This weeks Perfume Illuminated features the delicate and fragrant Mimosa and though for my end of things there is no real flavor connection, there are many wonderful memories and some truly delicious cocktails that come along with them! When you're done here, make sure that you float on your long stemmed glass of bubbly over to Roxana's Illuminated Journal to read what she has to say about the Mimosa : Fragrance! I know that you'll love
It's Mothers Day and what better cocktail to enjoy on such a day than a delicious mimosa! Ever since I was a little girl I've loved them ( yes, my fabulous and very worldly mother let me enjoy a little one even then!) and from my first sip at my brothers graduation brunch at Brennans in New Orleans I was hooked on that combination of fresh juice and great champagne. To this day there is nothing that says celebration to me quite as much as a Mimosa, not even a Bellini, that luscious combination of peach juice and champagne which I love but doesn't conjure up the same lovely gardenia soaked memories! My mother and I traveled together several times a year for business and often we'd start the day with a Grand Mimosa at the Ritz Carlton or sometimes if the day was too busy we'd wait until tea. She loved the Mimosas with Chambord served at the restaurant on the 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman and she adored drinking them at breakfast while sitting by the window in the Park Lane Hotel restaurant. She really was so much fun to travel with! I'll never forget the time that we were in Atlanta and she hired a carriage driver to take us from our hotel to the restaurant where we were having our dinner simply because she thought that it would be so much fun! She loved to enjoy her life, even in the later years when it all got a bit tougher and she never missed an opportunity to enjoy a party or a glass of wonderful champagne!
Although my mother died in August of 2008 my taste for Mimosa's did not, because for the last two years my niece Kacy and I have gone to New York City in October for the Food Network Food and Wine Festival. I'll never forget when she called me.....I was sitting in my mother's hospital room where she lay in a deep coma and my cell phone rang. "Aunt Bethie .....guess what! I know what we should do.There's this food festival in New York in October and after Grandma dies you're going to need something to look forward too, so we're going!" I couldn't say no...not with my mother laying there! She would have never passed it up!
That weekend turned out to be a dream come true...one my favorite cities enjoyed with one of my favorite people, in fact possibly the only other person that I know who loves the glamourous aspects of New York City as much as my mother and I did ! It's a wonderfully madcap weekend , filled with fabulous New York Parties, incredible food and more alcohol, wine and champagne than anyone should ever drink. There's a million opportunities to meet your favorite Food Network stars (and aren't they the only ones that count these days!) and last year Paula Deen even invited the two of us to be her honorary daughter and grand daughter. Nigella was there , Ina and Anthony too and Kacy and I just have the best time experiencing it all together. We act like ridiculous food groupies and since my mother died it's become our favorite time to spend together! We spend the entire weekend shopping and eating, flirting,drinking and bonding. We exercise every food demon that we are possessed by and thank goodness for those darling yellow cabs.....
My niece and I share the sensibility that there is absolutely no excuse deny oneself an extraordinary glass of Champagne! Last year we discovered the Mimosa's at Sarabeth's, the delightful brunch restaurant three steps away from our door at The Park Lane. They were absolutely delicious in the traditional sense, made with champagne and freshly squeezed orange and blood orange juices and absolutely perfect with my Eggs Benedict and her eggs with smoked salmon. The whole feast was made even better by the fact that we were sitting outside practically on the street right next to the Central Park watching the carriages come and go and enjoying the NYC fashion parade on their way up to 5th. We ate and drank and then of course we went shopping to exercise the whole thing off! That evening was the Grande Dessert Party sponsored by Duff of the Ace of Cakes , Perrier Jouet and Gilbeys Gin. What a feast...freeflowing Champagne and desserts everywhere from the finest pastry chefs in the city. Kacy's boyfriend joined us and we ate, drank and laughed until the early hours when I took my cab back happily to my hotel and fell into bed, but not without first a bit of room service to nullify the effects of all of that
The next day was Sunday so I spent wandering the streets of the the city just taking it all in. Before I flew out, I stopped at The Champagne Bar at The Plaza to have one final Champagne cocktail. The Champagne Bar at the Plaza is a gorgeous, intimate affair, with a marvelous menu of bubbly by the glass and divine green velvet "affaire de coeur" chairs to sip it in. As I sat there truly relaxed and enjoying myself after such a satisfying weekend, I felt the presence of my mother sitting across from me, smiling and just drinking it all in.
A perfectly mixed, traditional Mimosa generally consists of freshly squeezed orange juice and champagne. Actually if you want to be precise, it's about 2 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice in a flute champagne glass and then you'll fill the rest of the glass with Champagne. But if you want to drink my mother's favorite, here is the recipe. I love giving away her secrets because she was so much fun! If she was still with us today, I'd have brought this to her already with one of the Bluebells from her garden that she loved so much.
You'll need one perfect long stemmed flute champagne, a bottle of well chilled Taittinger and some freshly squeezed orange juice, preferably a mixture of blood orange and navel oranges.
Pour about 1 and a half ounces of the juice into the glass and add a dash of orange flower water, a dash of Chambord and a couple of tablespoons of Grand Marnier into which you've muddled some very fresh, juicy raspberries. Fill the rest of the glass with the champagne (be careful not to overfill!) and enjoy.
Happy Mothers Day Mom! I always miss you, but today I miss you more .......
All photographs belong to Beth Schreibman Gehring except for the Plaza Hotel, which is courtesy of The Champagne Bar at The Plaza Hotel!