Mimosas are a well-loved brunch cocktail, the perfect light treat for early in the day. Delicious, fruity, and fragrant, a Mimosa is easy to make and even easier to drink! As well as at brunch, Mimosas are traditionally served at weddings, and in some first-class and business class travel options. This fizzy fruit cocktail is classy and sophisticated, the perfect way to spruce up any occasion.
Although the ingredients in a Mimosa are simple, picking the best to use can be tricky. You’ll need a high-quality fresh orange juice, and of course, the right sparkling wine Champagne. It’s the world’s most popular celebratory wine, and a key ingredient in Mimosa cocktails. However, there’s a wide range of choices when selecting one for mixing.
While you don’t need to use the most expensive Champagne, it’s a good idea to use a bottle you know you enjoy. However, some of the best Mimosas don’t even use Champagne. A bottle of Cava or Prosecco can be just as delicious and will cost you significantly less. In reality, any sparkling wine can be used in this morning cocktail, but better wines make a better cocktail. In this article, we’ll share the best Champagne for Mimosas, and the other delicious alternatives, as well as revealing our favorite Mimosa recipe.
Where did Mimosas come from?
When it comes to early-day cocktails, Bloody Marys and Mimosas take the cake. These two cocktails dominate brunch across the country, as the Bloody Mary has for decades. However, the Mimosa has lesser-known origins, so let’s find out how this drink became one of America’s favorite morning treats.
A French bartender called Frank Meier is credited with naming the Mimosa, as he popularised mixing orange juice and sparkling wine under the name in Paris in 1925. However, most people don’t believe he invented the cocktail. A London pub claimed the combination with a different drink; Buck’s Fizz. Usually, Buck’s fizz is heavier on the wine, whereas Mimosas are usually an even ratio.
In reality, neither of these sources were the first to combine sparkling wine with orange juice. “Champagne-orange” was popular in France long before it was named Mimosa, so the cocktail has definitely been around for a while. There’s no doubt that Meier gets credit for the name we all know today, but how did the Mimosa end up America’s favorite brunch cocktail?
As we mentioned, Bloody May’s were the only morning cocktail in the USA before the introduction of Mimosas, right up until the late 1960s. Across the pond, the British Royal Family has been introduced to “Champagne-orange”, a detail which made it to the papers. The drink spread throughout the country, from the royal palace down to popular London clubs. British celebrities started using the name Mimosa, which is how this cocktail spread to the states. Through many different avenues, suddenly the Mimosa was being sipped by movie stars and world figures.
What Champagne should I use for a Mimosa?
As every wine enthusiast knows, real Champagne comes only from a certain region of France, is absolutely delicious, and very expensive. It’s not necessary to mix such a special bottle in Mimosas, as most cocktails use a more affordable sparkling wine. You should be able to find a budget-friendly alternative at your local grocery store, one equally capable of producing the best Mimosas. A nice bottle of Prosecco or Cava will set you back less than $20 and is perfect for mixing into cocktails.
French Champagne has much more developed and refined flavors, so it’s not worth mixing with orange juice. Instead, Spanish Cava or Prosecco from Italy can make a much more sensible choice. Don’t use ultra-cheap sparkling wine, as you’ll just ruin the Mimosa and give yourself a headache. We’ll include a range of options for you to choose from, in price and flavor, so you can make the ideal choice for your next summer brunch.
There aren’t just three types of sparkling wine you can use in a Mimosa however, there are many more choices available. You should always use a dry or very dry sparkling wine for Mimosas, no matter the brand or origin. As the orange juice has plenty of sugar to sweeten the cocktail, a dry mixer is ideal to balance the palate. Look for “brut” or “extra brut” on wine labels when selecting a bottle for Mimosas.
Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco
If you want to make an informed choice about the best Mimosa ingredients, you’ll need the lowdown on the three biggest stars of the sparkling wine world. French Champagne, Spanish Cava, and Italian Prosecco aren’t the only sparkling wines these countries produce. There are hundreds more, from all around the world, but these three are the most popular by far.
Champagne and Cava are actually made using the same production method, however, only French winemakers within the region of Champagne can legally claim the “Champenoise” method. Each of the three options differs in sweetness, flavor, and amount of bubbles. These names also only refer to a whole family of wines made in the region, there are many further choices to be made after you’ve selected a brand.
Champagne, as we mentioned, is made only in the Champagne region of France. The wine is fermented for a second time in bottles, where the fine bubbles we know and love are formed through carbonation. Champagne is available as a very sweet or very dry wine, but for Mimosa cocktails, we recommend you only use a dry mixer. This world-famous wine was the only popular choice for many years, however more affordable sparkling white wines now flood the market.
Cava is a sparkling wine made in Spain, mostly in the region of Catalonia, using the same secondary bottle fermentation method as Champagne. The bubbles are fine, and an equally wide range of sweet to dry is available. Compared to a minimum of $30 for the French alternative, Spanish Cava can be found for as little as $15, and that’s for a quality bottle.
Italian Prosecco is made using a slightly different process than its competitors, as fermentation occurs in a tank, rather than bottles. Prosecco, made in the Veneto region, is usually slightly sweeter, but still makes a delicious Mimosa. The bubbles aren’t as fine as with Cava or Champagne, Prosecco has more light and frothy carbonation. Italian Prosecco was once known only as a cheap alternative to Champagne, however, it’s popularity in recent years has risen dramatically. For the last few years, the previously unpopular Prosecco has outsold its world-famous French equivalent.
Best Cava for Mimosas
Cava is generally a dry sparkling wine, but there are many Cavas with different flavors to choose from for your Mimosa. The Poema Brut Cava is fresh and fruity, so of course, it’s ideal for mixing with orange juice. Flavors of green apple and citrus will make your morning cocktail even fruitier. Cadorniu Anna Brut is another great selection, one of the first Cavas to incorporate Chardonnay. Both of these bottles are generally affordable and easy to find at your local store.
Mercat Brut Nature Cava is a less common wine that’s perfect for Mimosas and just about everything else. This bottle is dry and fruity, made with a blend of Spanish grapes which create a complex and fragrant profile. Another Cava that makes a great Mimosa is Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut, which costs only $12 for a high-class bottle.
Best Prosecco for Mimosas
Cupcake Prosecco is cheap, available almost everywhere, and ideal for Mimosas. This dry sparkling wine will mix perfectly with sweet fresh orange juice, and you pick up a bottle in most stores. Not all Prosecco is ideal for making Mimosas as some are sweeter than other sparkling wines. Whichever bottle of sparkling wine you pick up, make sure it’s on the dry side.
One of the most popular Italian sparkling wines is Zardetto Prosecco Brut Treviso, a golden bubbly with fragrant flower and apricot aromas. The White Knight Prosecco is another delicious choice, it’s affordable and perfect for Mimosas. Flavors of apple, citrus peel, and acacia flower accompany your orange juice to form a crisp and bubbly delight. If you find this Prosecco Mimosa a little dry, try adding a splash of orange liqueur or Cointreau for an even fruitier twist.
Best Champagne for Mimosas
Although it’s considered by many to be a waste of top-quality wine, the more decedent among wine enthusiasts might prefer to make their Mimosa using genuine bubbly. A bottle of Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee will set you back a few times the price of the alternatives, so make sure you pair it with the highest quality orange juice. This velvety Champagne makes absolutely delightful Mimosas, for only the most special of mornings.
The best orange juice for Mimosas (and other tips for the perfect cocktail)
If you’re taking this much care in selecting the perfect alcohol for your Mimosas, then it’s worth putting a little effort into with the rest of your ingredients too. Classic Mimosas use just sparkling wine and orange juice, so there’s only two to think about. Cold, fresh orange juice is all that should be used in Mimosas. If you’re going store-bought, look for a high-quality juice free from the pulp. Never get a juice from concentrate, otherwise, you’re just wasting bubbly. Although many enjoy orange juice with pulp for most purposes, it’s best to go without for a Mimosa. The bits of pulp with affect the carbonation of your bubbly.
If you want to make your brunch cocktails the traditional way, you can juice your own oranges. It’s best to juice in advance so you can chill it in the fridge before serving. Since Mimosas are a morning cocktail, it’s ideal to juice your oranges the night before, and then chill all your ingredients until the morning, ready to pour and serve.
Since a classic Mimosa has only two ingredients, there isn’t much by way of a recipe. We recommend starting out with a 50/50 ratio of orange juice to sparkling wine, then you can adjust it to your taste. Add additional bubbly for a lighter but stronger drink, or use less for a sweeter and more fruity cocktail.
When you pour a Mimosa, the orange juice should go in second. Otherwise, you risk fizzing and spillage once the sparkling wine is added. This order also means you can tilt your glass when pouring the wine as you do with a pint of beer. This way, the carbonation is preserved, and your drink will have more bubbles. Mimosas are best served in Champagne flutes, however wine glasses will also do the trick. This style of glass is suited to Mimosas as the drink stays chilled and fizzy.
Like any classic cocktail, there are numerous variations of the Mimosa. A Poinsettia is a Mimosa made using cranberry juice, while tangy and fragrant grapefruit juice makes a fantastic Megmosa. Bellinis are another famous cocktail in their own right, made using peach puree. There are so many ways to change up your Mimosas, so why not try out a new recipe? We especially love Mimosas made with pomegranate juice, as the flavors create a highly enjoyable combination.
How to change up a classic Mimosa
One way to spice up the traditional Mimosa recipe is to simply add more alcohol. If you want to make your cocktails pack more of a punch, you can add a spirit or liqueur to your Mimosa recipe. The French often add Grand Mariner, just a spoonful at the end, and triple sec is another popular option. Vodka, whiskey, and many more spirits make valuable additions to your Mimosa, adding new flavors and increasing your bartending knowledge.
On top of the fresh orange juice and sparkling wine, there are a few non-alcoholic elements you could add to improve flavor and presentation. Garnish your champagne flutes with citrus peel or orange wedges, and dust the glass in fine sugar. You can also use grenadine syrup to create a gradient in the glass, there are so many possibilities! If it’s the height of summer, you could try using refreshing watermelon juice for a tropical twist.
Serving Mimosas to a group
If you’re throwing a party and want to serve fresh and delicious Mimosas, you might wonder the best way to do it. If left too long, Mimosas will lose their carbonation, and your light and bubbly drink will be flat and disappointing. One option is to pre-mix Mimosa pitchers, to serve on a table spread. If you decide to use pitchers, chill the ingredients one night before and pour them just before your guests arrive, to preserve as much carbonation as possible.
Because premade Mimosas can go flat before there’s time to drink them, Mimosa bars are popular. Offer your guests the opportunity to mix this simple cocktail themselves, by providing the ingredients at a bar station. Simply provide chilled sparkling wine and freshly squeezed orange juice, so your guests can combine them in the ratio they prefer.
You could even provide some other juice options such as cranberry and pomegranate, allowing your guests to mix and match. If you decide to put together a Mimosa bar for your party, we recommend adding a few garnish options and decorations. This will make a more memorable impression on guests, and make mixing your own drinks more interesting and fun!
The best Champagne for Mimosas isn’t necessarily real Champagne, as many dry sparkling wines can make an excellent fruity cocktail. French Champagne has many delicate notes and flavors that risk being blown out of the water by strong and sugary orange juice, which is why many wine enthusiasts mix their Mimosas using a more affordable bottle. In Spain and Italy, delicious alternative sparkling wines are produced at just as high of a quality, but with a lower price point. It makes much more sense to use a still delicious but slightly cheaper bottle when making your own Mimosas.
Spanish Cava is made using the same process as Champagne, producing fine bubbles through bottle fermentation and carbonation. Our favorite Cava for Mimosas is the Mercat Brut Nature, a dry and fruity blend with a complete taste. We also love Poema Brut cava for its notes of apple and citrus, which create a highly refreshing combination with orange juice. Prosecco, made in Italy, is slightly more bubbly and foamy than Champagne or Cava and can be sweeter too. It’s still a fantastic choice for Mimosas as Processo is so easily available, and an affordable bottle will still produce highly quaffable cocktails. White Knight is a dry Prosecco, crisp and bubbly and perfect with citrus juice.
Now you know how to make Mimosas perfectly, from ingredient selection to garnish. Cocktails are a great place to start, but many wine enthusiasts like to take making their own drinks one step further. If you feel like getting more involved, why not check out our blackberry wine recipe; it’s the perfect fruit wine for first-time brewers.
Bonus tip: Check out this video to see some variations on the classic Mimosa!