The transition from winter to spring is one of the most anticipated times of the year. It’s time to frolic in the sunshine as the earth comes back to life in shades of green and pastel blossoms. It’s also time for lazy, leisurely brunches replete with refreshing cocktails brimming with aromas similar to spring breeze. Just as spring food menus change from hearty dishes of earth-toned root vegetables to perkier plates full of herbs, berries and edible flowers, so, too, do cocktails. Here are seven cocktails to brighten your spring during weekend brunch.
Tequila in Bloom at Apron
The arresting color of Tequila in Bloom is a surprising visual contrast to the enchanting flavor of this drink. A sip translates to a springtime bouquet as tequila’s natural floral characteristics take cues from St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) and Crème de Violette. It’s enchanting in its delicacy and goes well with eggs Benedict and the laid-back patio at Apron. It’s also available at Overdrive Lounge for evening lingering over the sports-car action on the Porsche track. 2 Porsche Drive, Atlanta. 470-466-3300, solis2porschedrive.com/dining/Apron.
The Orchidaissical at Cook Hall
Elegant in its simplicity, Cook Hall’s the Orchidaissical gains herbaceous depth from Carpano Antica Formula vermouth while Dixie Southern vodka delivers a good, clean punch. It is stirred with Suze, a French aperitif made from gentian root. This adds a floral layer, as subtly perfumed as a budding spring garden. 3377 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-523-3600, cookhallrestaurants.com.
Wabbit Season at One Eared Stag
Can a brunch cocktail also be healthy? You can drink your spring veggies with One Eared Stag’s elixir of vodka, carrot juice, lemon and drinking vinegars. Beverage director Mikey Kilbourne shakes it with a protein-laden egg white for a silky, creamy texture, yet it sips light and crisp like a carrot-driven sour. “All in all, it’s a light, airy, boozy creamsicle perfect for the season,” he says. Bonus: Ordering Wabbit Season will make everyone at the table smile. 1029 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta. 404-525-4479, oneearedstagatl.com.
Strawberry Spring Crush at Marlow’s Tavern
For more than a century, the smash has demonstrated how ably fresh ingredients can be integrated into everyday cocktails. It’s a sort of shorter sister to the julep and therefore is a perfect match to big hats and springtime brunch. Beverage manager Rick Blumberg macerates fresh strawberries and basil with a splash of lemon, adding vodka, Cocchi Americano (aperitif), and finally ginger beer. It’s herbaceous and sweetly aromatic and calls for a patio on which to enjoy it. Multiple locations, marlowstavern.com.
Honeysuckle Spritz at Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Bubbles are quintessential at brunch. At Wrecking Bar, where chef Terry Koval is a champion of local ingredients, bartenders stir up a version of the classic French 75 that includes locally made soda. Honeysuckle Spritz hits all the bases of tart, sweet and bubbly. Elderflower liqueur swaps for simple syrup along with gin, Dolin Genepy (an herbal Alpine liqueur) and lemon. It’s topped off with Montane Meyer Lemon Honeysuckle sparkling water that brings bubbles along with the springtime aroma of honeysuckle on the vine. 292 Moreland Ave. NE., Atlanta. 404-221-2600, wreckingbarbrewpub.com.
Sgt. Pepper at St. Cecilia
It’s not quite the color of Ringo’s psychedelic marching gear, but Sgt. Pepper is a tingly pink sparkler. The luscious take on a Bellini with spring strawberries subbing for peaches and Lambrusco for the bubbles has a gentle effervescence. Black pepper is the surprise ingredient, leaving it fruity, not frilly, with a tinge of heat. It pairs nicely with chef Craig Richards’ ricotta waffle. 3455 Peachtree Road NE., Atlanta. 404-554-9995, stceciliaatl.com.
Super Junior at Char Korean Bar & Grill
A brunch cocktail should be light and refreshing with simple flavors. Char Korean’s Super Junior accomplishes this even with the addition of rye whiskey. Perennial strawberries made into a shrub are stirred with rye and elderflower liqueur, followed by a topper of spicy ginger beer. The Collins glass is garnished with a fresh berry as bright and fragrant as this sipper. Enjoy it at the open-air bar with green tea waffles or scallion pancakes. 299 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404-525-2427, charatlanta.com.
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