The Most Popular Brunch Cocktail Isn't What You'd Expect

Brunch has become exponentially popular in the United States in recent years, with TV networks, magazines, and restaurant news sites weighing in with their own annual lists of the top brunch spots across the nation. In the early days of the U.S. brunch scene in the 1920s, alcohol wasn't always featured as prominently with your meal as it is now, although these were the days of Prohibition and speakeasies. Who knew the history of brunch went back so far?

Times and attitudes have changed over the years, and now you can't go to a restaurant serving brunch that doesn't also sell alcoholic drinks and promote day drinking specials to pair with your chicken and waffles or omelets. In fact, The Loupe even recently released a list of the most popular brunch cocktails in every state.

Of course, there are two cocktail staples of the brunch scene with which nearly everyone is at least vaguely familiar. They include mimosas — a mix of champagne and orange juice, though some are mixing up this classic drink with other fruit juices in the contemporary brunch scene — and the Bloody Mary, a concoction typically made of some variation of tomato juice, vodka, Tabasco, lemon juice, celery salt, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce that is then garnished with veggies. But the most popular brunch cocktail outshining all others on Shane Co.'s list ultimately isn't what you might expect.

The Cinderella story of an unlikely brunch cocktail champion

Surprisingly, neither mimosas nor Bloody Marys took first place overall in the brunch cocktail category. Instead, the title of most popular brunch cocktail went to the common screwdriver, a simple mixed drink of orange juice and vodka.

The Loupe's methodology for the list involved a Google Trends volume search analyzing 39 search terms examining the most popular brunch cocktail over the past five years in all 50 states. The data revealed that the screwdriver ranked as the most popular brunch cocktail overall in 14 states, winning more states by far than any other adult beverage. Most states where the screwdriver won were located in the South, Midwest, and Southwest regions of the U.S.

Mimosas managed a three-way tie along with sex on the beach and tequila sunrise for being ranked as the most popular cocktail in the second-highest amount of states at four. Bloody Marys only came out on top in Wisconsin. Maybe it's all the breweries there that make Bloody Marys the go-to cocktail of Wisconsinites since the libation is often viewed as a hair of the dog hangover remedy.

But the undisputed brunch cocktail champion belt belongs to the mighty screwdriver, for punching well above its weight class. This cocktail originates from the Persian Gulf, per Make Me a Cocktail, where vodka was combined with orange juice while oil workers were on the clock. Now, it's popular everywhere. Perhaps a second thought for the screwdriver might be necessary before ordering another mimosa!