While wine is becoming more and more common on the brunch table, it is impossible for many people to think of brunch without a cocktail. As Andrew F. Smith says, “It adds a little spark to the meal.” These three daytime drinks are invigorating accompaniments to this lively lunchtime breakfast.
A 2007 trip to the farmers market inspired Chef Mark Peel of Campanile in Los Angeles and a mixologist. The sparkling wine topper introduces the ever-present champagne element of brunch in a new, refreshing way.
For the French Rose:
1 ounce fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
Â½ ounce simple syrup
3 whole strawberries (2 finely chopped/ 1 for garnish)
1 Â½ ounces silver rum
Â½ ounce Frangelico
Â¼ ounce Aperol
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Sparkling wine (preferably Szigeti Grüner Veltliner Sekt)
To prepare the cocktail: Place all ingredients (except sparkling wine) in cocktail shaker. Add ice to the shaker. Shake vigorously for 15 full seconds.
To serve: Strain into a cocktail glass. Float sparkling wine on top and let it bubble. Gently garnish with thinly sliced strawberry or mint sprig (so it floats). Makes 1 cocktail.
Brandy Milk Punch
This is one of the classic cocktails of New Orleans, seen on menus around town especially for brunch. At Commander’s Palace, it works beautifully with the Pain Perdu, as a rich, creamy alternative to wine.
For the Brandy Milk Punch:
2 ounces brandy
1 ounce simple syrup
Â½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
11 ounces milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
To prepare the cocktail: Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously.
To serve: Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. Serve Immediately. Makes 1 cocktail.
Ramos House Bloody Mary with Pickled Green Beans
Ramos House doesn’t have a spirits license, so Chef John Q cleverly substitutes soju, Korea’s distilled beverage that tastes much like vodka, the standard Bloody Mary spirits component. The chef adds a bit of whimsy to his Mary by skewering the crab claw with a Scotch Egg (recipe below). As Chef John says of the Mary/Egg combo: “Together they will erase most any hangover.”
For the Bloody Mary:
1 liter Clamato
Soju, to taste
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons mild hot sauce
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of one lemon, blanched
I clove garlic
Â¼ cup pitted green olives, chopped
Salt to taste
For the garnish:
Pickled green beans (see below)
Tri-color bell peppers, finely diced
Herb salad (any seasonal soft herbs, including micro basil, garlic chives, rosemary blossoms)
Scotch egg (see below)
For the pickled green beans:
5 Â½ cups rice wine vinegar, unseasoned
Â½ small onion, sliced
Â¼ cup red chiles, crushed and dried
1/8 cup coriander seeds
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Â¾ cup water
4 tablespoons salt
1 ounce whole black peppercorns
6 tablespoons sugar
2 pounds green beans
For the Scotch quail eggs:
10 quail eggs
½ pound bulk sausage, raw (approximate)
2 eggs, beaten
Flour for dredging
Bread crumbs for dredging
To prepare the Bloody Mary: Place all the ingredients—except the soju—in a blender or food processor. Purée until blended. Set aside. Makes 1-liter-plus.
To prepare the pickled green beans: Bring all ingredients—except beans—to a boil in a sauce pan. Skim froth from top of brine. Allow to steep for at least 30 minutes, then strain. Blanch beans in boiling brine, then shock/chill in icy water, then cool on sheet pans in refrigerator. Restrain pickling brine and cool in ice bath. Return beans to cool pickling liquid and store in glass jars. Refrigerate for up to one month. (Beans can be put up for longer according to standard canning principles.) Makes 2 pounds beans.
To prepare the Scotch egg: Place quail eggs in a pot and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Drain off hot water and cover with ice to stop cooking process. When cool, peel the shells off the eggs. Flatten sausage into 10 pieces. (The pieces should be big enough to encase the eggs, but not too thick.) Roll the eggs in flour, then wrap the eggs in the flattened sausage. Bread the wrapped eggs by rolling them in flour, dipping them in raw beaten eggs, and rolling them in bread crumbs. Deep fry in 350 degree oil until sausage is cooked (approximately 4 minutes). Let cool to serve. Makes 10 eggs.
To assemble the cocktail: Fill a tall glass with ice and add desired amount of soju. Fill remainder of glass with Bloody Mary Mix. Place some pickled green beans in glass. Spear crab claw with Scotch egg and place—egg facing up—in glass. Top with herb salad. Sprinkle with diced tri-color bell peppers. Serves 4 to 6.