Oysters and Martinis at the author's house. Mmm, brunch-y...
Last week I complained about bad brunch drinks so — in the spirit of helpfulness and compelled at least in part by my midwestern upbringing — I figure I must start pointing out what makes for good brunch drinking. Never criticize someone else’s idea without an idea of your own, my father used to tell me.
Every brunch serves a different purpose, and presumably if you are hosting you are aware of the sort of atmosphere you are encouraging. Generally speaking, I think the point of brunch is to offer a pleasant disruption to the normative flow of the week — a way of marking time, this — and the libations should follow suit. Yet before we start preparing dramatic dishes and presentations, it is also important to remember that within the context of brunch, already a large meal chronologically out-of-place, many ordinary drinks, eats, and entertainments will seem a little novel without any extra effort. Breakfast and lunch foods together? Hardly exotic, but pleasantly off the norm — you see what I mean?
So keeping in mind that cold beer tastes better at the beach, I think brunch drinks are simply good drinks applied tastefully in a less-common situation, perhaps tweaked slightly to encourage that brunch-y feeling of novelty and occasion. Hold on, here comes a martini:
3-5 parts Green Hat Gin
1 part Dolin Dry
2 dashes Orange Bitters (I use 1 Regan’s, 1 Ango Orange)
Garnish (citrus peel, blueberries, whatever)
I mention Green Hat and, as ever, when I specify a brand, I will tell you why. There are two big reasons for this one:
1) We did a promotional giveaway with Green Hat for Father’s Day, so let’s call it synergy. Not only am I hoping they share this column with their followers, I also snagged a bottle “for research” on my way out of the shop the other day. Synergy, shamelessness — “to-may-to,” “to-mah-to,” “full disclosure.” (I have intentionally avoided viewing their website or any promotional materials as of writing this.)
2) Green Hat makes a lovely gin that nicely illustrates how to spin a classic into a “brunch cocktail.” How about that? And like us, GH is a D.C. native — adds to the magic, I think.
Notes: GH’s gin — I’m using their classic, not the navy-strength or their seasonal releases — has a nice round flavor to it; the juniper tastes berry-y instead of just pine-y; and it’s even got a little honey sweetness to it. (Try it next to a London Dry Gin like Beefeater.) It really is a darling of a gin, a sharp break from the usual British bruisers, and its characteristics lend it to a very clean, enjoyable, and noticeably unique martini. Nothing wild, just eminently pleasant and perfect for brunch.
I say Dolin Dry because it does play better; I tried one with Noilly Prat at 1:4 and it was still too pungent. You really must to treat this gin gently — it’s a lover, not a fighter.