Bloody Marys, Mimosas and More
Ilove getting a text from friends asking what wine goes with eggs Benedict or French toast. Why do coffee and tea always get top billing for a breakfast beverage? OK, coffee and tea can keep the 7 a.m. time slot, but for lovers of spirits and for foodies who like to make an event out of the first meal of the day, the caffeinated beverages are the warm-up act, not the headliner.
In the time span between midmorning and early afternoon, especially on the weekend, the dining category is neither breakfast nor lunch; it melds into the trendy category of brunch. At brunch I expect creative combos of food, and cocktails are a given.
Some establishments offer bottomless mimosas and/or Bloody Marys, others offer elaborate Bloody Mary bars, giving patrons complete control over spices and garnishes.
A Bloody Mary is quite simply tomato juice and vodka, with a few spices; the spices are key. To make your own, the traditional elements are Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish and pepper. Other common additions are celery salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Make it easy with a premixed version, and doctor it to your taste.
Bloody Marys are especially good with omelets, oysters and many shrimp dishes.
The traditional garnish is a stick of celery, but why stop there when you can add skewers of meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables and more? This is where some restaurants and bars set the bar high—putting enough accoutrements in the glass that it becomes both a drink and an appetizer. It’s a hearty way not only to begin a brunch, but also to ease the pain of a hangover—at least according to some.
Bubbles are one of the more versatile spirits for brunch. There’s nothing like a crisp sparkling wine to cut through the fat of brunch meats and cheeses. Add a splash of orange juice to make a mimosa, and it doesn’t get much better.
Try mimosas with breakfast casseroles, eggs Benedict and yogurt, or simply sip.
The perfect proportions of orange juice and sparkling wine can be subjective. While some think the amounts are 50/50, the
most desired blend is three parts wine to one part juice.
Pour the bubbles first, and then top with the OJ. Whether you are making individual drinks or premixing a pitcher, keep some of the liquids out and on ice so your guests can adjust the ratio if desired.
If you’re making any kind of sparkling cocktail, bypass expensive Champagne and look for a cava (Spanish) or prosecco (Italian); these are better values for mixing. And don’t skimp on the juice; good quality is important.
Get creative with sparkling wines at brunch by adding all kinds of fruit purees and nectars such as peach for a Bellini. Fill small carafes with different flavors like guava, cranberry and pomegranate; then let your guests make their own.
While whisky might not be top of mind for a brunch beverage, you might change your opinion after tasting TAP 357; it’s like breakfast in a glass.
Produced in Quebec where syrup tapping was born and perfected, the rye whisky is made in small batches, using a complex mix of aged barrels. It is blended, distilled four times and allowed to mature in bourbon barrels before being finished with pure “Grade 1 Light” maple syrup.
The result is an aromatic, spicy and sweet combo with a smoky maple flavor that begs for breakfast meats and treats like pancakes and bacon. Serve it on the rocks, in tea or with lemonade and club soda. While brunch cocktails can be quite elaborate, it’s hard to beat these basics. Cheers.
There’s nothing like a crisp sparkling wine to cut through the fat of brunch meats and cheeses.
Gina Birch is a regular contributor, a lover of good food and drink, and a well-known media
personality in Southwest Florida.
Produced in Quebec, Tap 357 is finished with “Grade 1 Light” maple syrup. Above, brunch-time bloody Marys can be quite elaborate.
Sparkling wine combined with all manner of fruit concoctions makes a refreshing brunch cocktail.