Good Taste: Brunch is so gay

What brunch is complete without cocktails?

Leah Houghtaling and Amelia Sauter are partners who also co-own Felicia’s Atomic Loungein Ithaca, NY. (You can read their meet-cute story in Amelia’s essay in Dear John, I Love Jane.) Leah mixes up all sorts of wild concoctions, based on her own epiphanies and the desire to use local and organic ingredients. Amelia governs the front of the house and writes the Felicia’s Speakeasy blog.


Substitutions for Teetotalers: I am aware that a lot of people have given up the sauce, or just don’t like it. My slightly lushy self wholeheartedly salutes you. In order to make these cocktails into mocktails, substitute club soda or tonic water for the champagne, depending on your preference. As for the bourbon, you can substitute a dash of non-alcoholic vanilla extract.

In order of easy to labor-intensive:

Mango-Orange Mimosa

1 part mango juice
1 part orange juice
2 parts champagne or sparkling wine

Pour the juices into your glass, and swirl it around. Tilt the glass and slowly add the bubbly. Stir gently.

Pomegranate Bubbly

1/8 ounce sweetened lime juice
1/2 ounce Pomegranate juice
5 oz. champagne or sparkling wine
orange twist

Pour the lime juice and pomegranate juice into a glass. Tilt the glass and slowly add the bubbly. Stir gently. Add the orange twist.

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail for Two

6 oz brut champagne or sparkling wine
½ oz Knob Creek bourbon
1/8 ounce sweetened lime juice (Don’t use Rose’s! Click here for our own sweet lime juice recipe)
1 pomegranate
2 champagne glasses

Pour ¼ ounce of bourbon and a dash of sweet lime juice into each glass. Cut pomegranate into eighths. Remove the seeds from one eighth and divide them between the two glasses. Remove the seeds from another eighth and smash them with the back of a spoon before dividing them between the two glasses. Pour 3 ounces of champagne into each glass.

Spiced Beet Bubbly

750 ml bottle of champagne, sparkling wine or sparkling cider
20 ounces fresh beets (2 large)
20 ounces water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/8 tsp cinnamon (1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 pinch of mace

Roast beets:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pierce beets six or eight times with a fork or knife and wrap in aluminum foil. Place foil-covered beets on baking sheet in center of oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and allow beets to cool fully in the foil.

Spiced beet syrup:

Unwrap beets and shred with food processor. Place shredded beets in sauce pan, including all of the juice. Add enough water to cover beets (about 20 ounces of water). Cook uncovered over medium heat for 15 minutes. Do not boil. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, cayenne and mace. Simmer uncovered over low heat for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool fully.

To make cocktail:

3 ounces champagne, sparkling wine or sparkling cider
2 1/2 tablespoons spiced beet syrup
twist of orange peel

Pour sparkling wine into a champagne flute. Slooooowly add spiced beet syrup. Garnish with orange twist. Serves 8. Beet syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

“Ridiculously fabulous but a little labor-intensive,” Amelia forewarns us, “The Spiced Beet Bubbly is shamelessly loved by beet whores and non-beet whores alike.” (I have to try this out, because beets are one of the very few things that I don’t like. Could it be that Leah has created a way for me to enjoy them?)

Enjoy the recipes, endure the holidays, and don’t forget to leave a comment below to enter the Kitchentop Catering brownie giveaway. Until next week.


Candace is the co-editor of Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press, 2010), and Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On (Seal Press, 2009). She is currently working on a memoir-with-recipes for Seal Press called Licking the Spoon. Candace is also the features editor at Mothering magazine, mama of two, and enamorata of smarty-pants Laura, her live-in recipe tester. Follow Candace on Twitter @candacewalsh.

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