19 Brunch Cocktails That Make Any Day Feel Like a Special Occasion

Spanish Gin Tonic
Photo: Victoria Pearson

When it comes to brunch cocktails, head-spinning heavyweight drinks need not apply! We'll take ours fresh, breezy, and bright, please. Our best brunch cocktail recipes hit that sweet spot thanks to happy-making ingredients like berries, cherries, bubbles, herbs, and just-the-right spirits.

01 of 19

Bloody Maria

Bloody Maria
Blaine Moats

A list of brunch cocktails without a great Bloody Mary recipe? Never gonna happen! This Tex-Mex twist on the drink features sassier ingredients, switching in tequila for vodka, chipotle pepper sauce for the usual hot pepper sauce, and blazing jalapeños for boring celery sticks.

02 of 19

Pineapple-Ginger Punch

Pineapple-Ginger Punch
Karla Conrad

The best breakfast cocktails are not only mood lifters, but eye-openers as well. Here, fresh ginger adds perk-you-up flavor that will bring even the sleepiest of sleepyheads back to life. Learn how to cut and peel pineapple so you can make gorgeous fresh-fruit garnishes.

03 of 19

Spanish Gin Tonic

Spanish Gin Tonic
Victoria Pearson

Find great inspiration for easy brunch cocktails right in your own backyard! Gather the freshest-looking herbs and prettiest edible flowers and add them to this Spanish version of a classic cocktail. To make these pretty brunch cocktails even prettier, learn how to make floral ice cubes.

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04 of 19

Triple-Citrus Whiskey Sour

Triple Citrus Whiskey Sour

Yes! Brown liquors work just fine in brunch alcoholic drinks. The trick is to brighten these heavier spirits up for day drinking. A triple hit of citrus definitely does the trick in this sunny take on a classic whiskey sour.

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05 of 19

Strawberry-Basil Smash

Strawberry-Basil Smash
Matt Armendariz

Here's one of our most versatile breakfast cocktails ever. Make it with vodka, gin, rum, or tequila. Simply whip up the fruity base (an immersion blender works wonders) and let guests spike their own drinks with their favorite liquor.

Buy It: Cuisinart Hand Blender ($40, Bed Bath & Beyond)

06 of 19

Ginger-Peach Bellini

Ginger-Peach Bellini
Karla Conrad

One cool sip, and this peachy-keen cocktail will have you dreaming of sweet sunrises in Venice. The city's signature drink calls for Prosecco, peach schnapps, and homemade ginger syrup.

07 of 19

Citrus Shimmer Cocktail

Citrus Shimmer Cocktail
Carson Downing

Limoncello—that irresistible after-dinner sip—does beautiful things to champagne brunch cocktails, too. Here, it adds a little heft and a lot of sweet-tart tang to Prosecco. Attention DYIers: Why not go all in and make your own limoncello? It's easier than you might think.

08 of 19

Apposta Cocktail

Apposta Cocktail
Andy Lyons

When you're on the hunt for brunch drinks for a crowd, you know you're on the right track when there's a pitcher in the picture. With gin, vermouth, and Campari, plus grapefruit soda and lemon juice, this winner offers an invigorating blend of bitter, sweet, and sour flavors with a little uplifting sparkle in the mix.

Buy It: Impressions Pitcher ($15, Crate & Barrel)

09 of 19

Prosecco-Peach Champagne Punch

Prosecco-Peach Punch
Blaine Moats

Light, bright, and often fruit-forward, prosecco is a great choice for champagne brunch cocktails. Here, the sparkling wine pairs with a peach puree plus orange and lemon juices. It's perfect for those who prefer plenty of citrus juice in their breakfast cocktails.

10 of 19

Rosemary Grapefruit Gin Cocktail

Rosemary-Grapefruit Gin Cocktail
Blaine Moats

What's the difference between breakfast cocktails and brunch cocktails? While they're generally interchangeable, the earlier in the a.m. you're serving the sipper, the more likely it is your guests will appreciate some citrus juice in the mix. This gin and juice combo will definitely fill the bill.

11 of 19

Spicy Beer Mary

Spicy Beer Mary Cocktails
Kritsada Panichgul

Champagne isn't the only way to get boozy bubbles in your morning libations. These days, breakfast beer cocktails are really taking off, too. Give the trend a go with this kicky crowd-pleaser.

12 of 19

Honeydew-Coconut Cocktails

Honeydew-Coconut Cocktails
Karla Conrad

On the hunt for refreshing breakfast cocktails to serve when temperatures climb? Cut open some cooling honeydew melons and break out the blender. Mix it up with fruit juices, cream of coconut, melon liqueur, and vodka for a refreshing taste of the tropics.

13 of 19

Hot Orange Sipping Tea

Hot Orange Sipping Tea
Jason Donnelly

This spiked and spiced hot cinnamon-citrus tea is perfect for blustery fall mornings. Boil a batch in less than 10 minutes. Brunch guests will love the vanilla vodka and orange liqueur additions.

14 of 19

Peach Bellinis

Peach Bellinis
Blaine Moats

Hailing from Venice, Italy, Bellinis are among the world's best brunch cocktails. While they're traditionally made with pureed white peaches, this recipe calls for peach nectar, an easy-to-find substitute. Keep the peach theme going with these perfect-for-brunch Peach-Prosciutto Cornmeal Muffins.

15 of 19

Grapefruit-Gin Cocktail Shakes

Grapefruit-Gin Cocktail Shakes
Andy Lyons

With raspberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream, grapefruit juice, and gin, this is one of those great brunch drink recipes that can also stand in for dessert.

16 of 19

Strawberry-Sage Shrub

Strawberry and Sage Shrub
Andy Lyons

If you need brunch drink ideas that keep kids and teetotalers in mind, take a look at this cool beauty. It starts with a homemade shrub—a syrup made of fruit juice. Then, add sparkling wine for those who imbibe alcohol or club soda for those who don't.

17 of 19

Cherry Sangria

Sweet Cherry Sangria
Blaine Moats

Sangria ranks high on our list of favorite brunch cocktail recipes you can make for a crowd. And with plenty of orange juice, this one was made with a.m. sipping in mind. To deepen the sip's ripe cherry flavors, be sure to choose a fruity wine, such as Beaujolais or Zinfandel.

18 of 19

Sweet Tea Swagger

Sweet Tea Swagger
Andy Lyons

If caffeine is a must in your breakfast alcoholic drinks, here's your recipe! Brew up some seriously strong black sweet tea and chill overnight. Serve with rum, lime, and club soda for a rousing and refreshing a.m. sip.

19 of 19

Celery Tonic

Celery Tonic
Andy Lyons

Celery might not sound like the sexiest ingredient for brunch cocktail recipes, but celery juice is another matter entirely! When combined with simple syrup, it makes a fascinatingly bright, fresh, and sweet foil to gin and lime.

Test Kitchen Tip: Though we love electric juicers, you don't need one to juice the celery. A food processor and some cheesecloth will do.

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