Mixed drinks aren’t just for evening sipping. A little morning buzz can be an excellent accompaniment to brunch.
Since we aren’t at university, sitting in a frat house, we will refer to these drinks as brunch cocktails. So much more mature.
As there are so many occasions for us to be taking in a cocktail as the cock crows, I thought it would be fun to hail the merits of morning mixology. Most people think of mimosas when they think of eggs and alcohol. Some might order a red eye (beer and tomato juice) with their steak and eggs. But who wants to be ordinary? I know when I am entertaining I always want to do something different, something that inspires, and of course, something that delights the senses. But many people go overboard with late morning cocktails and the drink simply does not complement the food. It is just as important to be discerning in the morning as it is in the evening. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
I think eight out of ten home magazines I saw during the holidays discussed sparkling cocktails, but almost everyone thinks that it doesn’t matter what kind of sparkling you use. So let’s paint with broad strokes how to select sparkling wines for your brunch cocktails.
For a simple mimosa choose a sweeter sparkling wine like a spumante. The acidity of the orange juice is balanced by the sweetness of the wine. It will also provide great lift to passion fruit juice and even fresh pressed apple cider. Pair this up with French toast made with Voyant chai liqueur and mixed berries and you are on your way to having a fabulous day!
Save your brut for mango or papaya juice to counterbalance the sweet and viscous nature of these nectars. Pear and fig nectar are also fabulous mixes to make brunch cocktails with because of their flavourful yet delicate profile. They also work well with more savoury brunch items like cheese and herb scones or heartier breads with fruit spreads and creamy cheeses.
I have to admit that a little morning buzz is kind of a nice way to ease into a weekend afternoon. It is also a fabulous way to surprise your morning companion after a fabulous night, even if you are just waking up with double vision from the night before yourself. Also, it brightens your palate to accept all those great flavours on your plate.
There is a long tradition of morning drinking in the colder parts of the world, mainly due to the “warming feeling” of alcohol. While working on a Norwegian cruise ship in South America, I was introduced to glüg on especially cold mornings. Glüg is Nordic mulled wine, which has its roots in making wine that has gone bad drinkable again by adding honey and spices. The drink is thought to help increase the appetite as well as aid in digestion. This slightly spicy warm cocktail is truly an eye opener and will get your palate ready for some delectable morning bites.
Speaking of warm cocktails, there are some fabulous coffee and espresso versions that are great in the morning to finish off brunch. Try adding an equal amount of amaretto and crème de cacao to two shots of espresso to relax and read the paper after your eggs benny. But most prefer a refreshing beverage over the hot and savoury, which is why juicy light sparkling cocktails are so popular. Plus, they lighten up heavier, carb-loaded dishes.
So after reading this, you may be asking yourself, “Does this guy drink every second of the day?” I certainly do not, but there is a place and a time for everything, and sparkling cocktails certainly have a time in the morning and a place at my table.