I’ve had a lot of three-drink breakfasts in my life. I just didn’t have a name for the concept until a trip to the Jersey Shore a few years ago. As I sat in a restaurant with a group of friends, slightly hungover after a night of drinking beer from red mugs by a fireplace, a friend brought up the idea of ordering a variety of drinks in a restaurant and the simple satisfaction that brings. That day, she said it was a three-drink breakfast type, and it was. Since then, my meals at diners, whether in a small vacation town or at my home in Brooklyn, have been infinitely better.
The triple drink breakfast is simple and can be tailored to your specific preferences. For me, it’s this: First, the coffee. I to like a nice cup of dinner coffee, no matter how burnt or watery, topped off with whole milk or maybe even a few single-serve creamers. Caffeine is, of course, a great way to start the day, and there’s something inherently romantic, dare I say cinematic, about drinking a hot beverage from a classic ceramic mug. Then ice water. Whether it’s for use as a hangover remedy or just for daily hydration, a giant plastic cup of ice water (ideally with a straw) is key, and I’ll probably need at least two refills while throughout my meal. Orange juice is the final component that ties this trio of life-affirming liquids together. There are few greater pleasures in this world than downing a sweet sip of orange juice to wash down your pancakes, and you can beat me on that. Of course, you could also opt for cranberry (my favorite drink for most of my childhood; do what you want with that info) or apple, but orange juice’s entrenched identity as a breakfast staple is making it my top choice.
Whatever you order for breakfast after those three drinks is up to you; you can opt for pancakes or waffles if you’re craving something sweet, or instead opt for the classic breakfast sandwich if salt and fat are what get you going in the morning. But whatever you eat, you have to wash it down, and in my opinion, three glasses are better than one. A cup of coffee, a glass of water and a cup of orange juice are perfectly sufficient on their own, but it’s the combination of the three that makes it a truly special breakfast experience.
Dining out is often expensive. Whether it’s brunch or dinner, it’s all too easy to walk away from a meal that’s literally satiated but left emotionally hungry and with a dent in your wallet (or Venmo balance). But in a restaurant, it’s easy to feel full. After a dinner meal, I will have tasted the salty and the sweet. I would have been extremely comfortable sitting in a plush vinyl booth. For at least an hour, I’ll have everything I need.
Moreover, a breakfast in a restaurant will never let you down. I have never had a bad meal in a restaurant; I always know what I’m getting, and I’m pleasantly surprised when my pancakes are extra moist or my grilled cheese strikes the perfect balance of crispy and cheesy. At breakfast, I know I can find the three aforementioned drinks at any restaurant I drop into. The coffee, ice water, and orange juice will be pretty much the same everywhere I go, except for a slight discrepancy in the selection of alternative milk and pulp. These drinks are comforting in their familiarity and consistency, and, of course, they are delicious.
I’m lucky that ordering three drinks in a restaurant is not only accessible to me financially but also emotionally. It’s not always easy to allow yourself the pleasure of something that I could easily call gourmet. This is partly because in the past I might not have felt like I deserved to spend more than I needed on a meal, as well as the fact that at some point in my life, I would have wondered if the juice and the latte was “worth the calories”.
But at this point, I can afford to enjoy the extra-ness. With that, the triple drink breakfast is, dare I say, more than just ordering out, it’s a state of mind. Now is the time to free myself from decision-making and instead revel in the decision to allow myself to have it all, even if it’s only for the morning. It’s time to think back to childhood mornings flipping through spiral menus and trips to the beach with friends. It’s time to take advantage of what’s right in front of me. It may be a simple pleasure, triple drink breakfast, but I find its real beauty lies in its simplicity.