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Bar Blips: The Brunch Bunch

Posted on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015


Okay confession time… I am obsessed with brunch. I mean it. There is something about sitting down for a long lingering brunch on a Sunday with the people you love that is truly one of life’s simplest pleasures. Brunch helps you unwind and get back to zero after a long, and hopefully action packed weekend. The best thing about brunch is that THERE ARE NO RULES! You can eat something sweet, something savory, or some gloriously evil hybrid of both – bacon cinnamon roll, anyone?  And name me any other day of the week where is socially acceptable to have cocktails before 1:30pm? There is a sort of whimsy with brunch menus, both on the food and cocktail side, that makes it so exciting when you go somewhere for the first time. Will they have insane garnishes on their Bloody Marys, like a whole chicken perhaps? A little absurd but all in the fun and spirit of this glorious meal! Will they have a decadent and outlandish take on pancakes, or my personal favorite Eggs Benedict? It’s always an adventure, and brunch really is one of the meals that can linger and go on for hours, where the bottomless mimosas pitchers seem like a personal challenge rather than an invitation. I myself have been defeated by those pitchers, and have found myself safely tucked in bed by 6pm. But hey, no judgement, brunch is always above all supposed to be fun and the best part is, if you overindulge you’ll still have plenty of time to binge watch Netflix and recover for your impending work week. 

Brunch cocktails are some of my favorite because they do run the gauntlet of sweet and bubbly to rich and savory. And the savory queen cocktail of them all is the glorious Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary is the first cocktail I truly obsessed over, and while it isn’t everyone’s cup of tomato soup, it will always be one of my favorite cocktails. Any place that can serve me a memorable Bloody Mary will have my heart for life. There is something about this magical cocktail that will heal almost any wound inflicted by the weekend. I love all the creative riffs on the Bloody Mary, especially the ultra secret Bloody Mary recipes using different peppers, tomatillos, spices and brines in their mix. I once had a Bloody Mary that had BBQ sauce in it, and I have to say it was surprisingly palatable and paired perfectly with my gigantic breakfast burrito. 

The other classic brunch cocktail is, of course, his highness the Mimosa. This cocktail is such a great jumping-off point for people to get creative and put their own unique twists on orange juice and sparkling wine with a variety of juices, purees and liqueurs. I love seeing how people swap out the sparkling wine for other fun alternatives like the Beer-mosa cocktail we created for our August Beer and Wine Class. A class favorite for sure! That is really the beauty of brunch! You can go anywhere your imagination takes you, but always at a leisurely pace. Don’t be tied down by the classics, but rather use them as inspirations. There are no limits, and especially no rules. 

For those who would rather be in close proximity to their sweat pants and comforter after a long weekend out, an at-home brunch is a great and relatively stress free way to throw a party. This is especially good to remember for the impending holiday season (yes, I said it), and the best thing about brunch is that it always has more of a relaxed attitude. For cocktails at home, think about sticking to a theme and use classic brunch cocktails as your inspiration. Create infused vodkas, and offer a variety of mixers and garnishes. Infusions are one of the easiest ways to create a unique flavor profile for a cocktail without a whole of muss or fuss. Infusing spirits is sort of like the crock pot cooking of the cocktail world. Some fun infusions to try: cucumber, rosemary, chive, pink peppercorn, basil, and roasted shishito pepper.  A mimosa bar can be a simple and elegant option. Offer multiple types of sparkling wine, beer, cider, or aperitifs. You can even bring out some gin or bourbon for your guests who need that little extra boost early on a Sunday. Different types of juices and purees can easily transform any cocktail. Remember, it’s all about trying new flavors and having fun. The best part is that while your guests are creating cocktails for themselves, you get to kick back into your well deserved Sunday. For this month’s cocktail, I feature a savory simple syrup with blood orange soda as a base to create a mimosa-like cocktail. In this version, I use Cocchi Americano, which is an aperitif wine. It has a slight bitterness that makes it perfect for toeing the line of sweet and savory. Feel free to use whatever type of spirit or mixer you like. I think this would be glorious with sparkling wine, or a citrus forward IPA, and I think that gin is always a good idea.

Glassware: champagne flute
Garnish: rosemary
2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz rosemary coriander simple syrup
4 oz blood orange soda
Spirit of your choosing

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
6 sprigs of rosemary
2 tbsp toasted and slightly muddled whole coriander seed

Slightly toast your coriander seed over medium heat. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Using a muddler, or a mortar and pestle, slightly break apart the seed. In a medium size pot over medium-high heat add sugar and water. Once sugar has dissolved, add rosemary and coriander. Bring mixture up to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then turn off heat. Once mixture has cooled, strain into a container with a lid and store in the fridge. 

For this month’s Sunday School we will explore the magical and mischievous world of brunch cocktails. I’ve been looking forward to this class for months, so expect some fun and wacky takes on classics and never heard of cocktails! Classes have been selling out quickly, so make sure you call in asap to reserve your spot. Looking forward to getting our brunch on!

Cheers! Here’s to no rules…

Your neighborhood cocktail geek,
Catherine Manabat