At brunch, the short-lived Fifty Seven in the downtown arts district served an ingenious DIY mimosa kit: a bottle of sparkling wine on ice and a trio of glass pitchers holding chilled orange juice and peach and melon purées. That way everyone at the table could mix the light, refreshing cocktail to suit herself.
Of course, nothing's stopping you from adapting this idea for brunch at home — with or without your mother, or anyone else's.
Instead of the pricey Champagne that normally goes into a mimosa, why not make it with Prosecco, the sparkling wine from Italy's Veneto? It's readily available and moderately priced even for bottles from the top producers. Plan on spending $12 for a good bottle, up to $18 on a very good one.
For your DIY kit, you want a Prosecco that's delicious on its own. Some guests may not want to mess with their sparkling wine. In a perfect brunch world, everyone can drink her Prosecco exactly the way she likes it — straight up or mixed with the traditional sunny orange juice. Or try a nontraditional mimosa made with blood orange or tangerine juice.
Bottled stuff from the supermarket won't do your mimosa any favors. Freshly squeezed juice makes all the difference. Careful, though: While you might love the pulp in your morning juice, for a mimosa it's best to strain the juice so flecks of pulp won't coat the sides of the wine glass.
Make sure both the juice and the Prosecco are well chilled. (And put an extra bottle of bubbly on ice, just in case.) The proportion should be about 1/4 juice to 3/4 sparkling wine. Start by pouring the juice into a white wine glass or Champagne flute and add the Prosecco on top.
Some drinkers prefer to reverse the proportions, adding just a splash of bubbly to the juice. That's essentially what's known as a Buck's Fizz (two parts juice to one part sparkling). And it's obviously less alcoholic than a classic mimosa.
It's fun to set out orange, blood orange and tangerine juices and let guests mix and match.
You could even try a couple of different Proseccos. To that end, here are three recommended for this idea, most available at wine shops around town.
Sorelle Bronca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry NV ($16-$18)
Sisters Antonella and Ersiliana Bronca's Prosecco has been given the prestigious Tre Bicchieri award in Italy and anointed by Slow Wine. It's made from 100% Glera (the grape formerly known as Prosecco) grown on hillside vineyards and harvested by hand. The off-dry Prosecco, straw yellow with a light scent of pear and acacia, has a fine mousse (i.e. bubbles) and lively acidity. Delicious on its own, it also makes a terrific mimosa. P.S.: It's the same Prosecco that's poured at
Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG NV (about $15)
As far back as the 1970s, Caterino and Cinzia Sommariva began replanting their vineyards with Glera, the grape that gives the highest-quality Prosecco. They've added more vineyards over the years, all sustainably farmed and hand-harvested. Many of them are hillside vineyards in an area known as Palazzo Rosso ("red palace") for its russet-colored iron- and mineral-rich soil. It's a very pale gold, with floral and stone fruit notes, crisp and refreshing. Great summer drinking. (Available at Domaine LA, John & Pete's, Lincoln Fine Wines, Los Angeles Wine Co., Mission Wines, Monopole Wine, Silver Lake Wine and the Wine Country.)
Zardetto Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut NV ($13-$16)
Zardetto was one of the first Prosecco producers to enter the U.S. market, so it's more widely available than most. That green bottle with Prosecco or a large Z spelled out in gold is instantly recognizable. A good choice for a mimosa because its creamy texture and bright flavors of orange, peaches and spices will be right at home with the freshly squeezed juices. Consider the Zardetto Brut Private Cuvee too for a few dollars less, a great basic Prosecco. Available at most Total Wine & More shops and a number of local wine shops.