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Mimosas are hard not to like, whether you’re a wine buff, aspiring oenophile, or anything in between. Objectively speaking, the cold crispness, bright citrus, and bubbles of this simple wine cocktail make any brunch or daytime gathering better, and there are countless ways to customize your recipe. While some experts would rather save the Champagne for sipping on its own—and recommend using other sparkling wines that often get the job done just as well while simultaneously softening the blow to your wallet—many take the “drink what you want” approach, encouraging home bartenders to, well, just put Champagne in a mimosa if they feel like it.
Either way, there’s a Champagne or sparkling wine for everyone's next mimosa, so read on to find inspiration for your next round.
Best Overall: Bodegas Naveran Brut Cava 2018
Justus Benjamin, owner and wine curator at Boutique Vino in San Diego, is on team alternative sparkling wine. “Use something value-driven, like Prosecco from Valdobbiadene, the most prestigious regions of Prosecco, then send me the $50 you saved,” he jokes. “Cava, made in the same method and standards of Champagne, is also a great choice. Vintage Cava from Bodegas Naveran runs $15 and makes a mean peach mimosa.”
Region: Catalonia, Spain | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Ripe citrus, orchard fruit, ginger, toasty
Best Value: Pommery Brut Royal Champagne
“It's not about snobbery—mimosas are delicious, but orange juice is going to drown out any flavor nuance of the base wine, so it's OK to use an inexpensive Champagne in this drink,” explains Caroline Conner, a wine educator and current Master of Wine Student. “If it must be done, a great [affordable] Champagne that is widely available is Pommery Brut, whose sharp, citrus notes work with orange juice.” Pommery’s Brut Royal is the ultimate approachable expression of the Champagne region and is ideal for those who prefer a mimosa on the balanced and not-too-sweet end of the spectrum. Pro tip: Use freshly-squeezed orange juice when making mimosas (you’ll thank us later).
Region: Champagne, France | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Dried apple, almonds, honeysuckle
Best Sweet: Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne
For those with sweeter-leaning palates, wine expert Shalynn Simatovich recommends looking to the Demi-Sec subcategory of Champagnes, a designation defined by its sugar content of between 32 and 50 grams per liter (in comparison, the Brut subgroup contains less than 12 grams of sugar per liter). “My favorite champagne to use for mimosas is Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec—this is a great option for those who find Brut champagne to be too dry for their liking,” she says. “The acidity of the orange juice is a nice offset to the extra sweetness in this bottle. It is also great with pineapple juice for something a bit less traditional!”
Region: Champagne, France | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: Fruit, biscuit, honey
Best Rosé: Gratien & Meyer Crémant De Loire Brut Rosé
Let’s say you’re craving something Champagne-adjacent—not just in terms of method but also in proximity—but you’re hoping not to break the bank. The answer here is Crémant. Produced in various regions around France as well as in Luxembourg and Belgium, Crémant wines are essentially an affordable cousin of Champagne, and while each designation offers its own idiosyncrasies, let’s turn our attention to the Loire Valley, which has long been revered for its sparkling wines. Gratien & Meyer, which has been at it since 1864, is behind this delicious and elegant Brut Rosé, which is aged for three times the minimum aging requirement of Crémant (one year), bringing ripe red fruits, medium body, and complex finesse to a mimosa without losing its character to the presence of orange juice.
Region: Loire, France | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: Red berries, citrus, apple
Best Alternative: Graham Beck Brut NV Méthode Cap Classique
Like Cava, South Africa’s designated sparkling wine, Méthode Cap Classique, is also produced using the “Méthode Champenoise” (the process by which Champagne is made). And there’s something undeniably special about this Brut non-vintage—a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes—that not only represents the traditional method of making sparkling wine, but also serves as a window to the Cape and its terroir. After all, there’s a reason this wine was served at both Barack Obama’s presidential victory gathering and Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. At a surprisingly affordable price point, Graham Beck’s entry-level Brut and its notes of stone fruit, pastry, and white flowers and full, round body make it an excellent option to sip on its own or bring life to a few splashes of orange juice.
Region: Western Cape, South Africa | ABV: 12.2% | Tasting Notes: Fruity, fresh, cherry, cream
Best Non-Alcoholic: TÖST Sparkling Non-Alcoholic Beverage
If you’re opting out of consuming alcohol, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a good mimosa. Skip the Martinelli and try a more thoughtful alcohol-free sparkling alternative, like TÖST, a naturally-sweetened and low-sugar sparkling white tea with cranberry and ginger. It’s dry, refreshing, and delicious on its own, not to mention its beautiful wine bottle-esque presentation, making this non-alcoholic sparkling a thoughtful gift or surprise for anyone not partaking (yourself included). Try your TÖST mimosa with two parts sparkling and one part freshly-squeezed orange juice (you’ll want the cranberry and ginger notes to come through for complexity’s sake), then adjust the recipe to taste from there.
Region: Dorset, Vermont | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: White tea, white cranberry, ginger
Best Low-Dosage: Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature Champagne
“Billecart-Salmon has a great Brut Nature,” says Vincent Stilletti, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and manager at The Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn. According to Stilletti, this bone-dry Champagne (“Brut Nature” indicates that the wine contains less than 3 grams of sugar per liter) is ideal for those who find that the orange juice brings enough sweetness to a mimosa without the wine’s help. “[This is] a great skeleton to build a cocktail on without it getting too sweet, and will work with most juices, orange or otherwise,” Stilletti adds. Expect notes of toasted brioche and sharp-yet-elegant citrus on the nose, followed by a fruit-forward palate cushioned by freshly baked shortbread and soft florality.
Region: Champagne, France | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: White flesh fruits, lime trees, almond cream
Best Grower Champagne: Jacques Bardelot Brut Champagne
“If you’re looking for a go-to bubbly for your mimosas, Bardelot Brut is an excellent option,” says Katherine Wallace, senior category merchant of Domestic Wine, Sake & Specialty Wine at Whole Foods Market. “This wine is well-balanced with notes of apple, pear, and citrus, and finishes with crisp acidity and freshness—[because it’s] a brut, or dry wine, it pairs well with orange juice, and makes a perfect addition to a variety of breakfast entrées and sides.” Alternatively, Wallace adds, if you’re looking to mix things up, try swapping in a fun apéritif (Wallace recommends Mommenpop Blood Orange) in place of the orange juice.
When it comes to making mimosas, you can't go wrong with Cava, which is made in the same way as Champagne but comes in at an affordable price. We like the Bodegas Naveran Brut Cava 2018 (view at wine.com) for a great overall pick. If you like your mimosas on the sweeter side, try Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne (view at drizly.com).
What to Look for in Champagne for Mimosas
Different varieties of sparking wines, including brut, seco, doux, blanc, noirs, and rosé, will vary in taste and level of sweetness, due to the various types of grapes used to make them. Nonalcoholic sparkling wines are also available.
Depending on the variety of sparkling wine you choose, the sweetness level will vary. Brut is the least sweet (or driest) variety, whereas doux is the sweetest. Orange juice brings in its own level of sweetness to mimosas, which some people use to balance out drier types of Champagne. It is all about flavor and mouthfeel preference.
What you can afford to spend on a bottle should be a consideration. Champagne is considered a luxury or a drink for a special celebration, and its price can vary by type and region. Look for a sparkling wine that is within your price range, in whatever variety you prefer.
How do I navigate the different styles of Champagne?
“Champagne offers tremendous depth and variety, from drier, extra brut wines and fruit-forward rosés to niche demi-sec offerings, so I would encourage consumers to first explore entry-level Champagnes from different producers to learn the subtle nuances that fit their palate,” says Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht. By doing this, he explains, you’ll start to become familiar with the various styles of Champagne—for example, Brut Nature, Brut, and Demi-Sec—which are generally defined by their dosage level, or how much sugar is added to the wine. These terms can be a bit confusing, as “dry” in English means not sweet, while the literal term for “dry” in French is “sec,” which is used to denote Champagnes on the sweeter end of the spectrum.
If you like bone-dry Champagnes, look for bottles that say Extra Brut or Brut Nature; if you like something a little softer, plain old Brut—the most well-known and widely-available style—is a safe bet. Palates that lean sweeter should go for (in ascending order of sweetness) Extra-Sec (off-dry), Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux.
Should Champagne be chilled for mimosas?
When making any cocktail—particularly one that’s not served over ice—chilled ingredients are most ideal in that the colder the collective initial temperature of the drink, the longer it takes to dwindle down to room temperature. Nobody likes a room-temperature mimosa (unless that’s your thing, in which case we won’t judge). If both your orange juice and bubbly are chilled, you’ll be good to go.
How do you estimate how many bottles of Champagne you'll need for mimosas for a party?
The easiest way to determine how many drinks to make for a crowd is to figure out how many people will be drinking and the average number of drinks each guest will have. Then, based on your mimosa recipe, you’ll be able to estimate the amount of sparkling wine and orange juice you’ll need, but be sure to have a few extra bottles on hand in case any of your guests end up thirstier than anticipated.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Wine and spirits writer Céline Bossart has long been a proponent of sparkling wines—from her Asti-soaked college days in Italy to present day (she’s currently sipping an extra dry sparkling Riesling while writing this).