A Summer Cocktail: The Poor Man’s Mimosa

From when I turned eighteen, all the way through my mid-thirties, I worked in a hospital setting. I spent a significant portion of that time working overnight shifts, from midnight to 8am. This bustling capital city institution hosted a 24-hour emergency room, general medical floors, and a myriad of mental health units. Most mornings, I would come home drained and primed for sleep. Other mornings, I’d come home unsettled and unable to lie down in a desperate attempt to process emotions and sights that were often entirely new and sometimes disturbing.

On those mornings, there was nothing that felt more rewarding or gratifying than an impromptu, early brunch at home to lull me into slumber. I would use what I had handy, maybe steak and eggs as an entrée, or French toast and bacon, something hearty to induce sleep. What came to accompany these meals, as a rule, was my very own concoction: The Poor Man’s Mimosa. I’ve said all of this for a reason; while responsible day drinking is generally acceptable, early morning drinking perhaps requires some sort of justification.

What follows is NOT a traditional cocktail recipe that can easily be gleaned off of the almighty Google. What follows is an open-ended concept, in the same way that Jimmy Buffett doesn’t necessarily represent good music as much as he does a lifestyle and mindset. In its simplest form, the Poor Man’s Mimosa is equal parts orange juice and any decent, dry white wine. Fans of the traditional mimosa will find this a satisfying substitute with two items that are readily available in most kitchens. While prosecco is typically paired with OJ in the traditional mimosa, let’s face it, you have to go out of your way and pay more to keep it on hand. And, like champagne, its slight fizz and acidity limit its versatility as well.

I prefer a chardonnay, but any pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc are just as good at mimicking the effects of a decent prosecco. This simple mix can be modified countless ways as well. Some may prefer to use pomegranate or cranberry juice. Some may desire the added chill of serving over ice. Others seeking that certain effervescence can add a seltzer of their choosing as a daring third party for a mimosa ménage. Whatever you do, remember to always garnish with a wedge of orange.

Enjoy the summer — be safe, be kind and always drink responsibly!

The Poor Man’s Mimosa


  • Orange juice
  • A decent, dry white wine of your choosing


  • Combine equal parts orange juice and dry white wine into a glass. Any glass will do.
  • Garnish with an orange wedge.
  • Enjoy!

Feeling bougie? In need of bubbly? Top off your Poor Man’s Mimosa with a seltzer of your choosing (here’s looking at you, pamplemousse).