Daytime cocktails

Fresh takes on the classics

Whether it's for a large gathering of friends or just as a treat for yourself, these fresh takes on classic daytime cocktails will make the most of out of brunching at home. Experiment with favorite flavors and colors to come up with a signature cocktail all your own. A Bloody Mary – spiced tomato juice spiked with vodka and served with a celery stick garnish – lends itself happily to interpretation. Play with different seasonings, or swap out the vodka for tequila for a "Bloody Maria." The version below uses bottled beet juice to create a ruby-hued beverage with a spicy spring kick.

Mimosas are another quintessential midday tipple that are virtually limitless in variety. A 50/50 mix of sparkling wine and orange juice, they often include a splash of aromatic liqueur such as Grand Marnier or St. Germain (elderflower liqueur). Mimosas can easily be made in large batches in a pitcher or prepared individually. Either way, be sure to pour the wine in first, followed by the juice, to minimize its bubbling over. And while the wine used should be drinkable on its own, there is absolutely no need to spend more than $10 or $12 on a bottle – dry Spanish cava is a good choice. Bellinis are a similar concoction and feature a combination of white peach juice and Italian prosecco. My springtime modification of a mimosa plays up the relationship between strawberries and roses, which happen to be botanical cousins.

For those seeking a caffeinated kick, my brother's recipe for a Bourbon Covered Bridge showcases lightly sweetened cold-brew and sweet maple syrup. lt is ideal for balmy spring mornings. Those in search of stiffer libation can stir together a Coffee Old-Fashioned, a trendy offering available on many hip cocktail menus.

Bourbon Covered Bridge

Makes one drink

Recipe by Robert Glatz

1 ½ ounces bourbon

1 oz heavy cream or 2 oz whole milk

½ ounce maple syrup, to taste

8 ounces cold-brew coffee

Fill a pint glass with ice. Pour ingredients into the glass in the order listed. Stir well, then top with a dollop of softly whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon or cocoa powder.


Coffee Old-Fashioned

Makes one drink 

1 1/2 oz coffee liqueur (such as Mr. Black) 

1 1/2 oz bourbon

2-3 dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until condensation appears on the side of the glass. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.


Beet Bloody Mary

Makes 4 drinks

3 cups bottled beet juice, divided

3 stalks of celery, chopped, plus more for garnish

1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes

1 lemon

1 clove garlic

2-3 teaspoons each Worcestershire sauce and prepared horseradish, to taste

1-2 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste

1 teaspoon minced fresh dill, plus more for garnish

6 ounces chilled vodka

Roasted beet cubes and feta cubes for garnish, optional

In a blender, combine 1 cup of beet juice along with the chopped celery and cherry tomatoes. Zest half of the lemon into the blender, then slice and juice it. Add the lemon juice to the other ingredients in the blender along with the garlic, Worcestershire, horseradish and hot sauce. Blend thoroughly until very smooth, then pour through a fine meshed strainer to remove the solids. Add the remaining beet juice and chopped dill and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and spice, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least two hours and preferably overnight.

To serve, fill highball glasses with ice and pour in 1 ½ ounces of vodka each. Top with beet mixture and stir to combine. Garnish as desired and serve.

Strawberry Rosewater Mimosas

Makes 8-10 drinks 

2 quarts fresh strawberries (can also use frozen berries that have been thawed overnight in the fridge)

¼ cup sugar

2 cups orange juice

2-3 tablespoons rosewater

½ cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or triple sec, optional

One 750 ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Cava or Prosecco

Puree the strawberries, orange juice and sugar in a blender, working in batches as necessary. Pour through a fine meshed strainer to remove the solids, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. When ready to serve, add the rosewater and liqueur if using. Fill champagne flutes halfway with sparkling wine, then top with juice mixture and serve. Serve with sliced strawberries and rose petals (make sure they haven't been sprayed) if desired.

Sunrise Punch

3 cups orange juice

Makes 8-10 drinks

½ bottle well chilled peach wine (such as Lynfreds)

½ cup orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or triple sec)

1 750 ml bottle dry sparkling wine, well chilled

1 pint raspberry sorbet

Combine the juice, peach wine and liqueur in a punch bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the sparkling wine and stir briefly, then scoop the entire container of sorbet into the bowl (it will fizz up). Serve immediately.

About The Author

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer has been cooking as long as she has been walking. The daughter of beloved former Illinois Times food columnist, Julianne Glatz, Ashley offers a fresh, inspired take on her mother’s culinary legacy. Ashley studied winemaking at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand and recently achieved the...

Illinois Times has provided readers with independent journalism for more than 40 years, from news and politics to arts and culture.

Now more than ever, we’re asking for your support to continue providing our community with real news that everyone can access, free of charge.

We’re also offering a home delivery option as an added convenience for friends of the paper.

Click here to subscribe, or simply show your support for Illinois Times.

Got something to say?
Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment
  • Rochester Farmers Market

    @ Rochester Public Library

    Second Sunday of every month, 12-3 p.m. and Fourth Sunday of every month, 12-3 p.m. Continues through Oct. 9