With social distancing still in place and others still not comfortable with eating out, home gatherings of your “pandemic hive” still need to be fun. Cue brunch, a pre-pandemic favorite that has finally come home.
And Chef Richard Hales of Miami-based Grateful Hospitality, says that new takes on brunch cocktails and easy to prepare breakfast foods will help keep your gathering from falling flat.
“Everyone loves an excuse to indulge. It’s the grand finale of the weekend,” he says.
Prior to COVID-19, the restaurant industry was pushing the envelope, with brunch menus full of creative benedicts, global influences and intriguing flavor combinations — Hales notes that fried chicken was a sought-after brunch item at eateries throughout the country. However, home entertainers can take their brunch up a level without having to go overboard.
“Always make cheesy eggs, crispy hash browns, plenty of bacon and a stack of hot steamy waffles. Elevate the experience by infusing maple syrup with bourbon. And for dessert, get a bunch of pies. Everyone loves pie,” he says.
And, he noted, no brunch is complete without a selection of cocktails. But, says Hales, mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and spiked coffee drinks have given way to a more unique selection of adult brunch beverages, including the Moscow mule.
“Moscow mules are a popular brunch cocktail right now. They are cold, frosty and boozy,” he adds.
Moscow mules have the ability to play up a variety of flavors, from light and fruity to spicy, like clove and cinnamon tasting notes. Fresh and seasonal fruits, as well, blend nicely with the vodka and ginger beer mixture, allowing for an elevated cocktail experience or the creation of a signature brunch cocktail.
Hales also notes the key to the perfect brunch party isn’t the cookware or gadgets associated with making the meal. He says that home entertainers need to be well-versed in technique and also need to be aware of what items can be cooked and stored and for how long.
“[Home entertainers] need to give themselves time to create a nice spread. My advice would be to create a plan and know which items can be made ahead of time and held warm while other things cook. And plenty of Moscow mules for when your guests arrive never hurt,” he says.