There’s nothing wrong with documenting the hunt for odd ingredients or describing exploits in the glass. We’ve waxed poetic about Italian bitters, extolled the virtues of herbal liqueurs, and even promoted the benefits of exotic rum. And while we may not inspire every reader to expand their liquor cabinet or cocktail repertoire, we continue to build a foundation of information that anyone can appreciate. It’s easy to get completely carried away with stuff many folks can’t find or won’t even try, so as much as we like the unusual and obscure, nothing gets us more excited than revealing details about something that is common, whether it’s mixing up delicious homemade ingredients, borrowing fresh herbs from the garden, or simply describing a delicious classic. Our pace is slow and methodical. We make no assumptions because we remember how it started—the first time we stirred a Manhattan, our first bottle of Angostura, our first vintage cocktail book—everyone starts somewhere.
So, we are here to tell you, not everyone knows about the Mimosa. In fact, it’s surprising how often we talk to people who are unfamiliar with this simple drink. Some may have heard the name but were too embarrassed to ask for the recipe, and others just never considered cocktails in the morning. Whatever the circumstance, we’ve met family and friends, young and old who had no idea what goes into a Mimosa. And why should they? Unless they’ve tried one or watched someone make it, there’s a chance of going through life completely missing the opportunity. It occurred to us that our readers may not know about the Mimosa either, so let's change that for everyone right now:
2 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
4 oz champagne (sparkling wine)
Add the chilled orange juice to a flute and top with chilled champagne.
First of all, it’s a champagne cocktail. That can be enough for some people to miss this drink because it’s not something they might find at their neighborhood watering hole. It’s also made with orange juice so it is typically served in the morning—not the most popular time of the day to go to the bar. But it does appear occasionally on breakfast menus. For whatever reason though, champagne in the morning conjures up images of elegant brunches, gloved waiters and white tablecloths. Sure, you can find the Mimosa at such places, but to think that’s the only opportunity you’ll have to try this drink is just nonsense. We confirmed this the moment we spotted it on the menu at Charlie’s Cafe in Norfolk, Virginia.
Charlie’s is a fun little breakfast joint in the Ghent neighborhood that you’d never expect to serve a champagne cocktail. But there it was, right next to Mom’s “KO” Challenge. The KO stands for Killer Omelet. It’s free of charge if you can eat it all in one sitting. You’ll also get a free T-Shirt, but it's not easy since you only have an hour to devour the “everything” omelet made with 12 eggs and topped with 8 pancakes and habeñero salsa. You get the idea. It’s that kind of place. And if you order the Mimosa, it won’t come in a wine glass. They don’t have champagne flutes. It’s a huge drink served on the rocks in a chilled mason jar. Charlie’s taught us to forget everything we thought we knew about pretentious bubbly. All you need is sparkling wine and ice-cold fresh orange juice—nothing else matters.
You can be a stickler for proportions or just go by taste when you make one of these. It’s up to you. It’s fun to drink out of goblets, so if you want to be fancy, nobody will stop you. Or, just serve it on the rocks like Charlie’s—you won’t hear anyone complaining. I suppose your favorite breakfast nook might need a license to serve wine products, but the Mimosa is so simple and delicious, it’s a wonder you don’t see this drink more often.