It’s common knowledge that brunch does not often feature the most inspired cuisine or cocktail options — but then again, most bleary-eyed patrons only require the bare essentials to make them content on a weekend morning. Still, it seems a few notable chefs are starting to finally give this quasi-breakfast-that-begins-with-a-drink more attention, and certainly a broadening of the palate of accepted cocktails on offer is way overdue. At Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, their full menu (also served on weekends) has a number of morning-appropriate hangover cures that far exceed the typical juice-plus-spirit brunch expectation, though one of the surprisingly popular stand-outs comes from their absinthe menu.
Adding to the cheerful glee that one would expect with enjoying oysters, head bartender Maxwell Britten must have known that his Evergreen – a tall, greenish, wine-based cocktail – would instantly attract unanimous oo’s and ah’s as it passes through the dining room, leading any indecisive patron to say, “I’ll have one of those.” Cucumbers tauntingly line the outside of the glass, pressed back by the crushed ice and citrusy absinthe mixture, as a garnish of rosemary sits atop of the Evergreen for an added aromatic bonus.
Ingeniously, adding the freshness of cucumbers to any cocktail seems to instantly signal to a guest that a drink will be both delicious and easy-going, almost the same way that chefs can add eggs to any food dish to suddenly make it an accessible brunch item. Though the Pacifique Verte Superieur Absinthe stands out, with its “holy trinity” of wormwood, anise and fennel, there are also some definite minty and even alpine notes, which is appropriate given that it is made in the Pacific Northwest.
Though it was likely never intended as a brunch drink, the balance of a crisp, dry Muscadet with absinthe in the Evergreen struck me as a great example of why it’s time for a new crop of sophisticated, eye-opening drinks to fill this tired genre. Sure, some people swear by their Bloody Marys, but perhaps it’s time we ventured outside of the box a little.
- 1 1/2 ounces Muscadet white wine
- 1 ounce Absinthe
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce rosemary syrup
- 10-12 pieces sliced cucumber
- Combine ingredients into a tall Pilsner glass and fill the glass 3/4 of the way with crushed ice.
- Swizzle together and slide cucumber slices along the side of the glass.
- Top with more crusted ice and garnish with several rosemary leaves and a green bamboo paper straw.
Note: To make rosemary syrup, make a batch of 1:1 simple syrup, remove from the heat and add 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Set aside for 2 hours and strain.
Try mixing one of these Cocktails of the Week on Food Republic: