Go Beyond the Mimosa: Add a DIY Bubbly Bar to Your Sunday Brunch
Whether you’re hosting Mother’s Day brunch, or just a collection of your favorite friends, set up a stunningly simple DIY bubbly bar and everyone will be happy.
Not your average mimosa
Sure, it’s easy to grab some OJ and a bottle of prosecco from Trader Joe’s and splash together mimosas for brunch. But for a special occasion — or any Sunday Funday, for that matter — how much better would it be if you gave guests a few more options? From the traditional mimosa to a strawberry-rhubarb champagne cocktail, a spread like this will take your brunch to a whole new level.
A traditional mimosa is half orange juice and half champagne (or bubbly of your choice). For a classy spread like this, opt for fresh-squeezed orange juice. We’re at the tail end of citrus season and the cara cara and blood oranges are nice and juicy, so squeeze those oranges for the sweetest mimosa you’ve ever tasted.
Flavored syrups and shrubs — fruit-and-vinegar syrups — make delicious additions to a champagne cocktail. I found two complementary flavors at The Boston Shaker that are seriously worth adding to your summer bar set-up.
Strawberry-fennel syrup from Royal Rose has all the sweetness of summer strawberries with just the slightest hint of liquorice undertone from the fennel. It’s amazing with champagne alone, but even better in combination with lemonade and dry rosé.
Like strawberry-rhubarb pie in a glass, the strawberry-fennel syrup also pairs perfectly with the flavorful tang of the rhubarb shrub from Tait Farm Foods. The sweet-tart rhubarb shrub adds syrup and a slight acidity to the mix, and honestly, I’ve wanted to add it to just about every beverage I’ve encountered since I discovered it — even simple iced tea or lemonade sans alcohol. Shrubs are also the perfect cocktail additive for kombucha fans this summer. They come in all sorts of interesting flavors, so go exploring at The Boston Shaker to see what you like.
If you're really into the DIY concept, you can even make your own flavored simple syrups. Using herbs, fruits and different types of sugars, the flavoring options are endless.
For a DIY bubbly bar, variety is essential. Stock up on interesting juices like clementine, found at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Somerville. It's a fun alternative to the standard OJ. Pro tip: Single serve juice boxes add variety to your bar without leaving behind a collection of half-consumed juices you won’t drink during the week. Pick up peach, cherry, apricot, mango, and whatever else tempts your taste buds, and let guests play around with flavor combinations for as long as the bubbly is flowing. If you have several guests who want the same thing, the experts at The Boston Shaker suggest you make it quicker by combining the juice, syrup, and ice in a cocktail shaker, and pouring the mixture into several champagne glasses before topping with bubbly.
As for the key ingredient, don't forget to grab a few different varieties of bubbly as well — a dry champagne, a sweet sparkling wine, and a dry rosé at minimum. You don’t have to buy top-of-the-line bottles, but quality is still important when the bubbly is at least half of what’s in your glass. Cheers!