Classic Mimosa

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A mimosa, the classic combination of orange juice and sparkling wine, makes the perfect pick-me-up drink. It’s light, refreshing, and easy to make. Don’t have orange juice? Mix and match with any citrus fruit you have around.

Photography Credit: Elana Lepkowski

The classic pairing of orange juice and champagne is what first comes to mind when you see “mimosa” listed on a cocktail menu. Although the origins of this popular brunch drink are hazy at best, this simple pairing is an easy and versatile cocktail you can whip up in seconds.

This recipe is all about sparkling wine and orange juice, but if you like to mix it up a bit, don’t be afraid to explore other citrus that’s available, ripe, and ready for juicing. I personally have tangelo, tangerine, and lemon trees in my backyard.

While those particular varieties might not be readily available where you are, any combination of citrus should make a delicious mimosa. Think tangerine and Meyer lemon, or blood orange and navel oranges.

I love playing with flavor combinations as much as anyone, but sometimes it’s nice to settle in with a classic.

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WHAT’S THE BEST CHAMPAGNE FOR MIMOSAS?

Savvy drinkers will skip the champagne and substitute a less expensive but still delicious alternative, as the subtleties in flavor and aroma that command a champagne price tag will be lost when mixed with the juice.

So which sparkling wine should you use?

If the quality of the bubbles is something you’re particular about, you have options.

  • Prosecco is my personal favorite. It is produced in tanks and features larger bubbles, while the brightness and acidity balances out the sweet OJ.
  • Cava is fermented in barrels, producing smaller, longer-lasting bubbles.

If you want a basic sparkling wine, Brut makes for a good standard. Plus, Brut’s lower amount of sugar pairs well with sweeter fruit juices like freshly squeezed orange juice.

Prosecco, orange juice, orange slices and three glasses of the best mimosas are on a tray. Whole oranges are to the left of the tray.

MIMOSA VARIATIONS

While getting out a juicer when all you want is a cocktail might seem like a pain, believe me when I tell you it’s worth it! Freshly squeezed juice is brighter and cleaner in taste than its pasteurized, store-bought counterpart. It also has better texture and body to it that makes for, well, better cocktails.

Want to mix up your citrus? Here are my favorite pairings:

  • Tangerine and Meyer Lemon
  • White Grapefruit and Orange
  • Blood Orange and Lime

WHAT’S THE BEST MIMOSA GLASS?

Here’s a fun fact: How we serve a mimosa now is not how it was traditionally served almost a century ago. One of the first published recipes for the mimosa calls for drinking it out of a wine glass … with ice. Now we associate it with the champagne flute, sans ice.

I think we should take a note from this change of drinking vessel and serve it however you’d like. If you want to stay within the wine glass category, stemless wine glasses are a more casual option. But go ahead with a traditional flute if it fits your occasion.

Eeasy mimosa in a glass with an orange slice inside. Two flutes of mimosa are behind the glass and oranges are behind the drinks.

HOW TO MAKE A MIMOSA

When you’re working with orange juice and a sparkling wine like prosecco that has lots of bubbles, start with the wine first and pour slowly.

Drinks can bubble and spill over when adding wine to an already partly-full glass of orange juice. If you don’t feel like your drink is properly mixed, give it a gentle stir with a long spoon or—my favorite mixing tool—a chopstick.

ZERO PROOF MIMOSAS

Love a mimosa but can’t have, or don’t want, the alcohol? You can sub in a nonalcoholic sparkling wine instead. There are so many great options out there now with the growing interest in nonalcoholic drinks. Here are a few of my picks:

HOW TO GARNISH YOUR MIMOSA

While a classic mimosa is great to drink, it’s a bit boring to look at. To garnish your drink, try some of these suggestions:

  • Rim your glass with sparkling sugar crystals or colored sanding sugar.
  • Add an orange wheel to your glass as well (blood oranges make a beautiful contrast).
  • Add a skewer of seasonal berries.

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Classic Mimosa Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail

Orange juice and champagne (or sparkling wine) is the classic mimosa combination, but don’t be afraid to play with citrus pairings. Try a mixture of orange and white grapefruit, or tangerine with a splash of Meyer lemon. One place I wouldn’t skimp is starting with freshly squeezed juice. It makes all the difference.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces prosecco
  • 2 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

For garnish:

  • 1 orange, thinly sliced

Method

1 Combine the juice and wine: In a flute or wine glass, pour in the prosecco and then the orange juice. Stir gently to combine.

2 Serve: Garnish with an orange wheel.

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Elana Lepkowski

Elana Lepkowski is a professional photographer, writer, and recipe developer with almost 20 years in the food industry. She began documenting her cocktails in 2011 after mixing drinks in her home bar for years, and her website Stir and Strain is now a widely recognized resource for cocktail enthusiasts. Elana has contributed to Serious Eats, Dinner Party Download, Imbibe, and numerous other publications. When she’s not concocting new syrups at home, you can probably find her at Disneyland.

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2 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lisa

    Add a float of Grand Marnier to make it a Morning Glory.

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Prosecco, orange juice, orange slices and three glasses of the best mimosas are on a tray. Whole oranges are to the left of the tray.Classic Mimosa