Brunch is a most pleasurable time. In some places, it can begin as early as 9:00 in the morning and end as late as 4:00 in the afternoon, solving the question of what to eat in one extensive, relaxing meal. Brunch can be light or heavy, centered around seafood, waffles or even roasted meats. There are really no hard-and-fast rules about it. Like sake, anything goes as long as it makes your taste buds happy!\nAs flexible as the brunch hour is, I like to adhere to these three personal requirements:\n#1. Brunch should always include eggs; over-easy, whipped, poached, whichever you prefer, it should be present on your plate, or it won’t fulfill the breakfast component of the meal.\n#2. Brunch only with people you adore; anything short of adoration might reduce the otherwise pleasurable experience to a dry, unappetizing lunch.\n#3. Brunch should be accompanied by an alcoholic beverage, consumed responsibly but enthusiastically, as a reward for the hard work you’ve put into the previous week and in anticipation for the week ahead!\nRecently, I wanted to celebrate the unofficial start of summer with a brunch for two at home. How refreshing it was to dine on our deck where we could enjoy the fresh air, bright weather and admire the flowers in our yard. We even picked out some blooms for our tabletop.\n\nFor a change of scenery, recreate the ambiance for brunch at home in your backyard. Photo by @nikionthetee.\n\nOur spread was simple but delicious: a New York-style bagel with salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, red onion and capers, roasted potatoes, cocktail shrimp and eggs. We wanted to indulge a bit but didn’t want anything too heavy so we thought sparkling sake would be perfect. We decided to go with two different styles so we could compare, and selected Fukucho “Seaside” for our main meal and Shirakabegura “Mio” for dessert.\nBecause taste is subjective and everyone’s palate is different, we experience sake in different ways. Fukucho “Seaside” reminded me of the time I lived by the water. Upon the first sip, I was taken by a salty, plum-like taste. When I let the sake sit and breathe for a few minutes, it seemed to me to be sweeter and I could actually make out the citrusy notes of lemon and lime. It complimented the shrimp and cut through the layers of my bagel, as well as the heaviness of the egg. My husband immediately liked this sake. He hasn’t been as keen on the lighter, junmai styles I’ve shared with him in the past, which have been my favorite, so I’m glad to have discovered something he likes!\n\nFukucho “Seaside” is an excellent pairing for seafood. Photo by @nikionthetee.\n\nLater, we paired Shirakabegura “Mio” with cream puffs topped with mango and chocolate syrup. It turns out that Mio’s fruity combination of pear and grape can stand on its own as a dessert. It was more than enough to satisfy my craving and I almost forgot about the cream puffs! In my opinion, Mio is best served as an aperitif (as recommended by Tippsy) because its sweet flavor will compete or overpower other desserts. Just take care to pace yourself as it’s very easy to pour more in your glass!\n\nShirakabegura “Mio” is the most popular sparkling sake in the world. Photo by @nikionthetee.\n\nWhat’s your favorite sparkling sake? How are you serving up brunch these days? Share your ideas with us @tippsysake!