It takes a pretty perfect cocktail to make me feel like drinking at brunch. More often than not, as brunch menus arrive, I'm full of optimism for the day, planning afternoon walks and flea-market visits, ambitious dinner parties and perhaps a drive out to the beach. I go with coffee, and until the poached eggs and hollandaise have convinced me to take a nap, I'm far too ambitious to start sipping anything that'll slow me down.
But sometimes a drink is so delicious that it gets passed around the table—you have to taste this—and then everyone orders one (or two). The Pamplemousse at Beretta on San Francisco's Valencia Street is one of those drinks: bright, tart, as refreshing as the fresh grapefruit juice it's made with.
The cocktail, made with grapefruit, lemon and a touch of elderflower liqueur, is just delicately floral, which is emphasized by the botanicals of an ounce of gin. (They use Beefeater, but you can experiment with whatever bottles you have on hand.) You could convince yourself that you're just drinking enhanced grapefruit juice, really, when you find yourself quickly at the bottom of the glass.