As spring begins to show its sunny side a little more often, I start to desire a big Sunday brunch. Not sure exactly why brunch and spring go together, but they do. And for me–maybe you, too–a perfect brunch needs a perfect drink. While there are loads of classics, it’s nice when restaurants have original or non-traditional drinks that match brunch beautifully. If you find yourself equally hungry and thirsty come brunch time, here are four good suggestions.
Ballard Bramble at the Young American Ale House: Since opening last winter, this Ballard stop has gained acclaim for its Washington state beer selection (which you can find on a chalk board along the entry aisle), but it also has a nice list of seasonal drinks, including a special menu of eight brunch options. The tops for me at a recent visit was this bramble made by friendly shaker Karen Johnson. With local Oola gin, Lillet rose, lemon, an egg white and a housemade blackberry shrub, as my pal Rachel said, it “tastes like a spring morning.” The bright, fruity quality is refreshing alongside an item like the house pork shoulder hash–with eggs, onions, peppers and salsa verde–as well as any available sunshine streaming in the big front windows.
Italian Lemonade at Thackeray: Sometimes for brunching, it’s best to look for drinks that don’t pack quite the punch of their more serious late-night relatives, unless you’re looking to nap the day away. The freshest hit along the Stone Way Wallingford corridor, Thackeray has a menu of five low proof highballs that fit this requirement. The Italian Lemonade screams springtime with Meletti limoncello from Italy, fino Sherry, hopped grapefruit bitters and soda: bubbly, tangy, yummy. Pair it with the Arabic Shakshuka, a sumptuous dish of eggs, peppers and tomato sauce.
Blue Beard’s Wife at E. Smith Mercantile: Only open for “Brunch Time” on Sundays (which is of course the best brunch time), this cuddly bar-in-a-store is a lovely place to begin your day–if your day begins at noon, which is when the brunching starts here. The menu of Suggested Morning Libations has five choices, but for maximum pick-me-up, try the Blue Beard’s Wife. Gin, lavender bitters and Italian Sambuca provide layers of spice, egg white, lemon and honey provide a tangy, frothy boost and cold brew delivers the pizzazz. Match it with the baked eggs with arugula and house ricotta.
Bloody Mary at the Dunbar Room: While innovative brunching drinks are divine, some days you want to sip up a classic. If that’s the case, then at least have it with live jazz, which is what you’ll get during the recently-unveiled Jazz Brunch, Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at this First Hill spot in the Sorrento Hotel. The Bloody Marys are build-your-own, with housemade spice mix, vodka choices and pickled garnishes. You can pair it with a build-your-own breakfast “tower,” too, made of toasts, cheeses, charcuterie and more. If your brunch taste runs more refined, try the Hummingbird with Champagne, soda and elderflower liqueur St- Germain.