Drunk Before Noon: My Favorite Brunch Cocktails
Brunch is the least important meal of the week. It inevitably means Sunday, which is a throw away day anyway, you are often hungover and, at best, are sharing it with a total stranger. Just skip it. Sleep in. Wait for lunch.
But, if you must attend this twilight of the day, do it right. Drink heavily. Take advantage of the ambiguity of brunch, which often leads people to order up to four beverages--OJ, coffee, water, bloody mary--at once. Just please, please, avoid the Mimosa. That it has become a staple of brunch is a tremendous shame--it lacks the stuff that great cocktails are made of. Rarely has a great cocktail ever come from simply pouring OJ in to a wine or spirit even if Alfred Hitchcock was purported to have invented it.
Here are some of my favorite drinks for brunch, although I have not stayed within the brunch box. To make it easier for you, I have arranged them by degree of hangover suffering.
Amarula & Coffee
Amarula is a fruit. So it seems breakfasty, but the liqueur is creamy like Bailey's. Elephants eat fermented amarulas by the pound, although I'm told they never get drunk off them. The real highlight here is why you could substitute Bailey's for Amarula ultimately--it's a speed ball. The key is to get alcohol, which is a depressant, and coffee, a stimulant, together. Nice.
Slight headache and mild nausea without any embarrassing or painful memories from the night before
The Velvet Swing
This cocktail is a little, how should I say, delicate sounding. And, if done right, it's accompanied by a rose petal. Not exactly a manly combo. But it's a really good drink. Champagne, Port, Cognac. What could go wrong? Order it in a hushed tone and ask them to hold the flowers (becoming a theme with me isn't it? See my post on the Mai Tai).
Slight headache and mild nausea with embarrassing or painful memories from the night before
Still not exactly a manly Bourbon neat, this classic is easier to say if you are still reeling from embarrassing memories from the night before. Plus it has bitters, good for the nausea.
More severe headache and nausea, possibly embarrassing or painful memories from the night before
What I mistakenly referred to as the Pink Lady (that has grenadine and cream). Gin and bitters. In a word, breakfast. Especially if you're a sailor. Try it room temperature.
Still drunk, feeling hazy and have a general bodily numbness that is soon to be followed by sleep and/or a severe headache and nausea
You need vitamins and minerals, my friend. Your body is waiting to see how smart you are. If you fail the test, you'll be useless all day. Here's the crib notes: Vodka, tomato juice, spices, lime and a side of oysters on the half shell. Maybe some water too.
Still drunk, feeling hazy and have a general bodily numbness that begs for more alcohol in large quantities
The ubiquitous Bloody Mary is the worst part of brunch. And, no, you shouldn't order it for dinner. I can't stand most mixes, doused in horseradish with wilted celery hanging off the side. So, why not amp it up? Try the Ugly Maria--Tequila, beer (a lighter lager or pilsner), tomato juice (I like spicy V8) and hot sauce.
However, I often settle for a beer. It's the aspirin of the booze world. Johnny Cash said it best (actually Kris Kristofferson said it best and Johnny Cash sang it best):
Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.