I’ve had plenty of triple beverage 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 diner with a group of friends, slightly hungover after a night of drinking beer out of red cups by a fire pit, one friend brought up the idea of ordering a variety of drinks at a diner and the simple satisfaction it brings. That day, she said it was a triple beverage breakfast type of morning, and it was. Since then, my meals at diners, whether they’re in a small vacation town or my home in Brooklyn, have been infinitely better.
The triple beverage breakfast is simple, and it can be tailored to your specific preferences. For me, it’s this: First up, coffee. I love a good mug of diner coffee, as burnt or as watery as it may be, livened up with some whole milk or perhaps even a couple of those single-serve creamer cups. The 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 out of a classic ceramic mug. Then, ice water. Whether to serve as a hangover cure or just as daily hydration, a giant plastic cup of ice water (ideally with a straw) is key, and I’ll probably need at least two refills throughout my meal. Orange juice is the final component that ties this life-affirming trio of liquids together. There are few greater pleasures in this world than gulping a sweet sip of OJ to wash down your pancakes, and you can fight me on that. Sure, you could also go for cranberry (my drink of choice for most of my childhood; do with that information what you will) or apple, but orange juice’s ingrained identity as a breakfast staple is what makes it my top choice.
Whatever you order for breakfast after these three drinks is up to you; you could go for pancakes or waffles if you’re craving something sweet, or instead, opt for the classic breakfast sandwich if salt and grease is what gets you going in the morning. But whatever you’re eating, you’re going to need to wash it down, and in my opinion, three drinks are better than one. A mug of coffee, a glass of water and a cup of orange juice are perfectly fine on their own, but it’s the combination of the three is what makes for 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 satiated in the literal sense but left emotionally hungry and with a dent in your wallet (or Venmo balance). But at a diner, it’s easy to feel complete. After a diner meal, I will have tasted salty and sweet. I will have been supremely comfortable while sitting in a plush vinyl booth. For at least an hour, I will have everything I need.
What’s more, a breakfast at a diner will never let you down. I’ve never had a bad meal at a diner; I always know what I’m getting, and if anything, I’m pleasantly surprised when my pancakes are extra moist or my grilled cheese strikes the perfect balance between crispy and cheesy. At breakfast time, I know that I can find the three aforementioned beverages at any diner I stumble into. Coffee, ice water and orange juice will be virtually the same everywhere I go, with the exception of a slight variance of alternative milk selection and pulp. These drinks are comforting in their familiarity and consistency, and, of course, they’re delicious.
I feel lucky that ordering three drinks at a diner is not only accessible to me financially but also emotionally. It’s not always easy to allow myself the pleasure of something that I could easily label as gluttonous. This is, in part, because in the past, I might not have felt as though I deserved to spend the money on more than just what I needed for a meal, as well as the fact that at a certain point in my life, I would have wondered if juice and coffee with milk was “worth the calories.”
But at this point, I can allow myself to enjoy the extra-ness. With that, the triple beverage breakfast is, dare I say, more than just an order at a diner—it’s a state of mind. It’s a time to free myself of making decisions and rather revel in the decision to allow myself to have it all, even if it’s just for the morning. It’s a time to reflect on childhood mornings flipping through spiral-bound menus and trips to the beach with friends. It’s a time to enjoy what’s right in front of me. It may be a simple pleasure, the triple beverage breakfast, but I find that its real beauty lies in its simplicity.