The Best Brunch Cocktails (That Aren't Mimosas)

Ah, brunch. The time of the week where it's perfectly acceptable to guzzle down some champagne, eat (or drink) your bacon, and imbibe at what's normally a god-forsaken hour for boozing. But there's no better occasion for a cocktail than brunch – especially on New Year's Day.

While Bloody Marys rule New Year's Day, with its most popular companion, the Mimosa, there are plenty of other brunch cocktails that deserve their due. While you can find a Mimosa or a standard Bloody Mary at just about any dive diner, restaurants and bars are creating new cocktails that make your Mimosa order look weaksauce.

The common themes throughout our selection of best brunch cocktails? Champagne and sparkling wine cocktails still appears on the menu (as we know some bubbly can ease a nauseous stomach from the night before). Now, champagne and sparkling wine are being added to anything but OJ, like kumquat juice and strawberry juice. The most popular juice on the menu? Grapefruit juice, which makes its appearance in the Grapeful Red cocktail, the Grapefruit Cooler, and the beloved Mother's Ruin Punch from San Diego's Craft & Commerce. Which brings us to a new trend in brunch cocktails: punches. Why not make a punch bowl for the masses, rather than whipping up a long list of cocktails first thing in the morning? With touches of champagne and the standard fruits of a brunch cocktail, it makes morning mixology that much easier.

And for those who simply can't survive without a morning cup of joe, you now don't have to choose between coffee and a cocktail. Take the Wake Up cocktail or the Black Cowboy cocktails, made with a shot (or jolt) of espresso to get the morning going. There's no reason not to enjoy a coffee cocktail at night or in the morning.

Get your brunch going with original brunch cocktail recipes – your hungover crowd will thank you later.  

The Bitter Truth Cocktail

You're going to need some mezcal to act as a "hair of the dog" on New Year's Day. Hence the Bitter Truth brunch cocktail at Belly's Wine Bar, made with Del Maguey's Vida mezcal and Bitterman's Xocolatl Mole bitters.

Wake Up Cocktail

Yep, a jolt of Kahlua, Stoli vodka, and espresso will keep you wide awake at New Year's Day brunch. The Wake Up cocktail is served at Cafeteria, in Boston.

Winter Pear Mojito Recipe

For those needing something fruity at New Year's Day brunch, a winter pear mojito is the right brunch cocktail. The Winter Pear Mojito is made at Atrio is located in Battery Park City, N.Y.

Grapefruit Cooler

A refreshing take on your brunch mimosa or grapefruit juice, the Grapefruit Cooler is made at the Seattle restaurant, Sazerac.

Strawberry Bellini

We know, a bellini isn't the most creative of New Year's Day brunch cocktails — but when it's done right, like at Center Bar in New York City, you can't go wrong with it.

Mon Couchon Doux 

"My sweet darling," means mon couchon doux translated — and this brunch cocktail, made at TAG in Denver, is just as sweet. Made with a surefire moonshine, Lillet Blanc and crème de cacao, the cocktail makes brunch a sweet treat.

Marmalade Fixe

A new haunch in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Prospect, shares a brunch cocktail in true form: a marmalade-infused champagne cocktail. Made with Beefeater gin and sparkling wine, the Marmalade Fixe is a bubbly cocktail that will keep you coming back for more.

Black Cowboy

Nothing too fancy here; just good strong drink to take the chill out of winter (and your New Year's Day hangover). Start with Black Label Johnnie Walker and add two short pulls of espresso. 

French Press Punch

Not just for coffee anymore – break out that morning press and fill it with local honey, spiced organic rum, diced apples, sliced lemons, a spoonful of loose-leaf spearmint tea and piping hot apple cider.

Deal Sealer

This will in fact seal the deal: the deal to a fantastic New Year's Day brunch. The Deal Sealer cocktail is made at the Beachside Restaurant and Bar in Marina del Rey, Calif., by Rob Cocolin.

Mother's Ruin Punch

How else to entertain a hungover crowd on New Year's Day brunch? A punch packed with grapefruit and cinnamon flavors. The Mother's Ruin Punch is served at Craft & Commerce in San Diego, Calif., known as the "it" brunch place for its handcrafted artisanal punch bowls.

Morning Bell 

Nothing says "good morning, world" like kumquat juice, ginger liqueur, and a bit of bubbly. The Morning Bell brunch cocktail is made at downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. restaurant Easy Bistro & Bar.

Blackberry Spritz

Look no further, we've found the most refreshing brunch cocktail on the menu. The Blackberry Spritz is made at Seattle restaurant Sazerac.

Auntie Ox

The famed mixologists at Tippling Bros. created a brunch-worth cocktail at Chicago restaurant Mercadito's. The Auntie Ox goes beyond your basic mimosa-coffee brunch routine with a green tea-infusion and passion fruit puree (and even a bit of a kick, thanks to guajillo chiles).

Grapeful Red

Another grapefruit cocktail to add to the New Year's Day brunch; this cocktail is made at Beachside Restaurant and Bar in Marina del Rey, Calif., by Rob Cocolin.

Pineapple Pisco Punch

An easy way to entertain a crowd for brunch? A punch made with tropical flavors (like pineapple and citrus) and warming, winter flavors (like chai): it's one drink they won't soon forget.


This article was originally published December 28, 2012.