How to Make The Best Brunch Cocktails

mj-618_348_how-to-make-the-most-essential-brunch-cocktails
 Photograph by Travis Rathbone

Brunch is the perfect beginning to an ad hoc holiday, a midmorning statement of daylong leisure. It's the only meal rooted in the act of sleeping in, and it features a menu designed for overindulging — eggs Benedict can share a table with biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and huevos rancheros.

Of course, even the local lumberjack special can leave you wanting without a proper morning cocktail. Unfortunately, no genre of mixed drinks gets as little attention. (You can blame this on bartenders; the good ones don't rise until well past noon on weekends.)


Thankfully, it's much easier to make brunch drinks at home than it is to prepare hollandaise sauce. As proof, here are three cocktails that will wash away the morning cobwebs without giving you flashbacks to last night's last scotch: the classic Bloody Mary; a recipe to replace that other ubiquitous (and instantly forgettable) brunch drink, the mimosa; and a new one that's quite possibly the perfect pairing for a cup of strong black coffee, that other Sunday-morning staple.

Bourbon Milk Punch

  • 2 oz vanilla-infused bourbon (or bourbon with 3 dashes vanilla extract)
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz whole milk
  • Nutmeg

Shake bourbon, vanilla extract (if using), simple syrup, and milk over ice. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

Elysian Nymph

  • ½ oz cognac
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ¼ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sparkling dry wine, such as prosecco or cava

Shake cognac, Cointreau, simple syrup, and lemon juice over ice. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and fill the glass with wine. Garnish with an orange wheel.

Simple Bloody Mary Batch 

  • 1½ cups vodka
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 1–2 tsp Tabasco sauce

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and stir. Pour into ice-filled pint or rocks glasses and garnish with celery, olives, a lemon or lime wedge, pickled okra, or just about anything else. Serves 6 to 8.