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Few things make brunch more festive than a mimosa. While the original recipe for the mimosa as well as its inspiration, the Buck’s Fizz, called for Champagne, I hate to waste an expensive bottle by drowning its delicate character with a flood of freshly squeezed O.J. (Even worse: store-bought.) An inexpensive dry sparkling wine makes more sense to me. That’s why there’s always a bottle of cava in the fridge at this time of year. (There are also bottles of Prosecco and other sparkling wines at the ready because they’re fun and enjoyable whether it’s Tuesday or Christmas.)
You can count on cava made in a Brut or Brut Nature style to be dry with lemony and nutty flavours that are similar to non-vintage champagne. That makes it the best base for mimosas or any other sparkling-wine cocktail in my books. They work equally well as a solo act. Bottles typically retail between $15 to $20. Half-bottles are readily available, too, luckily for those who only wish to have a glass or two.
To my taste, fruitier styles of sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or sekt, aren’t as effective in a mimosa. Often sweeter, they compete with the flavour. You’re really just looking for something fizzy and a touch boozy to give lift to the orange juice.
Of course, follow your own tastebuds or use what ingredients you have at home. If you only have Prosecco on hand, go for it.
Like all classic cocktails, the mimosa has been subject to interpretation over the years. Some people like to also add a small splash of Grand Marnier for richness and depth to the juice and bubbles. Orange juice can be easily be traded for other fruit juices. Cranberry juice often plays the starring role at this time of year for a drink some call a poinsettia. I’ve had enjoyable versions made with pineapple, pomegranate, blood orange, grapefruit and other juices as well.
If you’re reaching for peach purée or juice, however, I’ll change my answer for the best bubbly to use. You’re in bellini territory now, where the stone-fruit essence of a well-made Prosecco offers the ideal complement to your cheerful cocktail.