Beyond bloodies: 3 easy and cheap brunch cocktails

The michelada doesn’t cost much; pairs well with scrambled egg enchiladas. Photo by Salma Khalil.

When you say you’re drinking “cocktails,” people assume you’re drinking something high class. And it’s true; cocktail ingredients usually do come with a higher price tag, If a recipe calls for three or four types of liquor, you’re looking at an easy $100 or more. I learned this the hard way, spending a sizable portion of the advance for my book, Boozy Brunch on the bottles needed for recipe testing. (Not that I’m complaining; making cocktails isn’t exactly manual labor.)

Yet I also learned that plenty of cocktails and mixed drinks don’t cost as much to make. And there are a few drinks that are just plain cheap. So I’m pleased to present a few drink recipes that will leave you with enough money to buy something to eat as well. Read below to enter to win a copy of the book too!

The White Trash Mimosa

When even Cupcake Prosecco is too pricey, this is the mimosa for you. Simply add one packet of Emergen-C  to a bottle of the “Champagne of Beers,” Miller High Life. This one is really more of a hangover cure than anything else, but sometimes that’s what the morning calls for; and it’s a bit classier than this one.

The Cocky Rooster

The Cocky Rooster. Wonder Woman glass optional. via TheKitchn

If you like to gussy up mediocre Thai take-out with Sriracha,then you already have the key ingredient to this variation on the classic “beertail,” the Chelada. This drink comes from New York’s An Choi and is featured in this month’s GQ. For those of us who don’t subscribe, you can find the recipe (which involves jalapeños and beer) at The Kitchn.

For the Chelada, rim a chilled glass with salt and add one ounce of lime juice, one bottle of Mexican beer, two dashes of Maggi Seasoning (or Worcestershire if you can’t find Maggi), two dashes Cholula, and garnish with a lime wedge. Make it a Michelada by adding one-to-three ounces of tomato juice according to taste.

The Black Rose

Of course, the above drinks are tasty, but sometimes only hard liquor and strong coffee will do. An Irish Coffee isn’t the only option, and the Black Rose beats it out in the hot summer months. Combine two ounces dark rum with one teaspoon bar (a.k.a. superfine) sugar in a tumbler, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then add ice and fill the rest of the glass with coffee.

If you’re thrifty enough to plan ahead, then find a liquor store that gives you a discount (usually 10 percent) on buying cases or half-cases of mix-and-match bottles. (I did most of my research shopping at Park Slope’s Seventh Avenue Wines and Liquors for that very reason.) Ten percent doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up, and it means you’ll have enough cash left over for bagels.

We’ve got a copy of Peter’s book to giveaway! Tell us your favorite brunch cocktail in the comments; we’ll pick a winner on Friday at 5pm. Make sure to register before you comment so we can contact you! The book is available in stores on Sept. 15.

Peter Joseph will be talking more about Boozy Brunch: The Quintessential Guide to Daytime Drinking and serving a few hifalutin cocktails at WORD Brooklyn on Saturday, August 18, at 2pm. More info here.

Follow Peter as he conquers the world of brunch cocktails: @peterajospeh.


  1. do512_matt

    My favorite brunch cocktail is the (spiked) Arnold Palmer. Equal parts lemonade and sweet tea vodka over ice w/ muddled mint leaves. Simple and delicious.

  2. Tim Donnelly

    Also, Ted Leo chimed in on Twitter:
    @Brokelyn I call foul on this “White Trash Mimosa!” Me & The Rx invented Emergen-C & High Life years ago. We called it an “Emergen-B.”

    See also, our “Low Life” (High Life w/shot of Jamesons in it), “San Patricio” (Corona/Tecate/Modello w/Jamesons in it)…

    …AND our signature cocktail, “The Pharmacist” (Emergen-C, Jameson, hot sauce).

  3. My fav Boozy Brunch drink that will make you forget about the 2 hour church sermon you just sat thru is a Quiet Storm….Hennessy, Grand Marnier and Baileys! Bow your head and say AMEN!!!!

  4. monikattt

    I’m a sucker for the Bloody Maria – 1 part tequila (shitty or otherwise, budget-depending), 2 parts grapefruit juice, 1 lime wedge, sugared rim and cilantro to taste.

  5. cheeky

    Love the “breakfast” drink at Sidecar in Park Slope. Shot of bloody mix, shot of tequila, then a pickle. Definitely unique, and definitely gets you going in the morning.

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