Celebrating brunch with dedicated cocktails makes it more fun for guests at 8ARM in Atlanta, but also gives the bartender a new creative outlet.
Two months ago, this venue launched its brunch cocktails and has seen a lot of interest in them. “We’re trying to steer away from just the same Mimosa, Bloody Mary trope that most people expect and provide something a bit different,” says general manager and beverage director Joshua Fryer.
“The primary focus was to provide something a little more creative than the standard thing. If you’re going to come in and have an interesting meal at brunch, you should have an interesting drink to go with it. It also keeps the bartender happy and more satisfied because he’s less bored than just making a Mimosa.”
8ARM’s brunch menu features five cocktails:
Exorcism (gin, iced hyssop tea, lemon, honey, cold-pressed sorghum)
Rio Punch (cachaça, pineapple, coconut water, lime, orange bitters, cane sugar)
Elkhound (Danish akvavit, grapefruit juice, coriander-salt rim)
Guava Blossom (sparkling wine, guava purée, rose water)
Turmeric Mimosa (sparkling wine, orange juice, turmeric, black pepper)
The Exorcism is the most popular, Fryer says. “The idea for this one came from the idea that hyssop could help exorcize things from your body.” And along that vein, he wanted the brunch cocktails to all feature a healthier ingredient, to distinguish them from evening cocktails.
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“It was all about putting in healthier elements. At nighttime, people are more about getting destroyed, but if they’re going to drink in the day, they’ll feel better about it if there are healthier elements in the drink so it’s not as destructive to their body, and that they’re treating it well at the same time.”
Two of the cocktails (Guava Blossom and Turmeric Mimosa) are low in alcohol “for those who don’t want to feel buzzed or drunk,” Fryer says. And even for guests imbibing the stronger cocktails, “they have restorative elements,” he points out.
The cocktails cost $9 to $11, a little less than nighttime cocktails, which run $11 to $15, but the food costs are around the same, at about 20 percent, Fryer says.
They’re served from 9:00 to 3:00 at weekends, though can be made upon request at any time. They will be changed seasonally. The hyssop comes directly from 8ARM’s patio garden, and more brunch cocktail ingredients will be sourced there by next spring.
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At The Fat Radish in Savannah, Ga., brunch cocktails reflect the farm-to-table philosophy. Classic cocktails have a fresh produce twist, like the Carrot Aperol Spritz served at weekend brunch, featuring Aperol, carrot juice, ginger, cardamom, and ginger beer, and a housemade Pimm’s Cup, which contains Malbec, gin, pineapple juice, allspice dram, and raspberry sour ale. “They’re fruity, low ABV and don’t get you too sloshed,” says general manager Gaby Mlynarczyk.
Keeping brunch drinks lighter is important, she says. “That makes them more food-friendly than most stirred cocktails. I always try to incorporate a culinary ingredient; if it has some beneficial property then all the better.”
The brunch cocktails, like all other cocktails at this location, have food costs below 17 percent, and a maximum liquor cost of 12 percent.
And the brunch cocktails certainly help boost business at this time. Customers hear about them through word of mouth or on Instagram, Mlynarczyk says.