka Gimlet popping back up on menus across New York. Because it is a very easy drink to sip, the Pearfume—our take on the cocktail [made with Grey Goose la Poire, bergamot juice, simple syrup and sage leaves]—is the perfect way to switch up the typical Mimosa or Bloody Mary with a citrusy and refreshing cocktail fit for any boozy brunch.” — Xavier Herit, Nomo Soho

Sherry Cobbler

"The Sherry Cobbler is a perfect brunch beverage as it is lower proof, light, fruity and quaffable. Sherry has been making a recent comeback but can be considered a forgotten drink and  cocktail ingredient. Our Cobbler will feature two very different sherries, Fino and Pedro Ximenez. Fino is a light, dry, pale style while PX is rich, viscous and jammy. We combine the two with a seasonal jam, which is currently cherry-thyme (soon to be strawberry), and fresh lemon juice for balance." — Griffin Elliot Cold Storage and Swift & Sons


"The cocktail recipe itself is extremely simple. All you need to do is pour equal parts of Campari and sweet vermouth over ice and fill the glass with soda. It's about as refreshing as a Campari cocktail can get, but that is not to say that the Americano is for everyone. The flavor profile is decidedly Campari, which is bitter and not in line with the inherent tastes of many. It's great for brunch because it's refreshing and low-ABV. You can also substitute Campari for a less bitter aperitif or amaro like Aperol, Sfumato or Cappelletti." — Danielle Lewis, GT Prime and GT Fish & Oyster

Salty Dog

“The Salty Dog is my all-time favorite cocktail. It will bring a hungover crusader back to adventure. Traditionally it’s gin (or sometimes vodka), grapefruit juice and a sea salt rim. [Ours] is unique because I'm using aquavit as the base, then adding myrtle berry. The myrtle berry gives a sense of depth and softens the grapefruit, and the aquavit lingers a hint of anise on the finish. It’s topped with a pinch of Hawaiian black sea salt, which curves the mild bitterness from the grapefruit and brings slightly savory goodness.” — Lee Zaremba, Bellemore, Somerset, Devereaux and Dutch & Doc's

Brandy Alexander

“There’s an old cocktail called a Brandy Alexander that’s really great for brunch and deserves a comeback! The ingredients are Cognac, crème de cacao and fresh cream. It’s equal portions of each and served chilled straight up with a sprinkle of nutmeg. It pairs really well with sweet brunch items like pastries, pancakes and French toast.” — Joelle Humenik, aMuse

50/50 Martini

“There truly is no wrong time or way to drink a Martini—whether it’s a classic Martini for happy hour, a bone dry Martini for dinner or a Gin Cosmo for breakfast. I prefer to start my Sundays off on the right foot with a 50/50 Martini. Equal parts Bombay Sapphire and dry vermouth. Simple, elegant and damn delicious. It lets everyone around you know that you don’t mess around. Brunch is serious business, after all!” – Carley Gaskin, Disco