The mimosa is baked into cocktail culture. But for a two-ingredient wonder that’s conquered the globe and was synonymous with brunch long before the first influencer lay a slice of avocado atop thick-cut toast, little is known about the drink’s origins.
Most who dive into the history of sparkling wine and orange juice will end up in the early 1920s at a London gentleman’s club named Buck’s Club. There, a bartender named Malachy “Pat” McGarry created the venue’s namesake Buck’s Fizz cocktail, which mixed two parts Champagne with one part orange juice. Some early recipes also include a dash of grenadine at the bottom of the glass, creating a visual effect not unlike a Tequila Sunrise, though the cocktail has long since been codified to be just wine and OJ.
However, around the same time, at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, a bartender named Frank Meier began serving a drink he called the mimosa (though, notedly, it’s unknown if he claimed to invent the drink or simply popularized it by serving it at an upscale European bar, and later included it in his 1934 cocktail book The Artistry of Mixing Drinks). This version used orange juice and Champagne in equal parts, diluting the alcohol in comparison to the slightly stronger Buck’s variation.