Dock in the morning
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8 drinks that will make your morning on the dock even better

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One of the greatest summertime pleasures is sitting dockside in the early morning hours, before the lake gets busy and the sun gets high in the sky. Anyone who’s wandered down to the water’s edge while the rest of the lake is asleep knows what a perfect moment it really is.

Well, almost perfect. How to make it better? With a drink in hand, of course! Time stands still when you’re at the cottage, so there’s no rule you have to wait until noon—and we’ve got a list of the best cocktails for a morning spent lounging on the dock.

(Just remember to take it easy. A single cocktail with breakfast is fine, but too many and you risk ending up with a hangover by midday.)



Photo by Jeff Wasserman/

Canada’s classic cocktail is the (tastier) sister to the Bloody Mary. Instead of the tomato juice preferred by Americans, here in the North we opt for Clamato juice—a blend of tomatoes, spices, and clam broth that sounds gross to the uninitiated, but is a refreshing favourite to those in the know.

Why it’s a morning favourite: It’s got tomatoes and celery (and a lime or cucumber or pickled bean or whatever your choice of garnish is), so you could argue it’s your fruit and vegetable intake for the morning. It’s also got some kick—throw in a heap of horseradish or a few extra splashes of Tabasco, and you’ve got a beverage that will wake you up better than a cup of coffee.

How to make it:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce (depending on your preferred level of tang)
  • 1-2 dashes Tabasco sauce (or your hot sauce of choice)
  • 4 oz Mott’s Clamato Original Cocktail

Rim glass with celery salt and add a celery stick and lime wedge as garnish.



If beer is your preference over sparkling wine, this so-called “hillbilly mimosa” may be more your speed. Just as refreshing as its Champagne counterpart, the beermosa takes that cottage staple and turns it into a brunch-worthy cocktail.

Why it’s a morning favourite: Yes, beer really can be for breakfast, thanks to a hit of citrus. With beer’s lower alcohol content than hard liquor, this drink is light enough that you may even be able to have a couple before noon.

How to make it:

  • 8 oz beer (opt for a white IPA, citrus saison, or another light, fruity beer)
  • 4 oz orange juice

Serve in chilled glass garnished with an orange wedge.



Photo by Lilyana Vynogradova/

The preferred beverage of brunch-goers everywhere, the mimosa gives your morning a bit of upscale pizazz. Pop open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine (or use up leftovers from last night) and mix with your fruit juice of choice—orange is the most popular, but pineapple, cranberry, and grapefruit are also good options.

Why it’s a morning favourite: Again, you’ve got your morning dose of fruit, just kicked up with some boozy bubbles, of course. But, most importantly, it’s light, crisp, and refreshing—and pairs perfectly with a side of bacon and eggs.

How to make it:

  • 2 oz Champagne, Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine
  • 2 oz orange juice or other fruit juice
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier or Triple Sec (optional)

Serve in champagne flute and garnish with a strawberry or orange peel.



The Screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) tends to get most of the attention when it comes to citrus cocktails, but the Greyhound has just a bit more oomph—and, I would argue, grapefruit actually pairs better with alcohol. It’s also a truly classic cocktail, reminiscent of the Mad Men era (just without the cigarettes).

Why it’s a morning favourite: Admittedly, not everyone loves grapefruit juice, but if you’re a fan of the tart taste, this is a pucker-perfect switch from your regular morning OJ.

How to make it:

  • 2 oz vodka or gin
  • 5 oz pink grapefruit juice

Serve over ice and garnish with a rosemary sprig.


Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee
Photo by Christopher Elwell/

Arguably the most famous of the coffee cocktails, Irish coffee really did get its start in Ireland. There are many versions of its origins, the most common of which is that it was first served by a chef in County Limerick to a group of American tourists who needed some warming up on a cold, winter evening. An alternate option to the recipe below is to just mix an ounce of Irish cream, such as Baileys, with black coffee.

Why it’s a morning favourite: Coffee is, of course, the most popular of breakfast beverages, but who says you have to keep it to the same old double-double when you’re dockside? Take advantage of being far, far away from your morning commute with the vacation version of a morning joe.

How to make it: 

  • 6 oz black coffee
  • 1 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1 tsp sugar
  •  thick cream

Mix the coffee, whisky and sugar in a tall glass mug until the sugar has dissolved. Carefully pour the cream over the back of a spoon held just above the coffee’s surface. The cream should float atop the coffee without mixing—don’t stir, just sip through the cream.


Carajillo (Spanish Coffee)

If whiskey isn’t your alcohol of choice, maybe brandy will do the trick. Much like its Irish sister, this cocktail has an uncertain history, some sourcing it back to Spanish troops during the occupation of Cuba, while others say it was created in Barcelona. Either way, it’s guaranteed to warm your insides on a cool morning.

Why it’s a morning favourite: See above.

How to make it:

  • 6 oz black coffee
  • 1 oz brandy
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau

Rim a tall glass mug with sugar and garnish with a lemon wedge and cinnamon stick.



Photo by Evgeny Karandaev/

There are as many variations on sangria as there are cottages in the Muskokas, but they all have one thing in common: wine and a whole lot of fruit. This cocktail is most easily made as a pitcher rather than by the glass, so save it for when your cottage is full of guests on a long weekend.

Why it’s a morning favourite: Sangria is basically fruit salad in a glass—you’re getting your morning dose of vitamins, right? And while traditionally, it’s more of an afternoon drink, sangria also makes a nice late-morning alternate for when you’ve had enough mimosas.

How to make it:

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 4 cups ginger ale or club soda
  • Splash of orange juice or lemonade
  • 2 oz triple sec or brandy (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 orange cut into wedges

Mix it all together and, in addition to the lemon and orange, toss in whatever other fruit you like, from berries to apple slices to chunks of mango. Experiment with a different fruit combination every time!


Blueberry Tea

Perfect for a chilly morning on the lake, this “blueberry” tea really doesn’t have any blueberries at all. Rather, it’s a mix of orange and almond flavours that, when combined, bring out a taste similar to blueberries.

Why it’s a morning favourite: On those days when the weather is cooler, this take on tea will warm your insides. Grab a blanket and get cozy as you watch the mist start to burn off the water.

How to make it:

  • 1 oz Amaretto
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • 4 oz orange pekoe tea

Serve in a snifter glass.