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What is a Mimosa?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A mimosa is a cocktail frequently served at brunch and formal breakfasts, such as those held on the morning of a wedding. These drinks are also sometimes served in fancy hotels and in the first class section of aircraft. One contains orange juice and champagne, usually in a one-to-three ratio, and is served in a chilled champagne flute. When Grand Marnier is added, the drink is known as a Grand Mimosa.

The origins of this drink are somewhat murky. Allegedly, it was invented at the Paris Ritz in 1925, although it bears a striking similarity to another cocktail, the Buck's Fizz, which was introduced in England in 1921 and named after the club in which is was first served. The Buck's Fizz is also traditionally made with champagne and orange juice, although grenadine is sometimes added as well. The name introduced in 1925 comes from the flowers of the mimosa plant, which are yellow and appear slightly frothy from a distance. In Britain, the mixture of orange juice and champagne is still referred to as a Buck's Fizz, while the other name is used in the United States and in most of Europe.

While most bartenders agree that the mimosa should be served in a chilled champagne flute, the exact proportions of the drink are often debated. Some recipes call for a measurement of three parts champagne to one part orange juice, while others prefer a half and half ratio. Both ingredients should be chilled, and some bartenders also serve the drink over ice. Others hotly contest the use of ice, arguing that it dilutes the drink unfavorably. Mimosas are usually served without a garnish, although a twist of orange peel might be considered appropriate.

While a mimosa is traditionally served with champagne, sparkling wines can also be used. For guests who do not wish to consume alcohol, sparkling waters such as Perrier are also acceptable, although a bartender may wish to use coded glasses so that inadvertent consumption of the wrong drink is avoided. In either case, the drink should still be served in a champagne flute so that the bubbles will last longer.

As is the case with all alcoholic beverages, these drinks should be consumed responsibly. Champagne in particular is notorious for its effects, even in small amounts. When these cocktails are consumed on an aircraft, it is especially important for the consumer to drink lots of water so that the dehydrating effect of the alcohol will be reduced. If drinking at a party or social event, drinkers should plan on staying on site until they are sober or use a designated driver.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By FirstViolin — On Jul 24, 2010

@closerfan12 -- I find it's a matter of opinion, since whatever juice you're using is going to change the taste of the champagne anyway.

The only thing I would say is to choose one that you like and that's not too expensive.

By closerfan12 — On Jul 24, 2010

Does it really matter what kind of champagne you use with a mimosa?

I can never really taste it, but I know some people swear by one brand or another.

Any opinions?

By lightning88 — On Jul 24, 2010

A fun way to mix up a traditional mimosa recipe is to use another type of fruit juice.

I find that cranberry, pomegranate, and even grapefruit juice can be really good.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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