Perhaps the pinnacle of classic brunch cocktails, the mimosa is a one of the simplest and well-known alcoholic drinks known worldwide and consists of two basic ingredients: orange juice with champagne.
Now, how much orange juice you use is up to you– some people like half-and-half to cut down the alcohol intake, and some swear by just a splash of juice. The perfect ratio is really whatever you want it to be.
Whatever your preference, grab your champagne flutes (or wine glasses if you’re really going for it), and let’s make a Mimosa cocktail!
BRIEF MIMOSA HISTORY
I mean, at this point, is brunch without Mimosas even really brunch? But how exactly did this simple recipe become the poster cocktail for a lazy weekend morning and the ultimate brunch drink?
The traditional Mimosa as we know it was initially called the Bucks Fizz, supposedly created in 1921 and named after the Bucks Club in London where it originated. In 1925, the Ritz Hotel in Paris had a strikingly similar cocktail on their menu called the Mimosa. So what’s the difference?
Bucks Fizz: 1 part orange juice, 2 parts champagne
Mimosa: 2 parts orange juice, 1 part champagne OR 50/50 ratio
So when you’re drinking a stronger Mimosa with “just a splash of orange juice,” you’re actually having a Bucks Fizz (or at least something closer to it). Fun fact!
However, this cocktail may date back further, enjoyed in France under the name “Champagne-Orange” for years before it appeared as the Bucks Fizz. And as for just how it became so popular in the U.S. as a brunch cocktail… That is also up for debate. The stories range from the Mimosa being created in San Francisco by Alfred Hitchcock of all people in 1940 to it being made popular by the famed director in the 60s because of a 1966 article mentioned that he drank them.
Other story claims the royal family is to blame for the Mimosa’s growing popularity in the 1960s, being referenced in a 1961 article in the Sydney Morning Herald that mentioned the Queen Mother loved Mimosas. There are plenty of other articles around that time that mention other celebrities and public figures enjoying Mimosas, so it’s at least safe to say that this simple cocktail was becoming popular with people that the general public looked up to, causing it to become a symbol of class.
Whatever the real reason (and honestly, it’s probably a combination of reasons!) for the Mimosa becoming so popular, it’s still considered a fancy drink, one worthy of both special occasions and a Sunday morning out with friends. This is the perfect drink to add a touch of elegance to special occasions of all sorts: baby showers, Mother’s Day, summer parties, wedding showers, or birthday parties. No matter the event, this fabulous drink is a classic choice and therefore a pretty safe bet.
When possible, use fresh fruit juice– although it’s certainly common to just grab a carton of orange juice. But if you can, hand-squeezing fresh oranges (or your fruit of choice) before brunch is always a bonus.
Also, we are partial to pulp-free orange juice for a silky-smooth, refreshing Mimosa.
As for the champagne for Mimosas, that is also your choice. Because you’re going to mix it with juice, it doesn’t have to be super high-quality wine, but you also don’t want to give yourself a sore throat and a hangover midday by grabbing the cheapest bottle, either. (You know we’ve all had a cheap Mimosa at a restaurant that did not make us feel well after.)
Today, Chris is using a dry sparkling wine for this delicious drink, but it all depends on how sweet you like your champagne. Grab a bottle of champagne Brut or dry Prosecco if that tickles your fancy; your favorite bubbly will be perfect for this light cocktail.
You could even make a non-alcoholic version with spirit-free bubbly wine.
But pro tip: Use cold ingredients!
HOW TO MAKE A MIMOSA
This drink is ridiculously easy to make– watch the video to see Chris compared the Mimosa to the Bucks Fizz, and notice how he doesn’t even measure the ingredients. It’s really just an “eyeball” situation here!
While basic Mimosas with orange juice and champagne are quite the classic combo, it’s really easy to customize this two-part Mimosa cocktail. Obviously, you can adjust the ratio & balance based on your personal preferences and make a Bucks Fizz instead. But the way to really change up this cocktail is by switching out one or both of the ingredients. Here are the most popular flavor combinations if you’re not feeling citrus juice:
- Pomegranate Mimosa with pomegranate juice (my personal favorite)
- Cranberry Mimosa with cranberry juice (tart against the sparkling wine)
- Blood orange juice Mimosa (a riff on the classic recipe)
- Pineapple juice Mimosa
- POG (Passion fruit, orange, and guava juice– a popular Hawaiian drink) for a Hawaiian Mimosa
- Chambord, a raspberry liqueur for a cocktail sometimes referred to as Raspberry Royale or Kir Royale
- Apple cider Mimosa, garnished with a slice of apple
- Add sorbet! Either add it to the existing juice or replace the juice completely.
But really, you can always choose your favorite juice; another popular option is grapefruit juice, for example, which personally is my least favorite because I don’t think it plays off the champagne quite right– but that’s just me.
OK, so grab your bottle of bubbly and some delicious juice, and let’s make a classic brunch Mimosa– and let us know in the comments which version of this bubbly cocktail you enjoy most.
- Chilled Orange Juice
- Chilled Champagne
- Pour champagne into your champagne flute.
- Pour orange juice on top to to add as much orange flavor as you desire.
- If you'd like, you can stir with a bar spoon (optional).
- Traditionally served without garnish, but you can add an orange wedge (optional).