Brunch Drinks

By Ray Isle Posted December 19, 2012
© Tina Rupp

Try pairing the three drinks below with a fantastic brunch recipe, like this
Smoked-Salmon Scramble with Dill Griddle Biscuits
© Tina Rupp

Ah, brunch. People go bonkers for brunch. Say the word “brunch,” and your friends will say things like, “Yeah! Great! Let’s do it!” Unless they have kids, in which case they’ll look sort of morose, because instead of going to brunch with you they’re going to be at a birthday party for five-year-olds. But that’s the human condition: Sunday-morning cocktails, then offspring, and finally death.

Be that as it may, in terms of drink options, folks tend to default to one of three things: a mimosa, usually made with some Minute Maid and a bottle of random sparkling wine that someone brought over six months ago; a Bloody Mary (which I’m not knocking at all); or Champagne. Yet because life is short and the human condition is dire, why not experiment while you still have a chance?

Brunch Cocktail: Batida
This is the other famous cocktail from Brazil, the first being, of course, the lethal-but-oh-so-tasty caipirinha. A batida is generally fruit and/or fruit juice, cachaça (the sugarcane rum that is Brazil’s national spirit), a little sweetened condensed milk, and ice, blended until smooth. Personally, I love the batida de caju served down there, but cashew fruit is almost impossible to get in the US. Another classic, easier to do here, is the batida de morango (strawberries).

The following is a guideline, since everyone pretty much has their own sense of what a proper batida ought to be: 2 ounces cachaça (Beleza Pura is very good), 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen), 2 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 teaspoon sugar (or to taste), 1 cup ice. Put in blender, blend, drink.

Brunch Wine: Moscato d’Asti
Moscato is going gangbusters in the US right now, but most of what’s being sold is (a) not sparkling, and (b) fairly lackluster. For a perfect brunch wine, head to Asti, in Italy. Moscato d’Asti is light in alcohol (about 5%), gently effervescent and has a summertime fragrance of flowers and peaches that’s effectively irresistible. Top producers run about $17 to $20 a bottle, but the wines are worth it. Look for Ceretto, Saracco, La Spinetta’s Bricco Quaglia and Vigneto Biancospino bottlings, Michele Chiarlo’s Nivole bottling, and Massolino.

(When peaches and nectarines are in season, by the way, here’s an excellent variation: Peel and slice peaches/nectarines, put them in a bowl, top with Moscato d’Asti, chuck the bowl in the fridge for an hour or two, then serve the macerated fruit along with chilled glasses of the same wine.)

Brunch Beer: Belgian Lambic Ale
Beer for brunch tends to conjure up the image of a bunch of frat boys sitting around a trashed living room and not reallybothering with the whole “food” part of the equation, but there are other possibilities out there. Fruit lambic beers from Belgium are an excellent brunch choice. They’re tangy and intensely flavorful, yet moderate in alcohol (mostly), balancing fresh fruit flavors and aromas with malt and yeast notes. Ones to seek out include the fragrant, peachy Lindemans Peche; Oude Kriek (kriek, a type of fruit lambic, is flavored with cherries); Hanssens Kriek and its Oudbeitje (made with strawberries); and anything at all made by Cantillon. Or, if you're a hung-over frat boy, maybe a warm can of Natural Light.

Related: Delicious Brunch Cocktails
Brunch Recipes
America's Best Bars

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