Brunching and boozing is more than just the free flow sparkling or Champagne at your local buffet. We can also, if we desire, move beyond the ubiquitous Bloody Mary, and dare I say, spice things up a bit differently. As I often strive to do here, I think that localizing your beverage is always a good idea. This is often achieved with a simple change of ingredient, or riffing off of a traditional flavor to create something that is new to you.

Making the Most of the Mimosa
The easiest way to move beyond the sparkler is to simply add some juice or flavored syrup. The common Mimosa (orange juice and sparkling wine) is transformed into something tropically delicious by simply subbing in some cheap and plentiful passion fruit juice (strain the seeds if feeling fancy, or leave them in for a more rustic rendition).

Every Bellini, Fuzzy and Hairy
The beautiful Bellini has its roots in a Venetian expat bar, where the proprietor made up his own mimosa by combining the local Prosecco sparkling with seasonal peach puree.  This deviancy leads to the addition of some peach schnapps (The Fuzzy Navel), and eventually a bit of vodka (The Hairy Navel) completing the concoction’s evolution.  Feel free to swap out the flavors for something similar.  I like to build my own Fuzzy-type drink using bitter Campari and sour Cranberry juice with off sweet sparkler. After all, ‘tis the season…

Pimp Your Bloody
If you’re feeling bored with your bloody, try something new. In most of our local import markets you’ll find Clamato (a mixture of tomato and clam juices) which is how our Canadian friends dig it, calling it a ‘Bloody Caesar.  Subtle changes count too. Try some wasabi and soy sauce in addition to the tomato juice for a new fangled taste sensation.

The Eggs Have It
I’d be derelict in my duty if I didn’t mention my personal holiday treat – Eggnog. Milk, eggs, vanilla (try it with a real bean), cinnamon and nutmeg blend up into a frothy godliness that is complemented by cognac or a shot of aged rum.  Since I don’t really do the raw egg thing, I’ve salmonella proofed my Dad’s recipe by creating a custard by heating the milk, spice and egg mixture together, chilling, and blending before adding the booze. See you on Sunday?

Cheers!

Michael Kloster spent a lifetime drinking, pouring and brewing to research this column. He has been involved in the hospitality industry for the better part of two decades, nearly half of that time in our very own Ho Chi Minh City. Feel free to invite him out for a few: klosterclassico@gmail.com