A traditional mimosa is an ounce or two (depending who is pouring!) of fresh-squeezed orange juice topped with chilly Brut Champagne. Today, we're replacing those navel oranges with the brilliantly-hued juice from blood oranges. This makes a striking and delicious pitcher drink to serve at brunch this coming weekend. And, as we know, nothing makes brunch better than a fabulous cocktail.
Blood oranges, originally from Sicily, are sweet like oranges but also have a nice bitter balance and a gorgeous blood red pulp. If you can find them in your market, fresh-squeezed is preferable, but you can also substitute bottled blood orange juice. Shop carefully, though, because blood orange juice is different than blood orange soda. Blood orange soda is carbonated and may contain additional sweeteners.
And since blood oranges are not exactly an inexpensive luxury, I thought I'd balance their cost by using more economical, but equally delicious, bubbles from Italy (Prosecco!) or Spain (Cava!). Don't splash out on anything too expensive; a modest dry sparkler will do just fine.
I'm a purist when it comes to this pitcher cocktail. I don't like any added sugar or sweet liqueurs, but that's my personal preference. If you like the sweetness of bottled orange juice you may want to add a little sugar to this pitcher drink — but I truly mean a little. A tablespoon of sugar should do the trick to take the edge off any bitterness.
As a seasoned entertainer, I like to do as much in advance of my guests' arrival as possible. In this case, squeeze the oranges ahead of time and set out all the glasses, but wait to open your bottles of bubbly until the guests arrive. Any time you serve bubbly wines you want to pour them as close to serving as possible to preserve all the pop and fizz.
→ Open bubbly like a pro: How To Open a Bottle of Champagne
When your guests arrive, pop the cork, and add the entire bottle to the pitcher. All that's left to do is set the pitcher on the table and let your guests help themselves.
What is there to test, when it comes to mimosas? I confess this testing mission was something of a boondoggle, but I can report back and tell you truthfully that this is a very good mimosa. I had never thought to use blood oranges in a mimosa, but the splurge is worth it. Their flavor is a little darker, less acidic, almost savory, and for me this made such an enjoyable drink.
I also recommend the sangria version with the added orange liqueur; I tried this as well and it makes a perfectly delicious (and easy) cocktail for any time of day. — Faith, February 2015
Blood Orange Mimosa Pitcher Cocktail
10 to 12 blood oranges, juiced and strained, or 2 1/2 cups blood orange juice
1 750-ml bottle dry sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or Cava, chilled
8 to 10 pieces blood orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler and twisted, for garnish
Pour the blood orange juice into a large pitcher and keep chilled until ready to serve. Just before serving, pour in the chilled sparkling wine, and stir. Serve immediately in coupe glasses or champagne flutes with the blood orange twists for garnish.
Blood Orange Alternatives: If you can not find blood oranges to juice, you can buy organic blood orange juice and garnish using twists from regular oranges, tangerines or clementines.
Turn the Mimosa Into Sangria: You can add 1/3 cup of orange liqueur, or 1/2 cup of orange- or blood orange-flavored vodka to ease this pitcher drink from brunch into lunch (and beyond).
(Image credits: Faith Durand)