Add Cointreau To Your Mimosa For A Sweeter Taste

A simple combination of orange juice and sparkling wine, the mimosa is the reigning champ when it comes to early-in-the-day tipples. In fact, in a Tasting Table survey on favorite brunch cocktails, readers picked the mimosa over other classics like the Bloody Mary and the screwdriver. The origins of the fizzy, citrusy drink are murky at best, but the mimosa has been delighting eaters of omelets and pancakes since at least the 1920s. In all those years, plenty of mixologists and home bartenders have experimented with the drink, like swapping store-bought orange juice for the fresh-squeezed juice of Sumo oranges for an instant upgrade. There are other ways to play with the flavors of the mimosa, though, and enhance its bright, tart, sweet profile. One effortless game-changer is adding Cointreau.

Cointreau is a premium orange liqueur. While the company behind it remains tight-lipped about how it's made, there's plenty to know about Cointreau, like that it debuted in France in 1849. It is a kind of triple sec made with sweet and bitter orange peels and is around 40% alcohol by volume. Cointreau has that fuller, silky mouthfeel of a liqueur, and beautifully balances the sweetness and tartness of oranges, so it would perfectly complement a mimosa. It would enhance the orange juice with more bright flavor, while simultaneously tempering acidity and providing more of a velvety feel in every sip. For an easy comparison, consider that Cointreau is also an ingredient in the iconic Cosmopolitan, where it balances tart cranberry.

What is the right amount of Cointreau to add?

There are other orange liqueurs you might think to use to achieve this effect in your mimosa. Just like there are different types of sparkling wine, from French Champagne to Italian Prosecco to Spanish Cava, there's a selection of not just Cointreau, but other triple secs, plus curaçao and Grand Marnier. Cointreau is an easy win for the mimosa, though: It's a premium version of triple sec, curaçao is significantly sweeter and could make your mimosa cloying, and Grand Marnier is made with cognac and has warmer, brandy-like notes of baking spices, which could clash with the mimosa's orange tang and sparkling wine zip. The only other thing you need to know on your way to your new and improved mimosa is exactly how much Cointreau to add. 

The answer is pretty simple, which is that it's probably not as much as you think. Because of that lush bit of viscosity and sweetness in liqueur, a little goes a long way. After all, you want to enhance your mimosa, not drown out its refreshing citrus-and-bubbles magic. The ideal mimosa has 3 ounces of Champagne, 1½ ounces of orange juice, and ½-ounce of Cointreau, but other juices will work as well. Pineapple, grapefruit, or pomegranate would all taste just as good with the complement of Cointreau.

Simply shake the orange juice and Cointreau in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain it into a chilled flute, and top it with the Champagne. Garnish with an orange twist or slice or, really, whatever fruit you prefer, and then enjoy your new favorite mimosa.