Ah, spring is here!
Okay, so it’s still raining. But as the Slope warms up one staggering sunbeam at a time, this Late Shift columnist has one thing on her mind: brunch cocktails. Lots of ‘em, in glistening skinny glasses with seasoned rims and cherries and decorative umbrellas. I can think of no better way to make a precious patch of sunshine count than to sip a refreshing dessert of a drink on a restaurant patio while watching the strollers roll by.
So I’ve braved the Slope’s drizzly streets to give you a neighborhood brunch cocktail guide, starting in South Slope and moving inward, so you can cover the most terrain in the least amount of time. Hopefully New York’s irritable clouds will part soon, and you'll have yourself a little booze cruise this weekend. If not, bookmark this page for a sunny day.
Hands down, breakfast at Sidecar is the best way to clear the Sunday morning sleepers out of your eyes. By “breakfast,” I mean the shot of Jimador tequila washed down with some fiery bloody mary mix and a pickle for $7. A champion’s way to start the day, if I ever saw one.
If you’re not quite ready to relive your college years, however, the rest of Sidecar’s early bird cocktail menu offers some superb (and softer) options. Take, for instance, the scorching $9 Spicy Jesus — a dangerous concoction of Plymouth gin, pimm’s, grapefruit, ginger syrup, lemon, and unforgiving homemade hot sauce.
Then there’s the more tropical stuff like Buck’s Fizz, an $8 Cristalino Cava, Angostura Bitters, and grapefruit cocktail that bartender Will Noland says “is like something out of a J.D. Salinger novel.”
My personal favorite is Blood and Sand, a mix of Famous Grouse scotch, Heering cheery liquer, sweet vermouth and burnt orange juice. It’s like a fresh liquored-up glass of blood orange pulp with just enough tang to hint you’re getting some Vitamin C with your alcohol.
I’d say go to Applewood next, but we all know that it takes at least a half hour to get a spot at the bar there, all for some overhyped $11 apricot infused brandy drink named Widow’s Last Caress #2. A wait that long may threaten your boozy brunch stamina. Enter Bar Toto.
Their breakfast cocktails don’t come with whimsical names, but they’re made well and get the job done. Not to mention, Toto’s staff is quick and friendly.
As far as bloody marys go, theirs falls on the smokier side — perfect for hot sauce wimps like me and only $7 to boot. Pair it with a batch of hot, skinny $4 French fries (another Toto classic) and you’ve got yourself a bona fide brunch.
You sleepy? Must be those four shots of breakfast you had at Sidecar. Perch has just the thing for some perk: a $9 frappe of Svedka vanilla-infused vodka, Baileys, espresso, and Ghirardelli liquid chocolate named the Mocha Martini. Even sweeter is the $9 Raspberry Mule, another vodka drink that tastes just like a melted fruit Popsicle.
At last you’ve arrived at your final destination, your wallet lighter, your head fuzzy. But don’t skimp at Stone Park. Head bartendress Meaghan Levy makes a damn good passionfruit mimosa with Gruet Blanc de Noirs bubbly and a chilled fruit puree. If you’re feeling daring — and you should be, since you're several drinks deep — ask Levy to add some raspberry to the mix. It’ll be like one big drunk tropical cabana in a cup.
It’s probably also about time you got some real food in your stomach. You’re in the right hands. According to Jeff Franz, a customer who drives to from Bay Ridge to Park Slope to eat at Stone Park twice a month, you pretty much can’t go wrong with what you order.
“I’ve tried everything here and everything’s good,” he said.
So grab a menu and nestle in. Your Sunday is officially unproductive.