Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Brunch

The 15 Best Brunch Cocktails

There’s more to the meal than Mimosas.

Corpse Reviver No 2 cocktail in coupe glass, shot against black marble backdrop / Tim Nusog

Sure, brunch doesn’t have to be boozy, but to many, bottomless flutes of Mimosas and pitchers of Bloody Marys are just as important as the dishes on the table. Whether you’re looking for a “hair of the dog,” a low-proof drink to sip before noon, or a recipe that’s worthy of a special occasion like Mother’s Day, you’ll find the perfect cocktail on this list.

  • Mimosa

    Mimosa cocktail served in flute / Tim Nusog

    The most famous brunch cocktail of all time doesn’t really need a recipe. The elegant combination of orange juice and sparkling wine has enlivened plenty of boozy brunches since it allegedly debuted in 1920s Paris. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Bloody Mary

    Bloody Mary / Tim Nusog

    From the Red Snapper to the Bloody Maria, this popular tomato juice cocktail has inspired countless riffs over the years. The original vodka version is the most famous, and while plenty of bottled Bloody Mary mixes exist, nothing beats the homemade thing.

    Get the recipe.

  • French 75

    French 75 cocktail / Tim Nusog 

    Named for the 75-millimeter field gun that the French used during World War War I, this Prohibition-era cocktail combines gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with three ounces of Champagne or other sparkling wine. It’s bright, lively, and the perfect accompaniment to a wide range of dishes.

    Get the recipe.

  • Aperol Spritz

    Aperol Spritz / Tim Nusog

    Low-proof and easygoing, spritzes are ideal for afternoon drinking. This iconic version—a combination of Aperol, prosecco, and soda water—might be the most famous of them all, but you can easily swap in another liqueur to make a Campari Spritz, a Hugo Spritz, and so on.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • Corpse Reviver No. 2

    Corpse Reviver No 2 cocktail in coupe glass, shot against black marble backdrop / Tim Nusog

    This drink’s purported hangover-curing properties are right in the name. Whether or not it cures what ails you, the citrusy and absinthe-rinsed cocktail is a delicious brunch order thanks to London Dry gin, Lillet Blanc, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.

    Get the recipe.

  • Breakfast Martini

    Breakfast Martini / Tim Nusog

    In the 1990s, bar legend Salvatore Calabrese was allegedly inspired by a breakfast of toast and marmalade to create this drink, which adds a barspoon of orange marmalade to a bright combination of gin, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Name aside, the modern classic is delicious any time of day.

    Get the recipe.

  • Espresso Martini

    Espresso Martini garnished with three espresso beans shot on wooden table with hand in frame
    Molly DeCoudreaux

    Plenty rely on this high-voltage combination of vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso, and simple syrup to kickstart their evenings, but it’s also a reliable pick-me-up the next morning. If you don’t have espresso on hand, you can easily swap in cold-brew concentrate.

    Get the recipe.

  • Absinthe Suissesse

    Absinthe Suissesse cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Although this herbaceous drink is classically served with brunch in its home city of New Orleans, it also makes a lovely nightcap. Versions vary, but this one combines its namesake spirit with white crème de menthe, orgeat, heavy cream, an egg white, and a dash of orange flower water.

    Get the recipe.

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  • Michelada

    Michelada / Tim Nusog

    This savory Mexico favorite likely dates to the mid-20th century, when it became popular to serve beer with lime and salt. The Michelada takes that idea a step further, adding hot sauce, lime juice, and plenty of seasonings.

    Get the recipe.

  • Reverse Martini

    Reverse Martini in a Nick & Nora, sherry-style glass, with dropped olive garnish on marble background / Tim Nusog

    A classic Martini is undeniably a boozy order, but flipping the proportions of gin and dry vermouth—as Julia Child was said to have favored—makes for a more easygoing drink. The higher ratio of vermouth also puts the spotlight on more artisanal bottles.  

    Get the recipe.

  • Paloma

    Paloma cocktail in a highball glass with a lime wheel / Tim Nusog

    Made with a simple combination of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda, Mexico’s beloved fizzy drink has all the makings of a great brunch cocktail: It’s unfussy, refreshing, and begging for refills.

    Get the recipe.

  • Ramos Gin Fizz

    Ramos Gin Fizz with whipped cream in highball glas, shot against dark background / Tim Nusog

    This New Orleans classic is perhaps most famous for its preparation, as bartenders allegedly shook the drink for up to 12 minutes back in the day. In modern times, 25–45 seconds should be sufficient to aerate the frothy and fizzy mix of gin, heavy cream, orange flower water, lemon and lime juices, and an egg white, topped with club soda. 

    Get the recipe.

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  • Brandy Milk Punch

    Brandy Milk Punch / Tim Nusog 

    Another New Orleans classic, this frozen concoction is a brunch staple of the legendary restaurant Brennan’s. The combination of brandy, milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, blended over crushed ice, is ideal for those with a sweet tooth.

    Get the recipe.

  • Bellini

    Bellini / Tim Nusog

    Created at the famed Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, this peach-and-prosecco drink is easy to riff on. Once you’ve made the classic, try the Spiced Pear Bellini or Raspberry Bellini.

    Get the recipe.

  • Painkiller

    Painkiller cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Created in the 1970s on the British Virgin Islands, this Piña Colada riff is the next best thing to a tropical vacation. The irresistible drink combines rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple and orange juices.

    Get the recipe.