January 1, 2014. America wakes from its fitful slumber to a splitting headache. With their rallying cry of "Urrrghhh," these brave and lonely souls troop to their temples of coffee and corned beef. Some chase espresso with chorizo to burn out the devil spirits playing field hockey in their skulls. Others take a strange tonic called "hair of the dog," in an effort to fool their bodies into believing there is no such thing as pain.
The nutritious and boozy Bloody Mary is favored by many. The adventurous tip back a prairie oyster: raw egg, tomato juice, Worcestershire and brandy. For the rest of us, there is the mimosa, a wonderfully simple drink that blends the best of the old year with the promise of the new. See also: Beer becomes dessert at Boulder Beer
All you need for a mimosa is last night's unopened champagne and tomorrow's fresh orange juice. It's a reminder of the dog that bit ya with a sweet hit of Vitamin C. A drink with British and French origins, it dates back to the early days of the champagne-crazy 1920s, when something called a Buck's Fizz was served at Buck's Club, one of London's finest gentleman's clubs, which is still in operation today.
That version implemented the English standard of two parts champagne to one part OJ, a formula that is commonly (and wrongheadedly) inverted today. Like the Bloody Mary and Irish coffee, the mimosa is not explicitly a brunch drink, but it is perfectly suited to a salmon Benedict or a plate of French toast. And the looks you get when ordering one at 9 p.m. are enough to keep my mimosa drinking to the daylight hours.
Some of the appeal of the mimosa is its simplicity, but at Snooze, simplicity is treated like yesterday's Hollandaise. It's not surprising that the perpetually packed eatery that helped turn hipsters on to the idea of gourmet brunch takes a unconventional approach to its booze. There's the Bugs Bloody with a shot of carrot juice, or the Morning Margarita with orange juice and tequila. Looking for something a little crazier to accompany my Blueberry Danish pancakes, I ordered a Ginger Spice mimosa, with Snooze's own Infinite Monkey Theorem-made sparkling wine, blood orange juice, house-made ginger beer and lemon juice ($8).
Not exactly your usual Tropicana and Korbel, is it? Though Snooze offers a number of house juices to augment a regular mimosa, the tangy, deep flavor of blood orange and the zest of ginger beer make this mimosa stand out. Too sweet to be a true hangover cure, the Ginger Spice has a dash more dignity than, say, a glass of raw eggs.
To impress friends, loved ones, and barely tolerable in-laws at your next brunch, put a twist on the mimosa with fresh tangerine juice and orange bitters.
The Grande Dame Ingredients:
8 oz. tangerine juice (available at Whole Foods and other specialty markets) 1 750 ml. bottle Champagne or sparkling Brut wine Orange bitters 4 sprigs rosemary (optional)
Pour tangerine juice in four champagne flutes or carafe, than fill the rest with wine. stir gently, then add a few dashes of orange bitters. If your guests appreciate the aroma of herbs, clap a few sprigs of rosemary over glasses or carafe to add depth. Toast, pop ibuprofen, renew gym membership, cancel in March.
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With every installment of Coming of Age with 21 Drinks, I'll be featuring a cocktail recipe cooked up by me or the bar itself. Have a suggestion for a place I should visit? Post it below.