Behind the Bar The Business of the Bar

How to Make a First-Class Menu of Brunch Drinks

Diego Baud.

Diego Baud of Hotel Arts Barcelona’s Arola has, perhaps, one of the most stunning backdrops in the world when he makes his drinks. With a bar that overlooks crashing ocean waves, a fresh garden of cocktail-ready herbs and ample amounts of indoor and outdoor space, it’s no wonder that building out a robust day-drinking program came naturally.

“I wish I had known three years ago how big vermouth was going to be!” he says, pointing out that his upgraded take on the classic Spanish tradition of Sunday vermouth service has helped to put his brunch program on the map. Since then, Baud’s cocktails have become canon for those looking to sip in the sunshine and helped to push the brunch-drink envelope well past Mimosas.

Baud’s Flor de Navidad.

Below, Baud outlines some of his tips for bartenders who are looking to step up their daytime drinks menus, including how to elevate your cocktails in more seasonal—and potent—ways.

1. Know Your Brunch-Time Audience, Then Challenge Them

“One of the most important aspects of creating your brunch menu is seeing the type of guests that come to your restaurant during that time. From there, figure out where can push the envelope by serving them something they wouldn’t typically order.”

Baud at Arola.

2. Staff Knowledge Is Extra-Crucial for Brunch Drink Service

“It’s fundamental that the staff is well-informed of what they’re serving. You may know [as a bartender] what you’re serving, but if the staff doesn’t [understand], it will be hard to sell the drink let alone give them an experience that leaves them wanting to come back for more.”

3. It’s Daytime, So Play with the Seasons More Than Usual

“It’s a bit nippy here in Barcelona during the crisp autumn months, so instead of a cold Gin & Tonic, we offer a Wicked Hot Cider. What better way to warm you up than a whiskey blanket?”

Baud’s Cracked Old Fashioned.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Make the Drinks Strong

“Strong drinks, especially during the months where autumn kisses winter, are the best time to have a bit of an extra kick. Mulled wine is a great strong drink served hot. You can spike it with bourbon or spiced rum, and all the spices will all dance beautiful together.”

5. Do Your Homework

“Go to other brunches, and see what is hot and what people are drinking there. Learn from them, then you can see what worked and what doesn ́t work, and then create what hopefully will become the best brunch in town.”