Pimm's #5 ($9)
"Pimm's used to do a whole line based off of different spirits, and number 5 was bourbon," Bolton told us. She based this recipe off of one from 15 Romolo. She pairs Pimm's with rich bourbon and spicy housemade ginger syrup, Angostura, lemon, mint, and tarragon "for that anise flavor." It's served with a straw and a fragrant bunch of herbs.
Yellow Brick Road ($11)
Bolton's take on a Seelbach cocktail features Maven's single-barrel bourbon from Evan Williams along with Peychaud's and Angostura bitters, Yellow Chartreuse, and Cointreau, topped with sparkling wine and a grapefruit twist. "It's a nice way to spike your morning bubbly," says Bolton. "Yellow Chartreuse makes everything better," she says upon tasting this aromatic drink.
Smokin' Maria ($11)
This bright and light play on the Bloody Maria features fresh tomato water mixed with lemon and honey, lime juice, Espolon reposado tequila, and Sombra mezcal, along with a touch of hot sauce they make with roasted jalapenos, serranos, and habaneros. It's shaken with cilantro, a little saline solution, and a grapefruit twist. "Shaking it with the zest imparts a little bitterness—sometimes I'll do that instead of using bitters in a cocktail," says Bolton.
Death in the Afternoon ($11)
Absinthe sorbet is becoming something of a Maven signature (it also appears in the Global Warming cocktail on the dinner menu.) It's made with tarragon tea as well as lemon and lime juice, and balanced on an absinthe spoon. Sparkling wine is added tableside for a drink that's lightly herbal and citrusy. "When you start pouring the bubbly over the top, people's faces light up," says Bolton. "Seeing the smile is part of the fun."
Summer Reviver ($10)
"The Corpse Reviver is one of my all-time favorite drinks," says Bolton, "but I wanted to change it up a little and make it seasonal. Maybe in the fall we'll do a pumpkin or squash-infused version." For summer, Beefeater gin (which "doesn't get lost in a cocktail the way more delicate and floral new American gins do") is infused with fresh strawberries for a few days, then shaken with Cocchi Americano, fresh lemon, and a few drops of St. George absinthe. "This is that nice, light, citrusy drink," says Bolton.
The Original Whisperer ($9)
Though most of Bolton's drinks are twists on the classics, this cocktail is an original, featuring Vya Whisper Dry vermouth. "The vermouth has a beautiful botanical quality that's really delicate," said Bolton, so she paired it with Lillet Blanc to add a little orange essence, as well as a housemade almond syrup which she says "provides silky richness." It's all cut with lemon and spiced with a chili tincture that's mixed with smoky mezcal. The result is lightly savory but fresh—Bolton recommends ordering it with the duck hash on the brunch menu.
Kate Bolton, Maven's bar director, has also worked at Michael Mina, 15 Romolo, and Wexler's. She says the brunch cocktails were a fun challenge: "It's different, thinking about what people want to drink in the morning."
Herbs on the bar
"I love using herbs in drinks," says Bolton, "along with fruits and vegetables—and not just muddling, but really incorporating the flavors in more of a culinary application."