We’ve all been there: Saturday morning rolls along. You’ve had a hectic week. The weekend seemed like a million miles away when you walked into the office on Monday morning but now the world is your oyster. It’s time to unleash the shackles and indulge in life! The food lovers among us will know that no meal is complete without a good drink to accompany it. The wisecracks of Frank Sinatra ring true when the opportunity exists to kick-start your day with a deliciously indulgent breakfast matched with a devilishly exhilarating cocktail.
Back in the day
The brunch cocktail is as old as the hills and has been a well-known tonic to dusting off the cobwebs for as long as man has been working his Boston shaker. During the 18th century, before cocktails came to the fore, Americans were well-known for mixing bitters into their morning tipple to settle the stomach and clear the mind, ready for the day ahead. Thankfully, in the 200-odd years since, bartenders and amateur imbibers alike have created a whole host of delicious drinks that are sure to enhance any breakfast and kick start the weekend in style.
The classic Bloody Mary
If there’s one drink that is renowned for its restorative power over any other it is the Bloody Mary. Traditionally composed of a heart-starting combination of vodka, tomato and lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, a healthy dose of black pepper and a stick of fresh celery to finish, there’s still no better a way to kick start your day. For the adventurous, try adding some fresh horseradish and a pinch of smoked paprika and take your Bloody Mary into other-worldly levels of deliciousness. The quality of your final dish, as any worthy cook will tell you, is only as good as the raw ingredients, so use a good quality vodka for your base and keeping things local. The multi-award winning 666 Vodka, made using the crystal clear Tasmanian water, is a cracking base for any cocktail and will make sure your Bloody Mary is talked about the whole weekend!
For those looking for something a little friskier and fresher to send them off into the day, the Mimosa is another time-tested classic. Served in a flute and made of equal parts champagne and chilled orange juice, it’s a guilty pleasure for even the serious wine buff. You don’t need to roll out your finest vintage fizz for a great Mimosa, so head for Non-Vintage expressions from producers such as Piper Heidsieck, whose pure, fresh wines will match wonderfully with the citrusy orange juice.
Morning Glory is the story
Also an unheralded classic that has fallen somewhat off the brunch cocktail radar is the Morning Glory Fizz. A revitalising combination of whisky, lemon (or lime) juice, sugar, and egg white, topped off with a dash or two of absinthe and a healthy splash of soda, this certainly isn’t for the feint-hearted - yet it’s surprisingly refreshing (as all good fizz drinks should be). Use a traditional blended whisky such as Ballantines and you’ll be sure to start the day with a bang.
If you’re entertaining and don’t have the desire to mix up individual drinks for the thirsty hordes of guests then why not kick things off with a Champagne Punch. It’s easily pre-made and can be served to guests as they arrive. Chop some peaches, raspberries, and blueberries and add them to the serving jug that you’ve pre-loaded with ice. Squeeze in the juice of a fresh lemon, add some sugar syrup, top with a bottle of fizz and you’re off and running. Often a punch bowl like this is suited to something frisky and fizzy so shake things up and replace the champagne with Brown Brothers Prosecco from the King Valley. It’s not only lighter on the wallet but the sherbety freshness of the prosecco works really well to keep the punch lively and fresh.
Raising the dead
Last but not least, for those who may have been burning the candle too brightly, why not accompany your brunch with the punchy Corpse Reviver No.2. The revitalising combination of Gin, Cointreau, Lillet, lemon juice and absinthe is a sure-fire way to kick the body into action for a weekend full of fun times (use a local gin like West Winds Sabre Gin for its wonderful rooty flavour). Be careful with this one though - one too many and it may have the opposite effect on the weekend ahead!