Hibernation Inside

It’s springtime. People are wearing pastels, smelling flowers, and cooing over the hippity-hop of cute little bunnies. Well, you know who eats bunnies? Bears.

If spring belongs to anyone, it’s bears. They just woke up from seven months of hibernation. They’re hungry, they’re thirsty, and they’ve seriously overslept. What do you do in a state like that? You go to boozy brunch.

There’s something defiant about brunch. It’s like, “I don’t care what time it is, I’m getting breakfast and booze in the middle of the day, and then I might go back to bed.” This devil-may-care mentality is typical of bears, who will steal twenty pounds of food and then pass out on a stranger’s lawn.

We know that a brown bear can eat ninety pounds in a day—which is something like twenty bunnies. What we don’t know is how much a bear can drink—but it must be a whole lot. And they apparently have a taste for beer.

Bears just might be the original brunchers. So here’s a suggestion: this spring, get your home bar ready, rally your lazy friends, and throw yourself a Bear Brunch Party.

How to Throw a Bear Brunch Party

What makes Bear Brunch different than standard brunch? Well, there are three key components to this all-day affair:

  1. Dress like total bums: pajamas, sweatpants—anything with an expanding waistband. Bears have a lot of eating and drinking to do, and absolutely no one to impress.
  2. Make this an old-fashioned house party. Naps are going to happen, and we should embrace that. Put out pillows and blankets and clear your schedule for the day.
  3. Eat and drink like grizzly bears. Snooze. Repeat.

In terms of food, it’s pretty simple. Sure, you can do bagels and lox, because we all know how bears feel about salmon. You can make berry-topped waffles, or pick up a fresh box of bear claws. At the end of the day, though, bears are foragers who will eat pretty much whatever comes out of the picnic basket.

The real draw of a Bear Brunch is the lazy day-drinking, and this is where you can get creative.

Bear Brunch Cocktails

First: Honey Syrup, Because Of Course Honey

For each of these recipes, you’ll need to make yourself some honey syrup. It’s pretty straightforward: combine two parts honey and one part water over low heat, then set aside to cool.

Try different kinds of honey: clover, orange blossom, buckwheat, wildflower—the list goes on. There’s a wide variety of floral, citrus, and even herbal flavors you can tap into, depending on what you use.

Bee’s Knees

When you ask someone for a cocktail made with honey, this Prohibition classic is usually the first thing that comes to mind. It’s bright, refreshing, and simple.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Honey syrup

Instructions:

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

  • Variations: muddle fresh ginger in the shaker, or infuse your honey with lemongrass or chamomile.

Brown Derby

The fetching pink of the grapefruit makes this little number look prettier than it sounds. A recipe hailing from sunny California, it might as well be re-named the Brown Bear.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz Honey syrup

Instructions:

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

  • Variations: try infusing your honey syrup with a cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods, or a vanilla bean.

Honeysuckle

Like a delicious Daiquiri, but even better, and approved by bears near and far. A white or aged rum can work here, depending on your mood.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Honey syrup

Instructions:

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

  • Variations: rinse the glass with a dash of absinthe or orange bitters, or infuse your honey syrup with black tea.

Lazy BearBear Brunch Beer + Wine

For the hops and grapes section of your Bear Brunch menu, there’s plenty of solid options.

In terms of beer, anything from Anderson Valley or Bear Republic is a win, simply because of the bear-centric labels (and they make some great beers, of course). You could, however, spring for a selection of honey beers. Rogue’s Honey Kolsch is made with honey from their own bee farm. Big Sky’s Summer Honey Ale features both honey in the brew and a bear on the bottle. Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is an unusual creation made with honey, saffron and grapes.

Speaking of grapes, what kind of wine should you pour at Bear Brunch? You can’t go wrong with Toasted Head and its iconic fire-breathing bear. Or choose from a variety of bear-named vineyards like Huge Bear, Bear Creek, Bear River and Bear Flag. If you’re feeling rich (and a little weird), look for Pursued by A Bear, a collaboration between Dunham Cellars and Kyle MacLachlan…AKA Agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks.

Or, you know, you could bust out some mead.

Bears: The Original Party Animals

They say that bears hibernate to avoid the cold of winter. That may be true, but I’d be willing to bet that each fall, just before they head to their caves, bears throw a honeywine rager of bacchic proportions. Months later, after they’ve slept it off, they reconvene under the warm April sunshine to reboot with Bear Brunch.

If you’re lucky, maybe a bear will swing by to join you on your lawn and share a cocktail. Just remember what we’ve learned from Potapych, the Bear Who Loved Vodka: you can take your friends to the party, but don’t let the party take your friends. Happy brunching.