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Summer Swill: Drunk Brunch

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I dream about it all winter, as my Brown Line halts and screeches through a December morning or I hunch my shoulders against a February night. One day—maybe not soon, but inevitably—the city will thaw, the birds will return, and we will have Drunk Brunch again.

When I moved to the city two years ago I had something to prove. I was newly twenty-three, working at a comic-book store, and I wanted to be treated like an adult. This was the inspiration for the inaugural Drunk Brunch, the apartment-warming party I threw in June 2012 with my roommate Paige. This was the perfect chance to show everyone our Albany Park apartment with its sloped floors and chipping paint, its front sun porch AND open back deck. Most importantly, it belonged to me, as long as I paid my rent.

I daydreamed my presenting life like a Martha Stewart magazine spread, a chance to flaunt my skill at assembling a strata. We would emerge from a life of undergrad immaturity, inheriting this new world of city sophistication. Twenty minutes into the party, I shotgunned a PBR on the back porch.


On the long list of things I love, three things hover near the top: cut-off shorts, breakfast sausage and drinking while the sun still shines. The perfect Chicago summer revolves around day drinking and porch sitting. There’s a fine art to day drinking, the sort of shameless, joyous surrender that accompanies admitting that no, you’re not going to go to the grocery store or do your laundry today. You are going to sit right here on your sun porch and drink cheap beer until you run out. The only errand you will run is to Foremost for a case of Lime-a-ritas.

It’s easy to throw your own Drunk Brunch. Make a middle-class strata, which is just a layer of white bread, a layer of Jimmy Dean sausage, a layer of raw scrambled eggs and a whole bag of shredded cheddar. (Make sure you also bake this.) Invite everyone you know. Tell them to bring pancakes or bacon or maybe just booze. (Definitely booze.) This sounds like I am describing a run-of-the-mill potluck but oh, it is so much more. There’s so much to celebrate after a long Chicago winter: the blue sky, the return of summer shandies, every single leaf on every single tree.

So gather your friends in your apartment and eat hash browns. Graduate from mimosas to tequila shots as the day goes on. And maybe schedule for a Saturday, so that everyone can use Sunday to recover. (Megan Kirby)

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