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Mimosa History

Mar 1, 2021

by:  
Lauren H.

The Mimosa is known as the classic brunch cocktail. It’s bright, springy, has some vitamin C, and allows us to drink some bubbly booze in the morning.

The history of the drink is said to be traced back to London, under a different name and different recipe. The Buck’s Fizz was created by Pat McGarry at the Buck’s Club in London in 1921. The champagne to juice ratio is much boozier in a Buck’s Fizz: two parts champagne to one part orange juice. Some of the recipe variants that made it into cocktail books of the time had a few additional ingredients, like grenadine, sugar, or gin.

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In 1925, across the English Channel, Frank Meier of the Ritz Hotel in Paris supposedly made the first Mimosa by adjusting the ratios to the classic 1:1 of champagne and orange juice. There are some questions about this origin tale, as Meier did not claim to be Mimosa’s inventor in a cocktail book he published years later.

To read more about the history (and historical variations) of the Mimosa, read Difford’s Guide article about it here.

There is a lesser-known, competing story from My Recipes, that states the roots can be traced even further back to France under the name “Champagne-orange.” However, the source citing this is from a 1959 newspaper article (the London Observer, specifically). Without easy access to the article, it’s admittedly hard to say how true this story is. (You can read My Recipes’ article here.)

There’s also the claim that Alfred Hitchcock made the drink in the 1940s. While that story has been discredited, he did bring attention and popularity to the drink, especially in the United States.

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The name “Mimosa” is said to come from the Acacia dealbata. That’s the Latin name for a plant, by the way. It also goes by the names “silver wattle” and “blue wattle.” It’s an evergreen plant that is found in southeastern Australia. Its flowers are a bright yellow that easily reminds us of our favorite orange brunch cocktail.

There are different variants of the Mimosa today. The Buzz’s Fizz remains popular for those who want a little more booze to start their day. Other fruit juices are added for fun fruity twists. The blushing Mimosa, for example, has pineapple juice and pomegranate juice to add that blushing color to the cocktail. Sunset or sunrise Mimosas (whichever name you prefer) uses grenadine to get that color gradient. (We’ve also seen some recipes that use raspberry juice instead.)

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Fruit juice and alcohol have had a long relationship, so the Mimosa also has several variations that don’t even use orange juice. Some retain the Mimosa-status despite the lack of orange juice, like grapefruit Mimosas made with grapefruit. Others are strictly cousins on the great cocktail family tree, like Bellinis.

But if you’re craving the classic Mimosa and don’t want to make it yourself, Picnic Brunch has you covered. Click here to find where you can pick up a can (or four!) of Mimosa now.


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