The Intoxicologist

Friday, February 8, 2008

Champagne & Orange Juice: The Buck Starts Here

A Buck’s Fizz by any other name is what most Americans know as a Mimosa. This Sunday brunch staple may well be the most commonly known Champagne cocktail. The Buck’s Fizz or Mimosa is a simply elegant cocktail which turns an ordinary breakfast into an invitation for leisurely conversation.

The Buck’s Fizz originated in 1921 with barman, Pat McGarry, the first bartender of the famous Buck’s Club in London. McGarry is also the recognized creator of the original Sidecar cocktail. Captain H. J. Buckmaster established the Buck’s Club in 1919. He wanted an American Cocktail Bar rather than the stuffy traditional gentlemen’s clubs in existence at the time. He must have hit upon something, because the Buck’s Club made its way into contemporary fiction writing and has hit Hollywood’s big screen. Most importantly, Buck’s Club is still in business at the time of this writing.

With only two ingredients, Champagne and orange juice, the Buck’s Fizz is an easy preparation. A Buck’s Fizz is heavier on orange juice than the Mimosa version that followed a few short years later, making its appearance at the Ritz Hotel in Paris in 1925. Both are very similar, the difference being only in the ratios of Champagne to orange juice. If Champagne is not available or desired, sparkling wine or Prosecco may be used. Fresh orange juice is always a plus, but is not absolutely necessary to make either of these cocktails a winning combination.

Buck’s Fizz

4 ounces Orange Juice
2 ounces Champagne

Pour orange juice into a champagne flute. Top off with Champagne, sparkling wine, or Prosecco. This cocktail may be garnished with a float of grenadine and a cherry if desired.

Mimosa

2 ounces Orange Juice
4 ounces Champagne

Pour orange juice into a champagne flute. Top off with Champagne, sparkling wine, or Prosecco. Garnish with a float of grenadine and a cherry if desired.

Barman Frank Meier or the Ritz Bar created an alternate version to the Mimosa calling it a Valencia.

Valencia

1 ounce Orange Juice
1/2 ounce Apricot Liqueur
5 to 6 ounces Champagne

Place orange juice and apricot liqueur in champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with an orange spiral.

Yet another version of this ever popular cocktail is the French Mimosa using Gran Marnier. Cointreau may be used as a substitute as well.

French Mimosa

1 ounce Orange Juice
1/2 ounce Gran Marnier
5 to 6 ounces Champagne

Pour orange juice and Gran Marnier into champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with an orange spiral. A few dashes of orange bitters before adding the Champagne is another alternative for an extra layer of exceptional flavor.

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