21 Best Brunch Cocktails

The Bloody Majestic
Photo:

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

A brunch done right is just as much about the drinks as it is the food spread. Whether you're into bellinis, Bloody Marys, refreshing punches, or more adventurous beverages, we have a beverage for every brunch occasion. Serve a caffeinated cocktail with the trendy Espresso Martini. Think minimal fuss and bright, freshly squeezed orange juice with a Screwdriver. Opt for lower alcohol content with the Spicy Paloma Shandy or Michelada Gingembre. Here are a variety of brunch libations.

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Orange Liqueur Mimosa

Mimosas
Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Classic mimosas get a twist by swapping out the traditional orange juice with splashes of homemade orange syrup (made with fresh orange juice) and orange liqueur.

02 of 21

Here Comes the Sun King

Here Comes the Sun King

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Piquant heat from tequila infused with fresh jalapeño and Aperol infused with fresh Thai chiles is rounded out by sweet prickly pear syrup in this Bloody Mary recipe.

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Screwdriver

Screwdriver Cocktail

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

This simple brunch cocktail comes together in minutes. Made with just vodka and orange juice, the Screwdriver might be the purest way to enjoy excellent OJ in a cocktail. The bright, pulpy, fresh-squeezed stuff is truly unmatched by any pasteurized, pale commercial version, so do take care to squeeze your own juice.

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Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon

It's best to use brut Prosecco for this drink, which already has plenty of sweetness from its eponymous ingredient. While the original recipe calls for a 3:1 ratio, feel free to toy with the ingredients — for a more bitter flavor profile, add more Aperol; for a less boozy spritz, opt for more soda water.

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Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

This recipe from Simon Sebbah, beverage director at NYC's American Bar, gets you a perfectly frothy, caffeinated cocktail every time. If you don't have an espresso machine, cold brew concentrate is a great substitute.

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Earl Grey–Aquavit Spritz

Earl Grey-Aquavit Spritz
Victor Protasio

Honey simple syrup is even easier to prepare than standard simple syrup; just vigorously stir together honey and water until well combined. The mellow, floral sweetness of the honey syrup pairs perfectly with a touch of lemon in this tea-infused cocktail.

07 of 21

Plum Gin Fizz

Plum Gin Fizz
Photo by Kelsey Hansen / Food Styling by Lauren McAnelly / Prop Styling by Sue Mitchell

This fruity gin fizz isn't overly sweet, allowing the flavor of the caramelized plums to shine. A botanical gin works well with the fruit in this cocktail, adding herbaceous and fruity notes. To play up the deep color of the plums, try Empress 1908, a royal purple–hued, botanical-style spirit.

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Spicy Paloma Shandy

Spicy Paloma Shandy
Victor Protasio

Use a crisp Mexican lager like Good People Muchacho for this twist on the classic Paloma cocktail from chef Rick Martinez. Try Tajín Clásico Seasoning for the chili-lime salt.

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Blood Peach Bellini

2012-cocktails-FT-blood-peach-bellini.jpg

© Lucas Allen

The Blood Peach Bellini was originally made using super-seasonal summer blood peaches. This variation combines Campari, grenadine, and white peach puree to approximate the rare fruit's flavor and color.

10 of 21

Cucumber-Rose Gin Spritz

Cucumber Rose Gin Spritz
Victor Protasio

A classic combination of gin, lemon, and club soda gets a refreshing twist with cucumber, basil, and black cardamom-infused syrup. Dried rose petals add a subtle floral flavor and act as a beautiful garnish.

11 of 21

Big-Batch Bloody Marys

Big-Batch Bloody Marys
Greg Dupree

This crowd-pleasing Bloody Mary batch recipe starts with the toned-down tomato kick of V8, then gets a double smack of heat from zippy horseradish and hot sauce. Regular pickle juice adds a puckery sweet-sour touch, but we really love the extra heat from a jar of spicy pickles. Be sure to let the mix sit for at least a couple hours for the flavors to meld and mingle.

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Irish Coffee

Irish coffee
Brent Hofacker / Getty Images

Since coffee is such a big part of the drink, you want strong, freshly brewed stuff that you like to drink. Many inferior Irish Coffees go wrong from the start, using stale coffee and then trying to cover it up with too many additions. Instead, pare down, and break out the good beans, or at least coffee that you'd drink a fresh cup of without complaint.

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Bloody Majestic

The Bloody Majestic

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

This eye-catching riff on a classic Bloody Mary swaps regular tomatoes for yellow tomatoes, giving the drink an unexpected but eye-catching bright golden-orange hue. It’s a lighter take on the traditional, with a fragrant citrusy aroma and flavor from the bitters, an acidic edge from pineapple, and a pleasant bite from the sake while remaining tomato-forward.

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Sour Cherry-Yuzu Bellinis

Sour Cherry-Yuzu Bellinis
© Lucy Schaeffer

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten adds yuzu to this effervescent sour cherry cocktail for a citrus kick; a mix of tangerine and lime juices nearly matches yuzu's flavor.

15 of 21

Punch Parker

Punch Parker
© Antonis Achilleos

Fresh fruit, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, orgeat syrup, and framboise liqueur unite with chilled Prosecco for one big, fruity punch that's guaranteed to please.

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Michelada Gingembre

Cocktail recipe: Michelada Gingembre
© Lucas Allen

This low-alcohol cocktail is a take on the Shandygaff, citrus soda mixed with lager. It's made with fresh ginger juice and a hoppy IPA with a dash of hot sauce to make the drink even better.

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Carioca Quencher

Carioca Quencher
Christopher Testani

While the late, great Julia Child was cooking in the kitchen, her husband, Paul Child, put his mind to creating cocktails behind the bar. Falling between a tiki drink and a Rum Collins, we've updated this highball by Paul Child with contemporary ingredients.

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Dominicana

Dominicana

© Tina Rupp

This White Russian variation is made with Caffé Lolita coffee liqueur.

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Roasted Lemon and Bay Leaf Hard Lemonade

Roasted Lemon and Bay Leaf Hard Lemonade
© Con Poulos

Roasting citrus makes it more intense and fragrant. F&W culinary director at large Justin Chapple adds bay leaves and lemons to his roasting pan to make this incredible cocktail.

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Rosé Sangria with a Mixed-Berry Ice Ring

Rose Sangria with a Mixed-Berry Ice Ring
© John Kernick

Use a bundt pan to make the ice ring for this delicious rosé and rum sangria up to three days in advance.

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Pamplemousse

Pamplemousse
© Tina Rupp

This cocktail is bright, refreshing, and low in alcohol — a great pick-me-up.

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