10 Brunch Cocktails That Are Better Than a Mimosa

A guide to stepping up your weekend day-drinking rituals.

  • Tom Collins. Essentially a grown-up version of lemonade, this drink simply consists of gin, carbonated water, sugar, and lemon juice, sometimes with a maraschino cherry dropped in for fun. It's refreshing and bubbly, without any cheap champagne in sight. The Bar)
  • Pimm's Cup. The quintessential summer drink of England (and a Wimbledon staple), this classic might be thought of as the fruitier and more herbaceous cousin of sangria. A great version is made with Pimm's No. 1, a gin-based spirit, ginger ale or lemonade, and plenty of cucumber, mint, lemon, apple,and orange slices, all served up in a tall glass. Stuff in enough fruit to trick yourself into thinking it's healthy to be drinking before noon. Spoons to Sporks)
  • Sherry Cobbler. Extremely popular in the 1800s, this classic American cocktail is in the midst of a bit of a revival. As far as simple brunch drinks go, this mix of sherry, simple syrup, and ice with an orange slice for garnish is about as delicious as it can get—especially on hot summer days. Oh So Beautiful Paper)
  • Michelada. Suds are often passed over when it comes to brunch drinks, and unfairly so. Often thought to be a hangover cure, this bracing beer cocktail is packed with flavor thanks to the addition of lime, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, and plenty of spices. New York Times)
  • Pampelmousse. Taking its name from the French word for grapefruit, this cocktail is a more upscale take on a greyhound, and it's perfect for brunch. It is most commonly made with vodka, pomegranate juice, sugar, lime, sprigs of mint, and grapefruit juice, of course. Merry Gourmet)
  • White Russian. Not actually of Russian origin, this cocktail is for those who want the flavor of coffee with the kick of booze at the same time. It's made with coffee liqueur, vodka, and cream and is most often served in an Old Fashioned glass. Oh, and you can drink it in your robe and pretend your The Dude. Esquire)
  • Aperol Flip. Frothy, fizzy, and sophisticated, this is what a champagne-based brunch cocktail should look like. Aperol, an Italian apertif, gets shaken with egg whites, champagne, simple syrup, and lemon juice for an tasty pick-me-up. Liquor.com)
  • Bloody Mary. There are countless variations when it comes to this spicy tomato juice and vodka concoction, a substantial cocktail that is a far cry from the cloying sweetness of a mimosa. Perhaps the best part of the drink are the garnishes which can range from a simple celery stick to a burger. And, as New York Times booze writer Robert Simonson tells us, the drink has some Try this recipe. (Photo:
  • The Fizz. The famous Ramos Gin Fizz (pictured) might be too fussy for most people to make at home (the amount of shaking involved will make you want to go back to bed), but you can always fall back on the simpler Gin Fizz. Just listen to cocktail historian David Wondrich, who picked the Fizz as one of Try this recipe. (Photo:
  • Irish Coffee. If you can't decide between coffee or a cocktail at brunch, this is the drink for you. Made with strong hot coffee, whiskey, sugar, and topped with a layer of cream, this classic eye opener is perfect for brunching with a slight hangover, especially in the colder months. Bookalokal)

As much as we all love to hate on brunch, it can be okay if you skip the overhyped restaurants with hungover staff serving Eggs Benedict with a side of surliness, and instead make a late-morning feast at your house. The added benefit of this approach is that it’s much easier to step up your brunch boozing by escaping the tyranny of the tempting but always disappointing bottomless mimosa—too often an excuse to dilute flat champagne with crappy, from-concentrate orange juice.

Brunch cocktails don’t have to be sub-far. There is actually a great history of morning pick-me-ups in the cocktail canon, as well as some anytime sippers that work just as well at 11am as 11pm. These drinks are worth returning to over and over again—even if your “eggs benny” is not.

Click through the gallery above for a rundown of cocktails worth sipping in place of a mimosa. 

  • ituck

    Probably an autocorrect, but the name of the drink on slide #9 is the Ramos Gin Fizz, not the Ramon Gin Fizz. Also, drink #7 only has egg white in it, not the whole egg, so even if it came from liquor.com via some cocktail book, it’s misnamed. A flip always has the whole egg. /pedant

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