The Mimosa is the quintessential brunch drink, but why stop at brunch?
Don’t discount them from your afternoon or evening activities too! A table set up with a colorful variety of drink options looks just as good at night as it does late on a Sunday morning.
These drinks are FUN, not super boozy, and can be paired with a charcuterie board, Mini Salmon Quiches, vegetable samosas, spiced nuts, a mezze platter or a light summer salad like Caprese Pasta Salad.
Hosting a Mimosa bar not only gives guests a fun variety of drink options to choose from, and maybe some they’ve never thought of trying, but having a self-serve bar allows guests to drink at their leisure and frees YOU up from playing bartender at your own party.
Mimosa Bar Essentials
When setting up a table where guests are helping themselves, make everything accessible and try to anticipate any needs guests will have. Guests shouldn’t have to wander about your house looking for a napkin or cocktail pick. You also don’t want to overwhelm your guests with too many choices.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Carafes or jars for holding juices
- Tub or cooler filled with ice to hold wine and/or ciders
- Small bowls to hold garnishes
- Jiggers or measured shot glasses measure drinks
- Reusable stir sticks
- Cocktail picks for garnishes
- Wine and bottle openers
- Small sign or chalkboard to list juice/wine combinations
- Wine tags for glasses
How Much Wine and Juice to Buy for a Mimosa Bar?
If you’re hosting a Mimosa bar at home, chances are there will be at least a handful of people drinking. So how do you make sure you’re not over or under buying? Let’s do some alcohol math!
To host a party for 10 people who have, on average, 3 drinks each (some will have more, others less). And if we assume each mimosa will be 2 ounces juice and 3 ounces wine or cider then this is what you need to buy:
For the Juice: A half-gallon (64 ounces, 1.9 liters) of juice. You can make or buy smaller versions of many juices just so long as the total amount adds up to a half-gallon.
For the Booze: You will need 90 ounces (2.7 liters) of alcohol. Rounded up this would be:
- 4 bottles wine OR
- 8 canned wines OR
- 6 (16 ounce) cans hard cider
Non-Alcoholic Bubbly: If you are also providing zero-proof options for guests, a bottle of sparkling alcohol free wine is that same ounce size as its boozy counterpart so you can sub 1:1 there. You may need to increase the amount of juice you have on hand to help balance the drink.
These numbers are based off of certain sizes. First, a standard size bottle of sparkling wine is 750 ml which is around 25 ounces with a teeny bit left over. A can of wine is 375 ml which is approximately 12 1/2 ounces. Hard cider can fall anywhere between those two numbers, but for this example I’m going with the 16 ounce can I have at home.
This should give you a rough idea about how many bottles you should buy, and you can scale up or down according to your needs.
Booze-Free Shouldn't Mean Boring
More and more guests come to my parties lately looking for a nonalcoholic option so I always include one or more for guests beyond canned sparkling waters.
If you have multiple guests who prefer not to drink alcohol, make a fun shrub to compliment the juices, sparkling water, and club soda at the Mimosa table. Try a pear-ginger shrub, blackberry shrub, cucumber mint shrub soda or a rosemary-tangelo for something really unique.
Mix Up Your Mimosa Bar Glassware
Guests are likely going to expect traditional champagne flutes at a mimosa bar. You can go the traditional route or change it up, as long as you don’t make it confusing for your guests.
If you choose to have a specific type of glass for each drink, make sure to separate them so guests know what they are expected to use. If you want a more casual atmosphere, stemless wine glasses, or even small mason jars could be used.
Let Guests Dress Up Their Drinks!
Garnishes can be fun, so make sure to include some! But if you’re having a casual brunch affair, go easy on the choices and select fruits and other items that correspond to what you’re serving.
- Orange slices
- Dried Apple chips
- Fresh apple slices (dipped in lemon water to prevent browning)
- Pineapple leaves
- Small watermelon wedges
Raid your herb garden:
- Mint sprigs
- If you have time freeze some herbs in ice cubes for a decorative touch.
Try Sanding Sugars or Salts:
Rimmed glasses can add a special touch to a drink. Set out small bowls with colored/flavored salts and lemon wedges.
I love grinding my own dehydrated citrus fruits in a coffee grinder and combining with kosher salt for cocktails. And there are always multiple varieties of sugars and salts at my local liquor store to choose from as well.
I like the Stirrings brand that can be found nationwide, even at grocery stores. Guests can rub the top of the glass with lemon, then press it into the bowl with salt or sugar. If you don’t want your guests doing it themselves, you can rim the glasses beforehand and let them dry before setting them out for guests.
- Tajín adds a spicy kick to a pineapple mango mimosa
- Citrus salt goes great with a watermelon mimosa
- Cinnamon sugar adds a warm baking spice aroma to an apple pomegranate mimosa
Cold Mimosas are Happy Mimosas
Keeping everything cold for the length of your party is essential. First, make sure to refrigerate all the bottles the night before. Then keep bottles and juices chilled during your party.
- Fill a vessel roomy enough to hold everything with ice and stick everything in there. A wine tub, cooler, or even a large punch bowl would work.
- Do not stick wine in the freezer, especially not sparkling wine. It will explode.
- Now, if you forget to chill everything the day before, don’t panic! You can chill bottles quickly using salt and ice!
- Fill your sink or wine tub with equal parts ice and water. Add a cup of salt, stir it around and then add your bottles. You may have to do this in batches if you don’t have something large for everything to sit in. Your bottles should be quite chilled within 10-15 minutes.
- If you want to make it super easy on yourself, just leave the bottles in the sink for the party. Once chilled, add in some extra ice into the water mixture to maintain temperature throughout the length of your party.
During the party refill the ice when necessary and check for overflow. Many tubs will have a plug at the bottom to deal with just that. If not, only fill your tub about halfway with ice and water to accommodate melting during the party.
If you need to remove any water/ice, make sure you use a plastic cup to scoop it out. A broken glass means you’ll be dumping the whole tub out.
If you want a fun, colorful way to serve up drinks for a group, hosting a Mimosa bar is an easygoing way to keep the drinks flowing but let’s the host remain fairly hands off during the party. Cheers to that!