We’ve all been to the basic brunch party: Mimosas and coffee, fruit salad and quiche on paper plates, stories of last night’s happy-hour-gone-wild. Not too shabby for a group of people who woke up mere hours ago, but this is really just a starting point. The ever-expanding universe of today’s brunch parties means you don’t have to settle for another marginal Bloody Mary.
According to cocktail writer Peter Joseph, better brunch parties are coming back. “There definitely was a moment — sort of in the Mad Men era in the ‘50s going into the ‘60s — of people really planning elaborate brunch parties. That was something that was really impressive, and we’re starting to see people more open to doing that now.”
Joseph’s new book, Boozy Brunch, comes out this September. It’s full of brunch cocktail recipes, food pairings and cocktail history. He hopes the book will inspire party hosts (and bar owners) to branch out at brunch. “For most people, brunch is the time when they try something other than beer or vodka soda. It’s the one time when they’re trying something different,” he says.
Joseph has also taken it upon himself to introduce his circle of friends to new cocktails. His own parties always include a signature cocktail. “A lot of people don’t normally drink hard liquor. If they’re at someone’s party…they’re more willing to try it because it’s the signature drink.” Slowly, says Joseph, his friends are being converted into cocktail geeks, like himself.
So if you’re only drinking the same old brunch cocktails you already know, you may be missing out. Brunch is a great time to work your way through the classics you haven’t tried — Joseph recommends a White Lady, a Mint Julep or a Ramos Gin Fizz — that pair well with breakfast foods.
From there, it’s time to get creative. One of the recipes in Boozy Brunch calls for bacon-infused gin. This infusion was a hit at Joseph’s last party, he said, and his friends are eager to go home and try it themselves. Or, Joseph says, “They sound odd, but drinks with beef stock in them are a great alternative to tomato juice [cocktails].” He also recommends white sangria and a concoction called a Skier’s Smoothie, made of black tea and Galliano.
Go ahead and indulge a little, not only in a second helping of French toast, but also in your adventurous side. Says Joseph, brunch isn’t “your healthy, post-gym meal. It’s meant to help you recuperate.” It’s the opportunity to spend quality time with your friends after the wild party is over and before the work week begins.
(recipe courtesy of Peter Joseph)
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces cold beef consommé or stock
1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 ounce Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
Pinch of celery salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Stir all ingredients with ice in a shaker, then strain into a highball glass half-filled with ice.