The 18 Best Cocktails To Enjoy During Brunch

Weekends are ideal for many activities, but one of the best is going out and staying up too late, subsequently sleeping in, then rolling out of bed for the quintessential meal of brunch

The mid-day meal has become so popular over the years — with people flocking to their favorite restaurants to enjoy eggs Benedict, chicken and waffles, and of course, a good old cocktail — that at some restaurants brunch has become an event.

While drinking alcohol isn't typically seen as socially acceptable during breakfast, all bets are off when it comes to brunch. In fact, cocktails like the bloody mary or mimosa have become brunch staples to the point where it would perhaps be more bizarre to not order a cocktail with your side of toast.

Below, a list of the best brunch cocktails, whether they be classics, coffee-infused (two birds with one stone), or refreshing. If you want something light with your eggs — a little pick-me-up, something to help ease into the weekend — these cocktails are up to the task.

Gin fizz

A classic gin fizz is the kind of cocktail you can enjoy anytime, anywhere — it's just complex enough to be interesting, it's refreshing, and most importantly, it tastes delicious. If it's brunch time, it's an unexpected but excellent choice.

While recipes vary, you can typically count on a gin fizz being very liquor-forward in flavor, with the help of citrus juice from either lemons or limes to help balance it out. Fans of frothy cocktails will especially like this option. Hey, you were probably going to order eggs anyway, so why not get ahead of the curve and order an egg white-infused cocktail to go with it?

Espresso martini

Any cocktail that features both booze and coffee is a winner at brunch, and an espresso martini happens to check both of those boxes. Who'd have thought a combination of espresso, Kahlua, and vodka could taste so crisp and light? 

An espresso martini features vodka as the star of the show, though the inclusion of coffee is where things get truly interesting. Sure, it's not the first coffee cocktail to come out of the woodwork, and it won't be the last, but it is arguably the tastiest. If you're the type who struggles to get out of bed and make it to brunch, you may want to consider ordering an espresso martini for the perfect combo of calm-me-down and wake-me-up.


Can you imagine a world where mimosas no longer reign as the supreme brunch cocktail? Bubbly orange juice just pairs so naturally with French toast.

It's no surprise that the mimosa is considered the best brunch cocktail; it has a beautiful simplicity, harnessing a combination of Champagne (or any sparkling wine) and orange juice, perhaps with an orange slice for garnish if you're feeling extra festive.

While Champagne and OJ make for a classic mimosa, there's also room to get creative with it. If you're not a fan of citrus, you could easily enjoy the bubbles with another type of juice. Would it still be a classic mimosa? Perhaps not, but it's an experiment worth attempting.

Aperol spritz

One look at an Aperol spritz and you might feel refreshed, or at the very least intrigued by its vibrant orange hue. The popular Italian cocktail has garnered quite a bit of worldwide fame in recent years, and spritz truthers swear by its crisp if not bitter flavor profile, which works well alongside club soda or prosecco. 

An Aperol spritz certainly isn't for everyone, as it's not typically very sweet, and thanks to Aperol (which, by the way, is a type of Italian liqueur) it has a very distinct flavor, to say the least. Luckily, Aperol is nowhere near as bitter as Campari, a similar liqueur, so many people flock to Aperol spritzes for a more balanced cocktail. If you enjoy ice-cold, fizzy drinks that aren't sweet and have earthy, slightly bitter, orange undertones, this may just be the brunch cocktail for you.


It's hard to not love lemon, lime, and orange-based cocktails, but it's also nice to switch things up and let a different type of citrus shine. Take grapefruit, for example, beautifully showcased in a classic Paloma and perhaps on your next brunch outing.

Fans of tequila can rejoice over this cocktail, which does indeed feature the heart of the agave plant as its star. Other ingredients include sparkling water, simple syrup, and fresh grapefruit juice — it's citrusy, refreshing, and it veers away from the same old orange juice or lemon-based cocktail. A Paloma is just the bright beverage to sip on at brunch, and it's also a great way to enjoy a tequila-based cocktail without resorting to a margarita every time.

Bloody Mary

The bloody mary is one of the most popular brunch cocktails out there, second only to a mimosa, perhaps, though enthusiasts might say it edges out the sparkling orange competition. Despite being such a revered cocktail, it is also a bit of a polarizing one — it features vodka, mixed with tomato juice, oftentimes decked out with some pretty outlandish garnishes like olives, artichokes, or even bacon. 

While a bloody mary might sound weird on paper, it sure does taste good in real life. It's not for those who enjoy sweet cocktails, but fans of savory and spicy flavors can unite on this one. The garnishes are also part of the appeal; whether classics like olives or pickles, or oddities like chicken tenders and whole slices of pizza, various restaurants put their unique spins front and center. The right bloody mary can be like an appetizer and cocktail all in one, which is ideal for your growling stomach.

Mint julep

A classic mint julep may not cross your mind when it comes to ordering a brunch cocktail; in fact, it might not cross your mind at all, unless you happen to be an avid Kentucky Derby fan. Put the minty cocktail on your radar, however, especially during your Saturday brunch, as it will cool you right down just in time for your shrimp and grits to warm you back up.

Many of the cocktails on this list feature vodka, or perhaps Champagne, but very few feature bourbon. If you're a fan of the liquor, it's all the more reason to add a mint julep to your meal. The smooth flavor of the bourbon pairs quite nicely with the bright, zesty flavor of the mint, and if you order a mint julep at brunch, you'll feel super refreshed afterward.


There are some cocktails out there so incredibly simple, so deceivingly bare-boned, that it's amazing they've managed to attain such popularity. The classic screwdriver is a good example of such a cocktail. It's not a bad one by any means, but it consists only of orange juice and vodka. That's it. But although it isn't the most innovative cocktail in the world, it works.

That very simplicity plays into the screwdriver's favor when it comes to brunch, since ordering the cocktail is peripherally like ordering a glass of orange juice. OJ is remarkably good at masking the flavor of vodka, so as you're sipping, you might forget that there's even any booze in your brunch drink of choice ... well, for a little bit, anyway.

Tom Collins

If you like to order lemonade at brunch, here's a boozy suggestion. A Tom Collins features gin, lemon juice, and club soda — it's bubbly, it's light, it's citrusy, and will pair wonderfully alongside your stack of pancakes.

There's actually something of a legend behind the Tom Collins cocktail, and what started as a rumor-like prank around bars in New York City quickly spread to other parts of the world. Nowadays, the prank isn't very relevant, but the cocktail lives on as a classic. It's easy to see why the Tom Collins has retained its popularity, considering it's something of an adult lemonade. Not just any lemonade, but a fizzy one at that, and perhaps those bubbles will be just what you need to settle your stomach after the previous night's shenanigans. 


If you wake up on Sunday morning with a pulsing headache, you'll likely be searching for something, anything to kill the pain. If only there were a cocktail for that ... oh wait, there is, and it's the aptly-named painkiller. Okay, the painkiller doesn't actually have any healing qualities or special painkilling powers, but for many people, the rum is enough to do the trick.

There's more to a painkiller than just rum; it's one of those delightfully fruity cocktails where you can barely taste the alcohol. The tropical treat also consists of pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut, and it even comes with a garnish of nutmeg for a dash of warmth. Sure, the painkiller isn't your typical brunch cocktail, but it is a fun one, and the fruity flavors pair well with just about any meal.

Orange crush

Those who like to start their mornings with a vitamin D-packed glass of orange juice will love an orange crush cocktail, which hones in on the citrus flavor. Between the orange-flavored vodka, orange liqueur, and orange juice, this cocktail will have you seeing orange by the time you finish it.

It's not surprising that such a citrusy cocktail would pair well with brunch. After all, a glass of orange juice is a classic breakfast or brunch pairing, and the orange crush is like a glass of OJ, but with a boozy twist. Of course, you may be wondering, what exactly sets this apart from a screwdriver or mimosa? Well, an orange crush involves more ingredients, giving it a more complex flavor than its citrus-fueled peers.

Irish coffee

Most of the cocktail options on this list are fruity and refreshing, but the Irish coffee is quite the opposite. This one will warm you up and give you a hefty dose of caffeine, and the latter is why this cocktail is especially ideal for brunch. Coffee is one of the most popular brunch beverages to begin with, and an Irish coffee retains that caffeine, adding a fun twist.

That being whiskey, which not only adds to the cocktail's warming effect but also its comforting one. The whiskey pairs well with the bitter black coffee, and most Irish coffees come with some sugar mixed in to help mellow everything out. Topped off with a simple whipped cream, the Irish coffee is the ideal brunch cocktail because it does two jobs at once.

Peach bellini

If you like the idea of a classic mimosa but don't like orange juice, not all hope for the perfect brunch cocktail is lost. Enter the peach bellini, similar to a mimosa, but pairing prosecco (or other sparkling wine) with peach purée instead of orange juice. This cocktail is even served in similar fashion to a mimosa, down to the classy champagne flute and optional fresh fruit garnish.

Obviously, the peach bellini is going to taste a bit different. Instead of having a strong citrus flavor, this cocktail has a sweet, floral-like taste, and depending on the additions to the peach purée, it may taste like honey as well. Of course, that bubbly consistency will still be present thanks to the prosecco, and there's no doubt that you'll enjoy every sip of this sweet cocktail.


There are quite a few types of sangria out there, but generally speaking, each involves wine and fruit. It could be red or white wine, sweet or dry, and the fruits can vary from strawberries to apples to peaches to oranges. No matter what sort of sangria your favorite brunch spot has on the menu, you'll likely enjoy sipping a glass of it during your meal. 

Sangria is such a good option because it's lighter than more liquor-forward cocktails while still providing a nice buzz. There's a good chance you were going to get a side of fruit with your entree anyway, so why not opt for hashbrowns instead and get your fruit serving in your glass? 

Tequila sunrise

While your brunch will likely be taking place much, much later in the day than sunrise, you can make up for missing it by ordering a tequila sunrise cocktail. The star liquor is tequila, and the only other substantial liquid that goes into the drink is orange juice. So, what makes it a sunrise? Well, there's also a small amount of grenadine, providing that red/orange gradient alongside the orange juice.

For those who want an Instagram-worthy brunch cocktail, the tequila sunrise is a top contender. It's a simple cocktail but a beautiful one, and it doesn't hurt that it tastes sweet and refreshing. This is also a great option for those OJ lovers less fond of vodka and bubbles but more fond of tequila.

Lemon drop martini

While it might not necessarily be the best idea to order a martini with brunch, a lemon drop martini is a much more reasonable companion. 

A lemon drop martini still packs a boozy punch, as it does feature both vodka and Cointreau, but there are other flavors present to help mellow it out. As the name suggests, you will find a strong citrus flavor in this drink thanks to the addition of lemon juice. You can also count on some sweetness from simple syrup, and if you're lucky enough, your cocktail might even be served with a sugared rim. It's a simple but elegant cocktail, and the light, refreshing lemon flavor makes it more fit for brunchtime than your typical martini.

French 75

Oh, another cocktail served in a champagne flute? How original. But the French 75 actually is unique compared to other, similarly-served cocktails. 

It features both gin and champagne, so it's a little more boozy than one might initially think, but the addition of fresh lemon juice helps tamper the alcohol a bit. The French 75 is bubbly and citrusy, and for those who enjoy mimosas but want something a little more complex, this is the perfect compromise.

A French 75 cocktail is an ideal brunch pairing because it's not going to overpower the food. It's a great background drink, one that you're sipping on throughout the meal and enjoying, but not more so than the food. Which is not an insult to the cocktail — a good drink should be nice and balanced, and the French 75 is all about the balance between gin, champagne, and lemon. 


Beer lovers, we haven't forgotten you. The last but certainly not least brunch cocktail option worth mentioning is none other than a Michelada. The classic beer-based cocktail looks quite similar to a bloody mary at first glance, and really, they do share a similarly savory flavor profile. The distinct difference comes in the alcohol, with bloody marys having a vodka base and Micheladas featuring a cool, crispy beer. 

The combination of beer, tomato juice, and hot sauce may seem like an odd one at first, but this cocktail is actually really tasty and plenty refreshing. You can dress a Michelada up with lots of garnishes or dress it down and just enjoy the drink as-is. This cocktail is ideal for those brunch-goers who want something boozy but ultimately to keep the alcohol content low.