Bloody Mary at Saxon + Parole
Frankie’s Radler at Frankies 570 Spuntino
Afternoon Buzz at Clover Club
Raspberry Beret at Peels
Mirimar Cooler at Prime Meats
Dagger at Fort Defiance
Watermelon Mimosa at Fatty ’Cue Manhattan
Aperol Fizz at the Dutch
Hotel Nacional Special at the Beagle
Sludgy commercial tomato juice may be standard for the brunch-tippling favorite, but this excellent rendition stands apart thanks to a fresh-pressed veggie elixir—a mix of bright tomato, sweet carrots and red bell pepper, plus cucumber and celery. Vodka punched up with garlic delivers boozy weight, while dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco, along with horseradish, add subtle layers of savoriness and spice. A rim of Aleppo chili and smoked Maldon salt finishes the enlivening, balanced drink. $12.
Perfectly constructed for sunshine sipping, this daffodil-yellow quaff is made with beer and a triple hit of lemon from liqueur, juice and soda. Head bartender Damon Boelte builds the drink with an extra-tart limoncello, made in-house with high-proof vodka, turbinado sugar and an armful of lemons that all mingle together for four days. He perks up the sweet Southern Italian–inspired spirit with a splash of fresh citrus and fizzy Lurisia La Nostra Gazzosa, an Italian soda made with Amalfi’s aromatic sfusato lemons. A hoppy pour of the clean and bright pilsner Einbecker delivers a bitter, bracing finish. $11.
Bartender Tom Macy classes up hazelnut-flavored coffee, an old café favorite, with this milky bourbon sipper. Coffee Heering liqueur brings the morning-brew flavors, while Bulleit—infused with toasted hazelnuts for four days—fortifies the quaff with a nutty, spiced backbone. A dash of vanilla syrup lends fragrant sweetness, whole milk smooths it out and a mound of pebble ice chills the eye-opening tipple. $11.
Bartender Yana Wolfson named this purple-tinged tipple after Prince’s catchy 1985 hit, but the twangy, bone-dry concoction calls to mind experimental jazz more than harmonic pop. The glass showcases Wolfson’s homemade raspberry shrub, an acidic dark-fruit tincture of berries simmered in muscatel vinegar. Sharp grapefruit and lime juices, plus lemony Beefeater gin, triple-down on the citrus for this plummy cocktail. $13.
Barkeep Natasha David’s breezy, verdant quencher will make a convert out of any tequila-averse drinker. Sweet, floral St. Germain mellows the slight pungency of Pueblo Viejo blanco tequila, erasing any memory of a bad college Jose Cuervo bender, while celery bitters and fresh lime juice play off the spirit’s herbaceous notes. Fine-bubbled seltzer and a twisted ribbon of celery pretty up the refreshing summery drink. $13.
Proprietor St. John Frizell first created this elegant drink for a black-tie cocktail competition honoring Verdi’s Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera, but the citrusy gin aperitif goes down just as smooth in casual digs on a sunny day in Red Hook. Frizell reps the composer’s Italian roots with rich Cocchi Americano and Macbeth’s Scottish heritage with herbaceous Hendrick’s gin. Bittermens Amère Sauvage, a liqueur made from gentian root, boosts the drink’s bitter notes, and fresh lemon juice brightens it up. $10.
For this dead-simple riff on the mimosa, beverage director Adam Schuman replaces OJ with fresh-squeezed watermelon juice. Instead of ritzy champagne, he douses the ambrosial fruit juice with a more down-market splash of fizzy prosecco. The sparkling wine imbues the light blush sipper with bubbles, hints of yeast and a dry, satisfying finish. $12.
Beverage director Josh Nadel builds this fruity effervescent quaff with Breuckelen gin and bittersweet Aperol, an Italian aperitif distilled from orange, gentian and rhubarb. He fleshes out the boozy base with purees of fragrant passion fruit and sweet mandarin orange, plus the subtly savory Lillet. Crément de Loire, a biodynamic French sparkling wine, sets off the aromatic cocktail with jubilant bubbles and dries out the finish, so you can keep sipping it all day. $13.
This sultry Cuban classic, a variation on the daiquiri, conjures Havana’s tropical heat with a sugarcane-based spirit and fermented fruit flavors. Instead of the traditional Bacardi, head bartender Dan Greenbaum swaps in a smooth and vegetal white rum from Flor de Caña in Nicaragua. Fresh-pressed pineapple juice, lime and apricot brandy add funky acid and sweetness. During brunch Sat, Sun noon–3:30pm $11, all other times $13.
After an earlier incarnation on W. 77th Street closed due to condo construction, Vai Restaurant is back on the Upper West Side, continuing its eight-year tenure serving contemporary Mediterranean food to carb-eschewing yuppies. Owner/Chef Vincent Chirico of “Knife Fight” fame got his bona fides working in the kitchens of Jean-Georges Restaurant, Aquavit, Daniel and Union Pacific. The intimate new space is clean and unadorned, with 14 tables and a half-dozen bar stools around the semi-circle bar. It’s planted on a brick wall mid-restaurant, with a large mirror reflecting fishbowl sconces on chains, featuring flickering votives. The food is similarly solid and unfussy, if a bit on the higher end, with many off-menu, seasonal additions available. During a recent visit, we enjoyed the featured cocktails, the Blackberry Paloma ($14) blending tequila, grapefruit and blackberry, and the simple Elijah’s Maple Sour ($15), a mix of Elijah Craig Bourbon and Hudson Valley Maple syrup. The hostess brought an amuse-bouche of savory eggplant mousseline and soft bread to dip it in. Chirico is known for his crudo, so we sampled a layered Hamachi-Yellowfin Tuna Duo ($17) with two generous lobes of yellowfin over a tartare of pink tuna and fresh avocado. A tang of ginger and cilantro enlivened the whole affair. We paired this with the charred octopus ($16.5) a tender tentacle of grilled ‘pus over roasted fingerling potatoes and a bright green jalapeno pesto, with slivers of dry-roasted garli
Venue says: “Join us for Happy Hour Sun-Fri 2pm-4pm and 9pm-close. Glass of sparkling wine and 3 complimentary oysters and $8 beers, wine and cocktails.”