Eye openers: 4 great brunch cocktail pairings

Brunch provides a palette for a myriad of cocktail pairings. Reece Sims photo

There’s just something about bringing people together for brunch that captures hearts and palates. Perhaps it’s the enticing blend of savoury and sweet flavours, endless beverage options, and a leisurely atmosphere that creates undeniable allure.

I was especially inspired by the brunches I enjoyed on a recent visit to Scottsdale, Arizona, for a bachelorette party weekend. Mostly I was inspired by one particular brunch at the W Scottsdale’s Cottontail Lounge. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city, with the Fashion District a few minutes west, Old Town a few minutes south, and the Entertainment District at its doorstep.

Best of all? The brunch cocktail pairings. Here are four to try.

Pair a smoked salmon tartine (or any breakfast sandwich) with a pineapple mimosa. Reece Sims photo

Smoked Salmon Tartine & Pineapple Mimosas

Great tartines will play with structure and flavour to create a visual and sensory experience. For example, Cottontail Lounge’s Norwegian smoked salmon tartine is set atop Noble Bakery country toast and embellished with avocado spread, radish, baby heirloom tomatoes, lemon oil and alfalfa sprouts. To create balance with the smoked salmon, Prosecco offers vibrancy, aromatics and effervescence while the pineapple juice offers additional acidity with a touch of sweetness. If you’re more partial to bennies or breakfast sandwiches, Pineapple Mimosas pair well with other savoury bread-based breakfast bites too.


A boozy strawberry lemonade goes well with any kind of egg-rich dish, like a quiche. Reece Sims photo

Quiche & Spiked Lemonade

Eggs are a brunch staple, whether sunny side up, in a frittata or baked as a quiche. The Cottontail Lounge’s quiche is approachable and classic, light and fluffy, with a delightfully flaky crust and a rich baked custard containing eggs, tomatoes, spinach and Gruyére cheese, all topped with frisée salad. An Absolut Citron-spiked Strawberry Lemonade matches the weight of egg-rich dishes while providing sweetness and tartness to round out the pairing.


Wake up any rich breakfast dish with an Espresso Martini. Reece Sims photo

French Toast & an Espresso Martini

Fried, eggy bread (in this case, challah), with crispy edges, a soft, custardy centre and drizzles of gooey maple bourbon syrup—French toast cries out for something to bridge its sweetness and richness, and that something should be an Espresso Martini. The Cottontail Lounge’s version, called The Wake Up Call, features Jameson Cold Brew, coffee, simple syrup, milk (or milk substitute) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It adds layers of flavour as well as bitterness and roasted elements for contrast.

A citrus forward cocktail, like the Cottontail Lounge’s Jack Rabbit, goes well with a spicy dish like a breakfast burrito. Reece Sims photo

Breakfast Burrito & a Smoky, Citrusy Cocktail

A breakfast burrito, filled with homemade chorizo sausage, eggs, Yukon potatoes, green salsa, cotija cheese and pickled jalapeños, requires something zesty and sweet to cut through the heaviness and spice. Citrus-forward drinks provide a refreshing reprieve, especially smoky ones made with mezcal or a peated scotch. A Penicillin is a great cocktail option or something like the Cottontail Lounge’s Jack Rabbit, which is made with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Ramazzotti Rosato, pineapple juice and fresh squeezed lime. 

Whether you try each of these pairings one-by-one or assemble a group of brunch-goers to share in all of them at once, each combination will elevate the art of leisurely indulgence to new heights and leave you craving your next bite.

—by Reece Sims

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