No boozy brunch is complete without a mimosa. The fizzy blend of juice from half an orange and Champagne, served in a large wineglass with a piece of ice (at least, that’s what one of the earliest recorded mimosa recipes calls for) has been poked and prodded into a house cocktail at most American brunch outfits. There’s a mimosa formula for sure, but when it comes to deciding which bottle of sparkling wine to use in the cocktail, we have questions. Will the wine’s flavor be masked by juice? In that case, it’s probably best to pop a $6 bottle of Andre and chug the flute in one sip. But perhaps a glug of really good bubbly with a splash of OJ is the key to a perfect mimosa? We decided to ask a few fizz experts for their opinion.
June Rodil, beverage director of MMH and co-owner of June's All Day:
The bubbles you use for mimosas shouldn't be Champagne, but something inexpensive because the orange juice will change the entire profile of the wine. If you have a batch of super sweet, yummy oranges, a super dry cava will do the trick. If your oranges are a little astringent or tart, something softer with a touch of sweet fruit like prosecco is best!
Victoria James, Beverage Director, Cote:
I would say Taittinger Champagne. It is readily available throughout the U.S.A and has great acidity and structure to cut through the sweetness of the juice. There is a certain creaminess and richness as well that rounds out the palate. For an unusual twist, I like to use their rosé Champagne, which contributes some red fruit flavors to the drink and a bit more flavor.
Lawrence Kobesky, Beverage Director, Gibsons Restaurant Group:
The acid in the orange juice is deafening to the beauty of a good Champagne. Dry prosecco or cava is what I would advise, more specifically, Bisol Crede Prosecco Superiore Doc 2015 [from] Italy.
Kat Kinsman, Senior Food and Drinks Editor, Fizz Aficionado at Extra Crispy:
Don't bust out the capital "C" Champagne for mimosas—sip the pricier stuff on its own and opt for a more budget-friendly, but distinctly excellent cava. It's Spain's version of sparkling wine, and tends to be a little drier than prosecco (its Italian cousin) or American sparkling wines, so the drink doesn't turn into a total sugar bomb. A Freixenet is great and can often be found for $10 or under, but don't be afraid to play around and find your new favorite.
Clearly, the “best” sparkling wine for a mimosa is completely based on personal preference. Super-expensive or dirt-cheap, sweet or dry, Champagne (with the capital "C") or a fizzy something else, the best bubbly for your brunch is really up to you.
OK, so we’ve got the wine part covered, but if you’re looking for a way to revamp the mimosa altogether, why not switch out the orange juice for something a bit more festive? My favorite mimosa-riff is grapefruit juice and a sprig of rosemary topped off with dry prosecco or cava, but I’ll let you pick for yourself.