November is upon us…can you believe it! I have to be honest in telling you that I am not a fan of Halloween. I love it now because my kids do, but I was very happy to flip the calendar page over this morning and see November 1st. To me, it is the start of my favorite Holiday season. Preparing for Thanksgiving, seeing friends and family, buying and wrapping Christmas gifts and dare I say listening to Christmas music (is it too early yet?…nah!) If you are planning on entertaining family and friends this year, try a brunch or luncheon and bump up the festivities with a fantastic, and easy to put together Mimosa Bar. Your guests will love you for it! Mimosa Bars are one of the best things to find at a brunch, luncheon or really any get together. You get to combine bubbly with your favorite juices and nectars, then top it off with your favorite garnishes..it doesn’t get much better than that. In fact, I am quite certain a mimosa bar is to an adult what a sundae bar is to a child.
Now that we are all on the same page about how awesome a Mimosa Bar is, here are some handy tips to creating your own Mimosa Bar for your next get together.
First you’ll want to head over to your local Home Goods, TJ Maxx or even Christmas Tree Shoppe and you will find some great carafes that have a chalkboard front. This is genius…some of them even come with the chalk! You get to mark up what juices/nectars are in which carafe for your guests and when the party is over, just wash it off and it is ready to use for another time. Pick up about three or four of these. That’s the perfect amount to showcase a variety of juices and nectars for your Mimosa bar. Also grab a nice stainless steel bucket (if you don’t already have one) to put your Champagne or Prosecco bottle(s) on ice.
We all know how hit or miss places like TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Christmas Tree Shoppes can be sometimes. So if you are not lucky enough to find the carafes with the chalkboard front on them, you can just pick up a few regular glass carafes and print up the juice/nectar names on some card stock paper. Punch a whole in the corner of the card stock and tie it around the neck of the carafe with some kitchen twine or colored ribbon.
Next, plan out what juices/nectars you would like to serve. Always plan on having Orange Juice for the traditional mimosa lover(s) among the group. Have one tart juice, like a Pomegranate or Cherry and at least one sweet nectar such as Peach or Pear. You can also get a little fancy with some mixed blends like a carrot mango blend or mixed berry blend.
Once you have all your juices and nectars picked out, you can start to choose your garnishes. Sliced strawberries are always a great option. It pairs well with berry blends, the traditional orange juice mimosa, as well as a tall glass of straight-up bubbly. Whole raspberries, cubed mango or sliced peaches, pomegranate seeds, cranberries or even wedges of lime. Let your imagination flow. You can even pair your bubbly with liqueurs like Casis or Grand Marnier.
Onto the the actual bubbly itself. It does not need to cost you $50 per bottle. It doesn’t even need to be Champagne per se …it could be Prosecco, which is equally effervescent and delicious (it happens to be one of my favorites). Come to think of it, you wouldn’t want to spend that much on a bottle anyway if you are going to be mixing it with other liquids. Save the really expensive bottle for a big accomplishment or celebration! You can get a nice bottle for around $10-$15. Just head on over to your local liquor store and ask the sales associate what he/she would recommend in whatever price range you chose.
The general rule for Champagne or Prosecco is 1-2 (4 oz) glasses per person. One 750ml bottle fills six regular Champagne glasses, so you would need about 6 bottles for approximately 25 guests. Now of course you know your audience, which also plays into account how much alcohol for you to purchase. If you have a crowd that absolutely loves Champagne or Prosecco you may want to air on the side of caution an pick up a few extra bottles. On the flip side, if you are entertaining a crowd where a quarter of the guests are non-alcoholic drinkers, then you of course could scale back on how many bottles you actually buy. This point goes back to #2 on the Six Party Planning Steps for Success, Know Your Crowd.
Also be sure to take into account if you are serving up any other libations. When brunching, people tend to either be on team Mimosa or team Blood Mary. If you know your crowd you will be able to plan accordingly and not wind up with tons of left over Champagne, Juice or Bloody Mary’s mix.
Now that we got all the details out of the way…here’s the fun part… Setting up! To set up your Mimosa Bar space, choose an open area where people have room to stand and mingle while they mix their cocktail of choice. Set the stainless steel bucket for the Champagne or Prosecco (which ever you choose to use) on the corner of the bar area, your 3 or 4 carafes of juices/nectar toward the back and an array of small plates or mini buckets for your garnishes up in the front. Different heights are always aesthetically appealing, and having the low plates and buckets in the front of the carafes allows for an even flow of mixing and most important, less spillage.
NOTE: place a large dinner plate under the Champagne bucket so that when the ice starts to melt and condensation starts to drip down the bucket, that you do not ruin the wood furniture you choose to serve it on.
To round it all out, throw in a stack of some festive cocktail napkins, a pitcher of Blood Mary’s if you so choose (with celery stalks and black pepper for garnish), a nice amount of champange and tumbler glasses and you are ready to party.