On a regular morning, thoughts of a mimosa never cross my mind. It is a beverage I associate with special-occasion brunches and vacations.
Mimosa. Even the name sounds lovely and is fun to say. “Mee-mow-saa.” I used to wonder how this cocktail got its name. Apparently, because of the color and texture of the beverage, it was named after the puffy yellow or orange flowers of the tropical mimosa tree (acacia dealbata), which grows in Australia and the southern hemisphere.
When we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was told a tree in our backyard was a mimosa tree – but the silky, spiky, billowy flowers it produced were pink. This was confusing to me, until I learned that my tree was apparently a mimosa or silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) – different from the species the mimosa cocktail is named after. The albizia julibrissin was introduced in the southern United States from China in the late 1770’s. It is so prolific there it is now considered an invasive species.
The mimosa cocktail is thought to have first been made in the 1920’s, at the Paris Ritz. A very similar cocktail, but with the addition of grenadine, originated about the same time in England however and was named Buck’s Fizz. There is some speculation as to who came up with the original idea first.
A mimosa is typically made with equal amounts of sparkling wine and orange juice, or two parts sparkling wine and one part orange juice. Champagne, Cava or Prosecca are all good choices, and it is best to use fresh squeezed orange juice if you can get it. A non- alcoholic version can be prepared using sparking cider or sparkling water such as Pellegrino. Mimosas should be served chilled and without ice, in a tall, fluted champagne glass (or whatever glassware available that most closely resembles this!) The fizzy liquid should be added to the glass before the juice. It is easy to consume a Mimosa as quickly as drinking plain orange juice, but the alcoholic content can be potent, so one should drink with caution!
Apparently, if you substitute cranberry juice for orange juice, the “mimosa” becomes a “poinsettia”. Perhaps I will try this next Christmas morning. My preference, though, would be a mimosa cocktail under a warm and sunny sky, with mimosa flowers (pink or yellow), and a palm tree or two nearby!