Was The Mimosa Invented in S.F.?

The Bold Italic has a fun blog post today with six things you never knew were invented in San Francisco, and one of them took us completely by surprise: the mimosa. As the cited story goes, everyone's favorite brunch drink was invented by the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, on a rough morning after a night of drinking at Jeanty at Jack's. (He must've been in town a lot -- Vertigo, The Birds, and Shadow of a Doubt were all filmed in or near San Francisco.)

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However, a little digging brought up competing narratives on the drink's origins. One of the most common, supported by this cranky Wall Street Journal article about the decline of the mimosa, says that it was invented at the American bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris in the early 1930's, which makes a certain amount of sense since the French do love their Champagne cocktails.

However, our go-to source, The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, says it's a variation of the popular British Buck's Fizz, invented in the 1920's, though the entry does mention the "Hollywood legend" of Hitchcock bringing it stateside, and gives him cautious credit for potentially being the first to introduce it as a brunch cocktail.

Whatever the origin and whether our fair city can claim ownership, we're glad they exist -- and judging from the number of bottomless mimosa brunches around town, we assume that the rest San Francisco agrees.

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It's less a "variation on" the Buck's Fizz than "another name for" it.

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