The weekend is finally here—time for flannel onesies, long Netflix-binge sessions, and everyone’s favorite meal, brunch! From the overstuffed omelets to the trendy avocado toasts, brunch is the ultimate foodie destination where we get to break rules, challenge norms, and eat the stuff we really crave. When it comes to boozy brunch, the category is dominated by spicy bloody marys and fizzy mimosas. But don’t leave the rest of the wine list off the menu the next time you place your order for brunch—here’s how to pair the best wine with 5 brunch-time favorites. And if you really want to impress your friends, below is a recipe for a refreshing brunch cocktail that pairs well with all of these dishes.
Brunch Food #1: Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, Potatoes
Denny’s got it right when in 1977 they introduced the Grand Slam breakfast—the ultimate of brunchy eats. Today, the classic combination has been upgraded at places like The Grey Dog Cafe in N.Y.C.s West Village. You, my intrepid boozy brunch buddy, are going to reach for a crisp Rosé from a grape variety that gives you little more body and flavor. Look for a Rosé from the Tempranillo, Syrah, Malbec, or Merlot grape. The Medlock Ames’ Rose is made from Merlot which hits you with some sweet vanilla for the pancakes and just enough spice to play nicely the eggs and bacon. The crisp acidity helps cut through the fat while leaving your mouth watering for one more bite—now that’s a grand slam.
Brunch Food #2: Salmon Lox Bagel
(Photo taken by @cy_eats)
Once you’ve had a great New York City-style bagel, you can’t go back to the stuff in the grocery store. The bagels at Manhattan’s Black Seed Bagel take it up a few levels with a wood-fired oven toast and an impressive line up of toppings that includes buffalo cauliflower, homemade almond butter, and pickles. But for this boozy brunch matchup, let’s focus on the king of them all: the salmon lox bagel. With smoky salmon, cream cheese, and capers—you need reach no further than your favorite French Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc. The citrus notes and minerality in these wines provide enough acidity and crispness for that creamy fillings while the herbal hints compliment the zippy capers. For an old-world style bottle with a new-world flair, try the Sauvignon Blanc from California’s Tangent Wines.
Brunch Food #3: Avocado Toast
(Photo taken by @bluestonelanecoffee)
It’s a pretty safe bet that I’d be kicked out of the Boozy Brunch Club if I didn’t include the ubiquitous neo-classic Avocado Toast. The Classic Avocado Smash at Bluestone Lane is a favorite! Crunchy Balthazar bread is topped with smashed avocado, heirloom cherry tomatoes, creamy feta, sunflower sprouts, and a hint of extra virgin olive oil. Spain’s Verdejo is a great choice for this one. Verdejo typically comes from the Rueda wine region that produces a wine with high acidity and plenty of those limey citrus notes to power up every bite. Check out Finca Montepedroso’s Rueda for a great bottle that’s easy on the wallet.
Brunch Food #4: Soup Dumplings
(Photo taken by @thedishelinguide)
Nothing says help-me-recover-from-one-too-many-last-night like soup dumplings. Maybe it’s the fact that they are ridiculously savory flavor bombs or maybe it’s how easy they are to chomp in one bite. The version from Little Alley in New York is full of crab and delicious broth for the ultimate flavor explosion. Since we are talking about the Empire State, let’s keep it simple by pairing these with Empire Estate Wine’s Riesling from the Finger Lakes region. This region is pumping out some really awesome values that can stand up to everything from spicy to savory. Regardless of what you fill your dumpling with, Riesling is up for the challenge.
Brunch Food #5: Shakshuka
(Photo taken by @grub_worthy)
Shakshuka is the dish that boozy brunch dreams are made of! This dish—which originated in North Africa—is seen in Middle Eastern cuisine from several countries. Rustic Table has nailed the combo of poached eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, spicy cumin, and peppers. This dish inspires all the brunch time feels but presents an interesting challenge when it comes to finding a wine. The eggs, the spice, the umami of the tomatoes— all things that typically take us in opposite directions of each other. For this one, I’m turning to an Italian Lambrusco — which is a dry, sparkling rose that packs enough acidity to handle the creamy eggs and tomatoes.
Recipe for a Boozy Brunch Cocktail: Modern Aperol Spritz
The Aperol Spritz is a tasty brunch cocktail that you can whip up quickly to impress your friends and please the palate. This fresh, effervescent, and herbaceous cocktail provides just the right balance to go with most of the dishes in this article even and only takes four ingredients. Plus it has oranges and sparkling wine— so if you are still dreaming of that mimosa, this is a way to do with style.
To make the perfect Aperol Spritz:
- 2 oz of Aperol
- 3 oz of sparkling wine (Prosecco is a fan favorite for this one)
- Splash of soda water
- Orange slice for garnish
Add the Aperol and Prosecco to an ice-filled wine glass, top with a splash of soda, add the orange slice, and raise that pinky!
Feeling inspired to try a new restaurant? Explore great takeout on ChowNow! Want to read about an iconic N.Y. restaurant in East Village? Check out this post about Veselka as we go behind the scenes to see what it takes to run a 24-hour family business.