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Certified Spirits Specialist Rick Turner Explains Why Your Mimosa is Really a Buck’s Fizz

I don’t care if it’s Sunday or not, there’s nothing that compares to brunch on a beautiful spring day, sipping a Buck’s Fizz and enjoying nature’s bloom on a leafy patio.

Huh? What’s a Buck’s Fizz?

Don’t act so surprised. You’ve had plenty of Buck’s Fizzes, you just don’t know it. Every time you tossed out your plastic to pay for a brunch of endless Mimosa’s–those Champagne-and-OJ brunch standards–you’ve really been drinking a Buck’s Fizz.

It’s a little act of deception that’s been played on you for so long that the distinction between the two drinks pretty much fails to exist.

Never heard this before? I’m not surprised. Most bar books today use the two recipes without distinction. Here’s the history of the two.

The Buck’s Fizz was a creation of the Buck’s Club in London, a gentlemen’s club that opened in 1919 (not that kind of gentleman’s club, just a speakeasy). In 1921, a bartender named Pat McGarry combined a very specific ratio of 2/3 champagne and 1/3 fresh orange juice, then named the drink after the Buck’s Club.

Then, in 1925, across the Channel at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, another bartender crafted a drink to mimic the color of the a manicured Mimosa shrub. (Yes, a Mimosa is a bush.)  What was his recipe? A Buck’s Fizz with a couple of drops of Gran Marnier for color.

How do I know this to be true? Simple: I  phoned both the Buck’s Club in London and the Ritz Carlton in Paris , and they confirmed the facts for EscapeHatchDallas.


Rick Turner is a Certified Specialist in Spirits  (Society of Wine Educators) and a Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers). He writes about cocktails for EscapeHatchDallas. In his spare time, Turner is the general manager of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas.



  1. Ben    2/21/2011

    Ah ha! Cleared up at last. I joined Celebrity Cruises about two years ago after working in the British bar scene for 3 years and gaining a pretty concrete arrogance in the irrefutable knowledge I had collected whilst in the Northern bar scene However, within my first two shifts I was perplexed by a small, fifty something Californian gentleman asking for a Mimosa to accompany his pancake brunch. On telling the chap he had beaten me with the recipe for that particular Cocktail and whilst rooting through my trusty Difford’s Guide to find it the outspoken chap shouted “Its a classic, call yourself a bartender” and clicked his fingers to summon a co worker who went about constructing a BUCKS FIZZ!! The standard tipple of all ladies pushing 100 years young in England and enjoyed maybe once a year, at Christmas! Needless to say I was mortified and have searched high and low as to what the difference is between the two drinks. for this I thank you Sir, very informative and has come as somewhat of a relief.
    One valuable lesson was learned that day however, when it comes to the bar trade, you never know everything!

  2. TG    4/27/2010

    oh sorry not Mimosa — a Buck’s Fizz

  3. TG    4/27/2010

    i could handle a drink made from 2/3 champagne and 1/3 fresh orange juice (altho i would really prefer 3/3 good champagne), but unfortunately what you usually get when you’re given a Mimosa is 2/3 Tott’s-level bubbly swill and 1/3 mysterious orange drink.

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