Set out Champagne flutes ahead of time, so you can greet guests with some punch.
Sure, mimosas are easy. But unless you're using freshly squeezed orange juice, too many are watery and, well, the opposite of invigorating. So, why not jazz up your next brunch with a cocktail or two that opens eyes and excites the palate?
Here are a few cocktails, both classic and contemporary, that are sure to please your whole guest list.
This classic comes from "The Savory Cocktail Cookbook," which dates back to 1930. The recipe calls for "1 glass" each of brandy, maraschino and curaçao. Some say that a glass referred to 2 ounces. Others say it's 4 ounces. My advice would be to start with 2 ounces and increase to taste. You may like more of the orange-flavored curaçao (don't use blue curaçao in this punch) or less of the brandy. It's all about what tastes good to you. Chill as many of the ingredients as you can beforehand.
1/2 pound powdered sugar
2 quarts Champagne
1 quart mineral water or seltzer water (not club soda)
1 glass brandy
1 glass maraschino
1 glass curaçao
Mix well in punch bowl. Surround bowl with cracked ice (don't add ice to the punch) and add slices of fruit in season.
Editor's note: If you use a sweet sparkling wine, you may want to cut back on the sugar. Again, do it to taste.
You can line up your flutes and add a sliced strawberry or raspberry beforehand, so you can fill the glasses when people arrive.
Adapted from "The Savoy Cocktail Book"
I'm not big on sweet cocktails, so I love Italian apéritifs, including Aperol, in mixed drinks. They bring a pleasantly bitter touch to cocktail, such as this classic bittersweet Italian creation.
2 1/2 ounces Aperol, chilled
In a Champagne flute, pour in chilled Aperol. Top with Prosecco to taste. Garnish with a piece of citrus peel, a blackberry, a mint leaf or even a sprig of rosemary.
From John Griffin
In New Orleans, Pimm's Cups can be had on most any street corner bar. This is a Champagne variation that will sparkle during your brunch.
3/4 ounce Pimm's No. 1, chilled
Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
1 lemon twist, for garnish
Pour the chilled Pimm's into a Champagne glass and fill with Champagne. Garnish with the lemon twist.
Makes 1 cocktail.
From "Big Easy Cocktails" by Jimmy Banos and John DeMers