Whether you’re still young enough to be perpetually hung over on Sunday mornings (those were the days) or old enough to think of brunch as “dining out,” let’s all agree on this: A well-made Bloody Mary will cure what ails you. And while not every tomato-based cocktail will rise to the occasion, the East End is home to some very, very good versions. So sit back and enjoy the quiet Sundays of off-season on the East End, Bloody in hand. Time is of the essence.
I’m fanatical about Nick & Toni’s Bloody Board, available until around Memorial Day, when the restaurant suspends its brunch service. You’ll get a choice of vodka (sweet pepper and spicy are among the options), as well as a carafe of Mary mix and rocks glasses filled with accompanying treats, which range from pickled fiddlehead ferns to fresh horseradish. I hate to invoke Burger King here, but this is truly a Bloody Mary that you can “have your way.” The leftover cherry bomb peppers (if there are any) are yours to skewer and enjoy.
Nick & Toni’s, 136 N. Main Street, East Hampton, (631) 324.3550, brunch Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The Hamptons may have too few options when it comes to waterside dining, but Hampton Bays more than makes up for that. Across the Canal on Dune Road, Sunday’s has an enviable spot on the bay and across from the ocean, and while that’s probably reason enough to park here on a Sunday morning, their Bloody is also top-notch. It comes with a very thick, very peppery slice of bacon as well as a piece of jumbo shrimp. The glass is dusted with Old Bay. For $12, it’s the cheapest shrimp cocktail-with-vodka in the almost-Hamptons.
Sundays on the Bay, 369 Dune Road, Hampton Bays, open daily 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
It makes sense that this Greenport haunt, dedicated specifically to breakfast and lunch (all day, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) would have an incredible Bloody Mary. Actually, they have two separate options. The basic Bloody comes with Crop organic tomato vodka, brown sugar-cured bacon, lettuce, and house-made Mary mix. But devotees can also order the Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar for the table (it serves 6 to 12). This option includes one 750 ml bottle of Crop organic tomato vodka, that bacon, shrimp, celery, lettuce, and mix. Bet you can’t drink just one… or two… or three.
Bruce & Son, 208 Main Street, Greenport, (631) 477.0023, open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Nothing says cozy like the North Fork Table and Inn and nothing says “we win at brunch” like bacon-infused vodka. That’s what the clever bartenders use in their rendition of the Bloody Mary, referred to as the Bloody Boar. Mix is prepared in house (the recipe remains a secret) and this rich, decadent spin on a traditional brunch cocktail will very likely have you whiling away the afternoon over a plate of truffle cavatelli.
North Fork Table and Inn, 57225 Main Road, Southold, (631) 765.0177, brunch Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Truth be told, I would find an excuse to go sit at the bar at the American Hotel regardless of the cocktails being served, but their excellent Bloody Marys are an added bonus. The Hotel is open every day of the year, and its antique charm and sometimes-surly bartenders are part of the wistful Sag Harbor-ness that keeps people coming back. The Bloody is made with fresh tomato juice and pepper-infused vodka for a spicy kick. The luckiest among us will score a brunch seat in the barroom, next to the fireplace.
The American Hotel, 49 Main Street, Sag Harbor, (631) 725.3535, lunch served 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
This story was originally published in January 2017.