One of the trickiest things about entertaining is the bar. If you’re making dinner for two or entertaining a crowd, chances are you don’t want another task like 5 step signature cocktail with expensive liqueurs. So let’s think about some easy drinks. Let’s think about options and wide appeal. Let’s think about a DIY mimosa bar. Scale to your guest list, take some ideas from below, and make everybody happy!
Mimosas might be orange juice and champagne traditionally, so maybe these are more like champagne cocktails? Either way, a few ingredients go a long way and cheap champagne goes unnoticed when dressed up with some fancy garnish and a splash of somethin’.
Start here. What’s your price point and who are you serving? If it’s valentines dinner for two, spring for two bottles of something nice that goes with your meal. Bachelorette party? Get a variety of cheaper bubbly from a place like Trader Joe’s and mix it up — some sweet, some dry. And consider other options such as rose, prosecco, sparkling wine or moscato.
Once you’ve got your bubbly picked out, pair up a couple of juices or purees to splash in. Think about the pairings and make opposites attract with sweet + sour (moscato with grapefruit or pomegranate), dry + sweet (brut champagne with mango or grenadine) or crisp + fruity (prosecco with strawberry or peach puree). If your group is small, like 2-4, then 3 options should be plenty. A larger group, maybe 5 or 6 options for variety.
Suggestions: orange juice // strawberry puree // peach nectar // red grapefruit juice // pink lemonade // pomegranate juice // cranberry juice // grenadine // mango puree // guava juice
Coordinate your garnishes to compliment the flavors of your drink, like orange juice + mandarin oranges or cranberry juice + pomegranate seeds. Or contrast them, for example mango puree + fresh raspberries. You can sugar the rim of your glasses, even using colored sugar for a festive touch. Fresh herbs and edible flowers are simple and showy, like a sprig of thyme or lavender. And you can always muddle fresh fruit directly into you cup, using a muddler like this one.
Suggestions: strawberries // cherries // pomegranate seeds // raspberries // blood oranges // edible flowers // fresh herbs // sugared rim // mandarin oranges
- Extra Touches:
Take your mimosa bar one step further with some things you can make in advance, like ice cubes of frozen juice or purees. Pretty up classic ice cubes with flowers, herbs or fruit. Place one or two in a glass when your guest arrives, and have them add their champagne of choice. Fruit sorbets and sherbets are another great addition! Raspberry sorbet or orange sherbet with a splash of champagne would double as an easy dessert, too.
Suggestions: decorative ice cubes // frozen juice, lemonade or fruit puree // fruit sorbet or sherbet
- More Booze:
Make your drink slightly stronger with the addition of another spirit. Champagne + St. Germaine (a slightly floral elderflower liquor) or sparkling wine + triple sec are excellent, but set a few options out and let your guests experiment. Fruity liqueurs can be fun too.
Suggestions: St. Germaine // Limoncello // Crème de violette // Creme de Cassis // Chambord Liqueur (raspberry) // Cointreau (triple sec, orange liqueur)
Time to set up your mimosa bar! Have everything ready and let guests’ help them selves, freeing you up to do other things. Keep everything cold, ice buckets are a must! And make sure you have fancy glasses, I love stemless champagne glasses, like these. And if you’ve got everything ready for your guests when they arrive, you can finish up in the kitchen uninterrupted. Or if you’re doing dinner for two, keep everything near in the kitchen and give your guest the task of mixing and refreshing drinks for both of you.