The mimosa is just about the most virtuous cocktail we know; nothing nefarious about orange juice and the dainty effervescence of champagne. But as far as pre-noon brunch drinks go, it's not the most inventive. Enter these five adaptations that up the danger a bit.
There are dozens and dozens of champagne cocktails out there, but these maintain the delicate nature of a mimosa. You don't want something too bitter or too heavy in the morning. We like something sweet, fruity, and soft.
These days, we almost always use prosecco instead of champagne. It's cheaper, and the quality doesn't matter quite as much when you're mixing it with other ingredients. To see a list of Mary's picks for good, inexpensive prosecco, click here.
So, here are some alternatives to the classic mimosa to try out this weekend. Or on a Wednesday. We won't tell.
• 1. Grapefruit Juice and Champagne. This is a favorite in our house, a very simple twist on a mimosa- just fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice instead of orange. Use ruby red grapefruit juice for some color.
• 2. Hibiscus Mimosa (pictured above). We featured this last year for Mother's Day. It's a little more complicated, with the wild hibiscus syrup and St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, but it's beautiful. (FYI, if you don't have the hibiscus syrup, just St. Germain and champagne is nice.)
• 3. Champagne with Rhubarb Syrup. We're big fans of rhubarb syrup. It's a gorgeous raspberry-pink color, and it feels special because it's only in season for a short while (like, coming on now). Add a spoonful to the bottom of a glass, then pour in the champagne or prosecco and watch the syrup swirl up the sides. You could, of course, make any sort of fruit syrup using the same technique linked above.
• 4. Prosecco Cocktails with Red Vermouth and Blackberries, from Martha Stewart. We like the idea here of macerating the blackberries with a bit of alcohol and some sugar; you get juice that way without totally losing the integrity of the berries. We're not even sure you have to use the vermouth, if you want to make the drink milder.
• 5. French 75, from Epicurious. Another classic champagne drink. Some recipes call for cognac instead of gin. We prefer gin, plus a solid sugar cube nestled in the bottom of the glass. Stiffer than your average mimosa, but so, so good.
Any other mimosa alternatives you love?
(Image: Alfonso Arnold)