Best Brunch Cocktails: Go Beyond the Basic on Mother’s Day

Sorry, plain Jane Bloody Mary; you’re just way too basic these days. That goes for you, too, champy and OJ! Mixologists are creating radical cocktails that seriously raise the bar when it comes to midday imbibing. We’re talking cocky concoctions to boost your lobster benny – and your spirits (as well as mom’s) on Mother’s Day and beyond. Here are delish sips of spring in the form of the best brunch cocktails you need to drink this weekend.

The Ruby Soho, Left Bank, New York, New York
The Ruby Soho cocktail is deftly mixed by head bartender Claiborne Fortenberry, who combines grapefruit and pink peppercorn-infused tequila (made in-house), Pamplemousse liqueur, fresh lime, and a salt rim for a super-fresh day drink. Goes especially well with the eggs Benedict, don’t you think? Make a reservation at Left Bank.

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Eiffel Affair, Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Eiffel Affair is the best-selling “new classic” cocktail served at the Eiffel Tower in the desert and features fresh berries macerated in Stoli Blueberi Crème de Cassis, Cointreau, and Rose Nectar. It’s topped off with a splash of Eiffel Tower Cremant for added effervescence. Make a reservation at Eiffel Affair.

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Bloody Bull, Momofuku CCDC, Washington, D.C.
Grab the horns and order The Bloody Bull. Made with vodka, tomato, horseradish, and beef broth, the beef broth stars beef shank and oxtail, and is also used in CCDC’s Beef Noodle Soup. The cocktail, served only during weekend lunch, pairs particularly well with Momofuku’s Twice-Cooked Pork Noodles with maple fish sauce vinaigrette and the Scrapple, Egg, and Cheese steamed buns. Make a reservation at Momofuku CCDC.

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Citrine, Harvest Table, St. Helena, California
Lead bartender Joel Pfeifle mixes unique, non-spirit based cocktails — many of the ingredients are sourced from the inn’s five culinary gardens — but these certainly aren’t your garden-variety cocktails. Top brunch libations include the Strawberry Belle (Mirabelle Brut, Strawberry Shrub, Garden Mint Syrup, Lime Juice), The Pampered Moose (Giffard Pamplemousse, No. 209 Gin, Grapefruit Oleo, lemon juice), and the Citrine (sparkling wine, garden mint syrup, fresh squeezed orange, bitters). Make a reservation at Harvest Table.

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The Lunchbox, Farmer & The Seahorse, San Diego, California
A seashell’s fling from the beach in San Diego’s Torrey Pines neighborhood, the status cocktail at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s restaurant is called The Lunchbox — made with Mama’s Lil Pilsner beer, Peach liqueur, and freshly squeezed orange juice. It is the perfect pairing to the brunch menu’s duck confit and waffles or the pastrami-style pork belly hash. Make a reservation at Farmer & The Seahorse.

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Asparagus Negroni, Davio’s, Boston, Massachusetts
The Asparagus Negroni (Cynar, Stoli Vodka, Peychaud’s bitters, orange bitters and muddled asparagus) is a nod to the star of springtime. And, it’s a perfect complement to Davio’s brunch menu, including specials like the Beef Tenderloin with poached eggs, potatoes, popover, and truffle hollandaise. Make a reservation at Davio’s.

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Bashment Punch, Solomon & Kuff’s Rum Hall, New York, New York
Known for its almost 100 varieties of rum and a monthly reggae brunch, it’s no shocker that co-owner and mixologist Karl Franz Williams chose to channel the islands when he created his fruity Bashment Punch — a Caribbean-inspired libation of rum, pineapple juice, mango puree, lime juice, and orange bitter. Bonus: Sip it to up your daily fruit intake. Make a reservation at Solomon & Kuff’s Rum Hall.

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Millennial Mimosa, CUCINA enoteca, Newport Beach, California
Mimosas are to brunch what beer is to baseball — traditional, but kinda boring. Meet the millennial mimosa! The ingredients are rolled on a cart to your table and a more exciting mimosa is prepared just for you. You’ll have your choice of mixers, purees, and garnish, and the ingredients are seasonal, including pineapple-blood orange, vanilla bean, Meyer lemon, strawberry jalapeno, pomegranate peach, rosemary ginger pineapple, candied ginger, blueberries, rosemary sprigs, blackberries, fresh strawberries, and pomegranate seeds. Make a reservation at CUCINA enoteca.

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The Board, Nick & Toni’s, East Hampton, New York
Brunch in the Hamptons, such a chic chill. Wait, what, your bloody is bland, not enough horseradish? Or, hot sauce? Oh, bloody hell, you hate to send it back—what will the Seinfelds think? Or Billy Joel? Such a high maintenance brunchster you are. Nick and Toni’s has your back. They call their brunch Bloody Mary cocktail, “The Board” and describe it as “a drink, a snack and an activity.” The way it works: Pick a liquor (house-infused sweet pepper-onion-and basil-infused Absolut, hot pepper and peppercorn Absolut ,or Maestro Dobel Tequila, choose a mix and and garnish away – and toss in a few condiments to your tasting. Special Stuff: Pickled green garlic from the garden will be rotated into the Bloody Board lineup, too. Make a reservation at Nick & Toni’s.

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P-Town Punch, Sabio on Main, Pleasanton, California
The “deceptively light and fruity” P-Town Punch cocktail served at this newbie restaurant packs a lot of punch — Pisco, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gum Syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a strawberry garnish. The cocktail plays well with menu items like the Hamachi “Nicoise” salad and Eggs Benedict, and, thanks to the acid that is needed to cut through fat, the cocktail can also stand up to bigger flavors like the Liberty Duck Croque Monsieur and burgers. Make a reservation at Sabio on Main.

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Muddy Waters, Geraldine’s, Austin, Texas
Named for the father of Chicago blues music, the Muddy Waters cocktail (Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Averna, Orgeat syrup, cold brew coffee, condensed milk, and nutmeg) is a boozy coffee cocktail that harmonizes well with Geraldine’s Brioche French Toast and Smoked Short Rib Tacos. Make a reservation at Geraldine’s.

Muddy Waters - Photo credit Aubrie Pick

Buffalo Soldier, South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
Order the Buffalo Soldier (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, egg, maple syrup, two strips crumbled bacon, Peychaud’s Bitters, powdered sugar, and bacon strip garnish), expertly mixed cocktail from by head bartender Dan Rook, and you’ve basically got a beautiful brunch in a glass. Make a reservation at South Water Kitchen.

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Brunch Punch III, Hearth, New York, New York
East Village weekend brunchers get punch drunk with the Brunch Punch III, a brunch-only cocktail that stars Four Roses Bourbon, Atsby, Cocchi di Torino, and blood orange. Order it alongside one of Hearth’s delicious spring brunch dishes like the seasonal vegetable frittata. Make a reservation at Hearth.

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I-5 High Five, Café Eugene, Albany, California
The I-5 High Five (gin, Oregon Marionberry Liqueur, California spiced pear brandy, lemon, rosemary) gives Café Eugene’s cheesy grits with tomatillo-braised pork shoulder, chayote, butternut squash, wild herb sauce and a poached egg a perfect boost. Or, if it’s pancakes you crave, order the Duck-Duck-Punch (rum, orange, carrot, lime, pomegranate, falernum, Oregon chai, nutmeg) and the sweet yogurt raspberry pancakes with orange butter and Vermont maple syrup. Make a reservation at Café Eugene.

Proud Mary, Blue Smoke, New York, New York
Blue Smoke’s Proud Mary cocktail is Bloody Mary’s right-brained, more creative sister. The cocktail features smoked chicken wing-infused vodka, a special house Bloody mix, Blue Smoke hot sauce, and pickled vegetables. The perfect hook up for a Proud Mary is the popular Bright Eyed Breakfast Sandwich (biscuit doughnut, fried egg, pimento cheese and spicy fried chicken). Make a reservation at Blue Smoke.

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Oyster Martini, Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island
Castle Hill’s signature Oyster Martini is a gem of a drink – even without the pearl. Sip and slurp your brunch martini (Three Olives Tomato Vodka, Clamato juice, cilantro, fresh lime, sambal chili pepper, and sugarcane syrup) in the main dining room — or on The Lawn for a stately feeling. Make a reservation at Castle Hill Inn.

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El Bolero, Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago, Illinois
Iron Chef Jose Garces’s Catalan-inspired tapas restaurant has a revamped brunch menu, so beverage director Wesley Jackson created “a few vegetal cocktails for a creative hair of the dog.” The El Bolero cocktail features creamy avocado shaken with tequila and orange, and The Corpus de Sang is made with garlic- and basil-infused gin, tomato water, lemon, and olive brine, with a Spanish olive garnish. Make a reservation at Mercat a la Planxa.

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Dimmelo, La Pecora Bianca, New York, New York 
The classic spritz gets a makeover with the Dimmelo cocktail, made with Dimmi (a flavorful Milanese liqueur), lemon, Prosecco, and slightly bitter Contratto aperitif. Sip it on the patio, and pair it with on-trend avo toast or always-pleasing pancakes. Make a reservation at La Pecora Bianca.

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Fresca Amaro, Americano, Dallas, Texas
They say everything is big in Texas and that goes for big brunch beverages, too. The Cuffs & Buttons cocktail team (Chad Solomon, Christy Pope, and Sasha Petraske) have created several cocktails especially for brunch lovers here, including the popular Fresca Amaro (Blanco Tequila, honey, lime, grapefruit, and rosemary)—a cool match for Italian-American brunch dishes like housemade Nutella-filled doughnuts and the breakfast pizza with sausage gravy, a farm egg, and potatoes. Make a reservation at Americano.

Tequila Sunrise, Kachina Southwestern Grill, Westminster, Colorado
Kachina’s Sunday’s “Wild Wild West” brunch gets things going with the Tequila Sunrise (Sauza Blue Reposed tequila, fresh-squeezed orange juice, a cherry juice floater, served in a highball glass over ice, garnished with orange zest and a cherry). Drink it with Southwestern-inspired brunch dishes like the Duck Hash and Eggs (with duck confit, gold potatoes, caramelized onions, and two eggs any style) and Blue Corn Waffles topped with toasted pinon nuts, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Make a reservation at Kachina Southwestern Grill.

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Orange Crush Martini, 333 Pacific, Oceanside, California
You’ll heart mixologist Frank Valentine’s Orange Crush Martini, a lovely union of Bella Mar Orange Basil Vodka, white cranberry juice, Prosecco float, with an orange twist and basil leaf garnish. Make a reservation at 333 Pacific.

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Bloody Bunny, Peacock Alley-Waldorf Astoria, New York, New York
The Bloody Bunny was created by Frank Caiafa, the Waldorf’s expert beverage manager at the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel in midtown. It’s a twist on the classic bloody made with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, celery seed, Stolichnaya Vodka, fresh carrot juice, and a toasted pink peppercorn and coriander seed rim. A true 14-carrot gold drink. Make a reservation at Peacock Alley.

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Are you ready to raise a glass with something different in it this Mother’s Day? Which cocktail sounds most delicious to you? Let us know here or over on FacebookG+InstagramPinterest, or Twitter.

Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.

Photo credit: Aubrie Pick (Geraldine’s); Nader Khouri (Cafe Eugene); Jean Schwarzwalder (Blue Smoke); Brian Park (Pecora Bianca).