By Stephanie Arsenault, Dan Clapson, Laura Lushington, Diana Ng
Calgary seems to have an insatiable appetite for many things food-related, but perhaps most insatiable of all, would likely be our cravings for brunch. With a brunch culture alive and thriving as well as it does here, it’s only natural that refreshing drinks can be flowing in the morning. Who needs the “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” mentality anyway on a weekend morning?
Run through these questions to find out what your preferred pre-noon poison is to go along with that plate of eggs!
I think a great time of day to have a drink is…
a) anytime really. Just as long as it’s not too strong.
b) in the late morning when I have the day off.
c) after lunch when I want to treat myself.
The odds of me being a little hungover on a Sunday morning are…
a) not likely, I’m not as wild as I used to be!
b) quite likely. I’ll need some sort of cure stat!
c) probably 50/50.
You’re most likely to find me having brunch at…
b) a pub.
c) my favourite brunch restaurant.
I believe the caesar was invented for…
a) people who need to get their heads examined.
b) me and my friends, mostly.
c) a Canadian alternative to the Bloody Mary.
My preferred non-alcoholic beverage with breakfast is usually…
a) orange juice.
c) something caffeinated to help wake me up!
When it’s time to order food, I like to have…
a) breakfast burger all the way!
b) something deep-fried, drenched in hollandaise.
c) a perfectly prepared eggs benedict.
Regardless of what time it is, I like drinks that…
a) are refreshing and not overly sweet.
b) come with some sort of edible garnish.
c) make me feel a little classier than I was acting last night.
The amount of time I’ll allot for a breakfast or brunch date is…
a) More than a few hours. It’s the weekend, I want to relax with friends.
b) 1½ hours. My couch is calling my name.
c) 2 hours. This restaurant is busy, so I don’t think they’d like it if we stayed longer!
A pint of beer (mostly As)
Sure, a nice glass of beer is perfect when enjoyed with friends at a pub, on a patio on a sunny day, or simply at home on a relaxing evening; but what about at brunch? Swap out your usual mimosa or cup of coffee for a pint next time you’re out for brunch – you’ll be surprised just how well it works.
For your classic breakfast, opt for a nice wheat beer. The mild flavours of wheat beers go extremely well with the simplicity of bacon or ham, runny fried eggs, and toast.
Coffee porters or stouts however, perfectly pair with sweeter dishes like chocolate chip pancakes, maple syrup-covered Belgian waffles, and decadent pastries.
Next up: the bready, fruity, and citrusy flavours of a Hefeweizen make for a no-brainer brunch beer. Hefs go well with spicier items like huevos rancheros, or just about anything else on the menu. Essentially, it’s the mimosa of the beer world.
Lastly, if you opt for a burger or other not-so-brunch item, grab a pint of whatever brew you want. After all, it’s the weekend; it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Good brunch and beer spots:
The Ship & Anchor, WURST Restaurant & Beer Hall, Midtown Kitchen & Bar
Caesar (mostly Bs)
Any self-respecting Calgarian will tell you that a caesar is the ultimate morning drink. You probably just woke up a little while ago, you’re a little tired and a little lot hungry and waiting those 20-25 minutes for your plate of food to show up – regardless of whether you’re at a contemporary restaurant or that neighbourhood pub around the corner – would be so much more painful without that caesar in front of you with some garnish to nibble on.
It’s no secret that this drink was invented in this very city back in 1969 and ever since then, it’s been destined to be in attendance at your weekend brunches. The garnishes can vary from a simple pickled bean (always appreciated) or pickle, to more substantial combinations like olive, cheese and pepperoni, but the salty, tomato-y base usually stays the same.
Make it spicier with more tabasco, hot sauce or even some sriracha if you’re feeling extra crazy. Variety might be the spice of life, but a good blend of spices truly makes this classic Calgary cocktail come to life.
Great spots for caesars:
The Pig and Duke, Local on 8th Avenue, Mission Diner
Specialty Coffee (mostly Cs)
Baileys Irish Cream does have its peak season over the holiday season, but coffee is a year-round beverage that most people sip on in the morning. If you are planning on having a coffee along with breakfast or brunch anyway, there’s no harm in skipping that caesar (no offense, caesars!) or mimosa and just boozing up the drink instead.
There are so many liqueurs that go well with coffee and most breakfast spots also have well-stocked bars these days, so adding some zing to your cup of joe shouldn’t really be a problem, no matter where you are. Well, except if you’re at home and you don’t have a good variety of options in your own liqueur cabinet, but hey, that shame is on your shoulders. Anyway, spiced rum, kahlua or amaretto are a just a few of the examples. If you are ordering a mocha, then a shot of peppermint schnapps would fit the bill perfectly!
Now that it’s finally getting warmer out, enjoying something like a simple coffee and Baileys, but over ice instead, turns this signature combination into a suitable patio drink. Cheers!
Great spots for specialty coffees:
Higher Ground Cafe, deVille, Gravity Cafe
A mimosa (mix of As, Bs and Cs)
Orange juice is a breakfast drink, and sparkling wine is an evening drink, so naturally, brunch calls for a mix of the two, right? OK, so maybe the origins of the mimosa aren’t this formulaic, but the easy-going drink is certainly perfect for adding a touch of extravagance to the day.
Believed to have been a variation of the Buck’s Fizz, and created in Hôtel Ritz Paris in the 1920s, this cocktail of equal parts orange juice and champagne is a happy medium for those times when you want a celebratory drink, but nothing that will catch you off guard with its potency. Unlike the Caesar, the OJ in a mimosa is a familiar and refreshing way to start the day, and the bubbly takes the ordinary to special.
Champagne is excellent with eggs, mushrooms, cream sauces, cheese and seafood, so it’s no wonder that the combination of that and fruit juice pairs well with brunch dishes like eggs Benny (maybe even with crab cakes) and quiche.
Almost every brunch spot will have mimosas on the menu, and most bartenders can easily whip one up if it isn’t listed.
Great spots for mimosas:
Yellow Door Bistro, The Lake House, Carino