We Americans have a rule. No drinking before noon. Some of you slackers even wait all the way until 5 pm to unlock the liquor cabinet.
This is usually a good rule. A drink with your breakfast is a sign that things might not be going all that great for you. But remember, we're indulging here. And if you're indulging at one of the region's many famed weekend brunch spots, you're going to be in the company of others who are also drinking before the magic hour.
Just remember, a boozy cocktail with your breakfast or brunch essentially means you're not likely to accomplish anything of consequence for the remainder of the day. Whatever. You earned it.
THE BLOODY MARY
This is the steadfast warrior of the pre-noon cocktails. Its origins are shrouded in equal parts mystery and vodka, but regardless, hardy drinkers have been imbibing Bloody Marys since the 1920s. And if you're going for a bloody in the Inland Northwest, there is no shortage of great options. From the snazzy bloodys found at North Idaho resorts which pack in as many veggies as they can to the simpler, let's-get-back-on-the-train concoctions found at Spokane sports bars, this cocktail comes in many, many forms.
We're going to direct you to Chaps. This hiply decorated yet down-home cafe, located off Highway 195 just a few miles south of downtown, has become a destination for breakfast hunters. You'll probably want an eggs benedict, and you'll want to accompany that with Chaps' well-known Bloody Mary. It's strong, spicy and served with fresh garnishes. If you need another one, no one will notice when you sneak up to the bar for a refill.
This is the classiest of the morning beverages, but mostly just because you drink it out of a fancy glass in a fancy setting. And that's what you can do at the Davenport Hotel's Champagne Sunday Brunch. Drinking aside, this meal is an indulgence in and of itself. But you shouldn't ignore the fact that the $39.95 price tag includes unlimited mimosas. If you're getting sticker shock from that price, just figure how much a mimosa runs you at a typical bar and you'll realize this is a good deal. You'll want reservations, and you'll want to wipe the rest of your Sunday schedule clear. It could be the classiest way to tailgate for a Sunday of football.
THE BRASS MONKEY
The Beastie Boys — or at least the Beastie Boys, circa 1987 — would be proud of this one. The Garnet Cafe in Coeur d'Alene serves perhaps the boldest breakfast drink you're going to find in the region. They tell me it's a "traditional brass monkey," so fear not, malt liquor purists.
This popular breakfast and lunch spot is hardly a dive. They pride themselves on a fresh and innovative breakfast menu, but aren't above serving a brass monkey. Here's how they do it: Pour out the neck of an Olde English 40-ounce bottle and then fill it to the top with orange juice.
Don't worry, nothing goes to waste. They give you what they poured out on the side. It's only $7, and management says that it's more popular than you might think. A lot of people choose to split it. That's probably a good idea. ♦
ADVENTURE DRINKS | Learn to sip outside your comfort zone
This green spirit can turn things weird quick if you're not careful. But used as an extra bit of flair for a complex drink, it can work wonders.
At Sapphire Lounge, you'll find the Sazerac, a cocktail with a history dating back more than 150 years. It combines rye whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, a lining of absinthe on the glass and some lemon zest. Clover also serves a Sazerac, but opts for sugar cubes instead of simple syrup.
Another cocktail that uses a dash of absinthe to wild things up is the Monkey Gland at Bon Bon. This peculiarly named drink has a 90-year history and includes gin, orange juice, grenadine and some absinthe.
A sweet drink doesn't just have to be an appletini or a bottle of hard lemonade.
Twigs, the regional martini-bar chain, serves the Chocolate Kiss, which combines vanilla vodka, Baileys Irish cream, coffee liqueur and crème de cacao, shaken to ice-cold and served up in a martini glass garnished with shaved chocolate. If you weren't counting, that drink features four different types of booze and chocolate.
At Northern Quest Resort & Casino's Liquid Lounge, you'll find Sylvia's Chocolate Seniorita. It's tequila mixed with white crème de cacao, vanilla syrup and half & half, served with a ribbon of chocolate on the glass.
The Old Fashioned at 315 Martinis and Tapas is a cocktail worthy of Don Draper's approval: whiskey, homemade bitters, sugar and muddled cherries, garnished with an orange.
On the South Hill, try the Old Branch at Luna. It consists of rye whiskey, Cardamaro, vermouth and orange bitters, and packs a hell of a flavor punch. ♦