We know what you’re thinking: a magnificent mimosa? Is that a thing? Isn’t it just orange juice and cheap sparkling? Well, like most things, the mimosa can be vastly improved given the right helping of tenderness, love, and care.
The mimosa is widely considered to be a bottom shelf cocktail. Many of us see it as both an excuse to drink before noon and a reason to buy the cheapest corner store bubbly one can. Well, this is when the record-scratch sound effect kicks in. Mimosas can be top shelf, provided you knock out a few important steps on the cocktail’s to-do list.
Natalie Sexton runs Natalie’s Juice Company. The woman-led outfit specializes in fresh fruit juices, including an award-winning OJ. Unsurprisingly, Sexton says the key to a classy mimosa is fresh, high-quality ingredients.
“Let’s start with the sparkling wine,” Sexton says. “Most people mistakenly believe you have to use an expensive Champagne from France, but that’s not always true. While a brut Champagne will work, a Cava from Spain or a dry Prosecco from Italy are excellent.” The key is enhancing the flavor of the juice in question. For her mimosas, Sexton suggests Luminore’s.
Next comes the juice. “Avoid the off-the-shelf, major brand juices as they have shelf-life stabilizers that dampen the flavor profile and are often over-pasteurized, leaving a flat and uninspired taste,” she says. “It makes a world of difference when it comes to making or breaking the quality of your mimosa.”
What to serve it in? While vintage champagne glasses are enjoying a renaissance at the moment, they tend not to hold on to carbonation quite as well. Sexton opts to go with a standard Champagne flute. “I prefer crystal as it is a little heavier and less prone to accidentally spilling over,” she says. “The flute not only preserves the effervescence of the bubbly, it also makes a dependable mixing guide.”
Temperature is fairly important, too, as is typically the case when dealing with carbonated beverages. Keep the bubbly cool by either returning it to the fridge when not used or keeping it in an ice bucket or insulated sleeve. Also, cap it properly when not pouring with a proper stopper.
While we don’t ever really recommend treating an expensive bottle of sparkling to juice (the high-end stuff is to be enjoyed on its own, people), we can suggest dialing back the juice ratio as the quality of the sparkling wine goes up. A shorter juice pour will still impart color and a bit of a citrus kick while allowing you to enjoy the flavor and texture of the wine.
And returning to the theme of class, we cannot overlook looks. “Presentation is also important, so be sure to top your glass with a garnish of your choice,” she continues. “I love a fresh berry, usually a blueberry or raspberry, but others might use a thin slice of orange or even lemon.”
With a mimosa, preparing the drink is less important than the ingredients. There’s no need for stirring or mixing (that will just dampen the carbonation), just combining and enjoying. A couple of solid juices are suggested here but we also encourage you to make your own orange juice at home. For more flavor, swap the ever-common navel orange for a Valencia variety.
- 2/3 parts sparkling wine (she suggests )
- 1/3 parts orange juice (go with Natalie’s or Whole Foods organic)
- orange slice for garnish
Method: Pour the all of the ingredients in the glass. When the fizz settles, top with a bit more Prosecco and garnish with a slice of citrus.
Read more: Best Champagne for Mimosas
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