Photo courtesy of Anika Murthy
How to Build an Easy
and Impressive Brunch Menu
Having brunch in is in. The menu itself is best when it’s uncomplicated, and a bit of prep work ahead of time takes the stress level down. Brunch fare has four main categories: cocktails, coffee, savories, and sweets. Do a little something from each for a well-rounded spread. And once your guests leave (full and happy), you’ll still have the better part of the day left to keep soaking up that sweet weekend vibe.
THE BRUNCH BUNCH
The difference between brunch and a late breakfast has less to do with timing and more to do with cocktails. No need for anything fussy or more than one offering. You just want something bright and refreshing for your guests to sip on when they arrive. All these cocktails and mocktails can be made ahead in larger batches so all you have to do is stir and pour.
Lemon Verbena Lemonade
This grown-up lemonade is special because of the floral lemon verbena. It might be difficult to track down, but it is easy to grow, so consider adding it to your garden. It makes wonderful tisanes and ice creams, too.
A fun riff on the classic mimosa. You can make it work with an off-season melon by adding a little honey while blending, but a peak-season melon will make a noticeable difference.
The Pink Guzzler
Might be the most refreshing cocktail we’ve ever tried.
Bourbon Sweet Tea
Make a big batch of this spiked sweet tea in a pitcher or big Mason jars. Use your favorite tea and add a mild bourbon.
Garden Punch with Chili Salt
Your morning green juice meets a nonalcoholic margarita. The chili salt echoes the natural saltiness of the celery so nicely, and the ancho chili powder adds a deep earthy flavor to contrast with the fresh cucumber.
Homemade Bloody Mary Mix
A versatile homemade mix: Add vodka for a Bloody Mary, tequila for a Bloody Maria, or a light beer for a michelada. It’s also delicious sans alcohol.
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COFFEE AND TEA
There’s the fancy-morning-cocktail set and there’s the I-can’t-talk-to-you-until-I’ve-had-my-coffee set. Putting on a pot of coffee is easy work, but if you feel inclined to channel your inner barista, these three recipes are a good place to start.
A coffee-soda hybrid. The cardamom-date syrup adds depth and spice without being too sweet, so this is a nice midday pick-me-up option.
Rooibos Almond Latte
Rooibos is a sweet and earthy caffeine-free African red tea. For this latte, we blend the almond butter directly into the almond milk for an extremely creamy texture.
Ginger and Turmeric Latte
This recipe makes a hot latte, but it’s also a refreshing drink served over ice.
A Nice Cuppa
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We tend to lean team savory: cool and creamy avocado on crusty sourdough, cheesy eggs and salty bacon stuffed in a charred tortilla, a chive-and-parmesan-laden batter poured into a hot, greased skillet and baked to fluffy, crisp perfection.
Superpowered Avocado Toast
Avocado toast will always be a brunch favorite. This version is loaded up with mint, shaved cucumber, lemon, chili, and sea salt.
Bagels, schmear, and homemade gravlax? Yes, please. This takes a couple of days but is as easy as sprinkling salt onto a piece of fish. The grated beets give the salmon a beautiful red color.
Tex-Mex Breakfast Taco Bar
The breakfast taco bar is the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure meal. It’s great when you’re hosting a bunch of people who all have different tastes and dietary needs.
Farmers’ Market Frittata
There’s pretty much no bad combo of peak-season produce, herbs, and eggs.
Californian Grain Bowl
Topped with fresh and pickled veggies and a couple of six-minute eggs.
Chive and Parmesan Dutch Baby
This puffed and golden savory pancake cooks up quickly and requires only a few simple ingredients you likely already have on hand.
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All that said about team savory, brunch means never having to choose between savory and sweet. Enjoy your eggy masterpiece with the comfort of knowing that you’ll get to finish on a sweet note. The recipes below can all be made at least partially ahead of time.
Raspberry Chia Jam
A faux jam that’s just as delicious as the real thing—and easier to make. Spread it on toast or stir it into yogurt.
GP based these pancakes on her dad’s beloved recipe. They’re so good.
Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding
You can assemble this bread pudding the night before and bake it in the morning. Cook it in a pretty dish and carry it straight from oven to table.
Chocolate Hazelnut Scones
A delightful dunker for your coffee.
Buckwheat Banana Bread with Salty Butter
Obligatory banana bread moment.
The warm spices in this granola pair well with berries and stone fruit.