MxMo: Brunch

mxmologoIt’s time again for Mixology Monday! This month’s theme comes from Gary over at Doc Elliot’s. Gary’s theme is brunch cocktails. Excellent! We love brunch and cocktails. However Gary gave an important stipulation, “No fizzy wine“. Even better! We love fizzy wine cocktails as much as the next folks, but that’s a great constraint. So we set out to see what we could come up with.

Christa wanted to do something with lots of juice to provide brightness and acidity that would counterbalance food well, and also plausibility for it being “light” so that you can have several :). We decided on grapefruit juice because it provided a nice bitter bite as well, good for cutting through rich brunch foods like Eggs Benedict. After tasting through some base spirits, we found pisco’s grape-y, herbal/floral flavors made a nice complement to it. Tasty on its own, but a little thin. Some aperitif wine added sugar for better mouthfeel, and a few more bitter notes. Getting there, but more complexity would still be welcome. Orange and Spanish bitters played up the fruit and floral notes already in the drink and added a touch more bitterness, rounding out the palate for a full-bodied yet clean and bitter drink.

img_6150Brighter Later

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Enjoy!


  • Nose: Grapefruit, grape spirit, orange peel, chamomile. Little bit of tropical fruit like bananas and starfruit.
  • Palate: Intro is super fruity with banana, starfruit and grapefruit. Mid-palate is fruity/floral pisco and chamomile with some cooked orange. Finish is bitter herbs and grapefruit peel, followed by a lingering bitter aftertaste. Really clean and bright and fruity with a nice bitter finish.

Christa originally was going to try something with amaro but then shifted gears and ended up with the lovely cocktail above. Shaun, thinking this was a brilliant idea, happily stole it. The idea of nice, rich orange flavors appealed. Rather than trying to counterbalance the richness of brunch, Shaun decided to double down and see what he could come up with. Lilies are made for gilding! With orange juice as a base, our minds turned to a Derby-alike since orange flavors pair so well with bourbon. With bourbon as the spirit, how to get a touch of bitterness? Amaro seemed like a good direction, but which amaro? We finally settled on the amaro Montenegro because of its lovely nutty notes, with worked really well with the orange and vanilla flavors we already had going on. That said, the drink was still a bit flat. Various bitters helped, but just weren’t the thing. We then turned to red vermouth, and that turned out to be the trick. We went with one of the lighter ones so as to not overwhelm the drink. With that we had the:

img_6166Grandma’s French Toast

  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz barrel strength bourbon
  • 3/4 oz amaro Montenegro
  • 3/4 oz red vermouth

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Cheers!



  • Nose: Fairly faint nose. Little bit of orange, barrel wood and cinnamon-y spice. Hint of celery.
  • Palate: Front is sweet orange with oxidized wine, spice, and candied hazelnuts. Mid-palate highlights the bourbon and vermouth with darker herbal, spice, and barrel notes along with some caramel. Finish is toasted grain and bitter tobacco.

Exactly what we were looking for. A nice rich cocktail with lots going on. Yum!

Thanks to Gary for a great theme and thanks once again to Fred for keeping the cocktail fires burning. We’re looking forward to everyone else’s entries. Until next time cheers!


This entry was posted in amaro montenegro, bourbon, cocktail recipe, grapefruit juice, kina l'aero d'or, Mixology Monday, orange bitters, orange juice, pisco, spanish bitters, sweet vermouth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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