If I were to offer up a round of fuzzy navels, you might feel like you’ve warped back to the world of ‘80s bartending culture—neon evenings replete with Tom Cruise tossing bottles in the air like a monkey at the zoo.
But I invite you to rethink the fuzzy navel with one simple word: brunch! Because, in essence, the fruity cocktail is just a cousin to the mimosa.
In the mid-1980s, flavored, sugary drinks became the norm for bar-goers. Bartender Ray Foley (yes, the same gent who brought us the best-selling book “Bartending for Dummies”) helped DeKuyper launch Peachtree Schnapps into history with the crowd-pleasing fuzzy navel.
“Fuzzy” refers to the fuzz found on a peach, and “navel” is a reference to the type of orange that Foley cut up to garnish his creation.
What’s In a Fuzzy Navel?
A fuzzy navel is a highball consisting of just 2 ingredients: orange juice and peach schnapps.
Schnapps (with 2 “p”s here as opposed to the German eau de vie liqueur with 1 “p”) is a sweetened liqueur that is typically low in alcohol. It has added flavors that may or may not be made with real fruit, depending on the distiller. The American-style varieties are made to be mixed into drinks and are very different from European varieties, which are often drunk by themselves—sometimes sipped, sometimes shot back in one go.
Dekuyper makes one of the most popular bottles of peach schnapps here in the US, and that may well be what’s served to you if you order this out. At home, though, you can also swap your schnapps for a crème de pêche, which infuses real peaches into the liquor for a more intensely peach-forward and less artificial flavor. I like Drillaud and Gabriel Boudier.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice makes the best fuzzy navel. With a two-ingredient cocktail, there’s nowhere for so-so ingredients to hide. If you don’t want the extra step (which is fine!), try and find freshly squeezed bottled juice at your grocery store. Not only will the flavor be fresher tasting in the glass, but it won’t have that thick, concentrated consistency that boxed OJ sometimes has. Failing that, boxed OJ works too.
An Easy Variation
If you’re looking to add a little extra punch to the drink, you can sub out half the peach schnapps with vodka and get the even less appealingly named “hairy navel”. The ‘80s really were a bizarre time for drink names.
How to Batch a Fuzzy Navel
Let’s circle back to brunch, the ultimate excuse to batch up pitchers of cocktails! If you’re asking yourself if a fuzzy navel can be served up pitcher-style for a buffet or large party, the answer is absolutely.
Simply multiply the serving size you need by the ingredients below (for example, if you want to serve 6 guests 2 drinks each for a total of 12 drinks, you will need 48 ounces of orange juice and 24 ounces of peach schnapps). Let guests fill up their own glasses and serve orange wheels on the side for garnish.
Boozy Brunch Ideas
4 ounces freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 ounces peach schnapps (or crème de pêche liqueur like Gabriel Boudier)
1 orange wheel, for garnish
Combine the ingredients:
In a highball glass filled 2/3 with ice, pour in the orange juice and the peach schnapps. Gently stir to combine.
Garnish and serve:
Garnish with the orange wheel and serve.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 29g||11%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 26g|
|Vitamin C 72mg||360%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|