If holiday cheer were a cocktail, it would be a Cranberry Mimosa. Garnished with red and green and rising with jolly little bubbles to meet a sweet, white sugar rim, it comes as no surprise this beautiful and elegant holiday cocktail is also known as the Christmas Mimosa!
All you need for this impressive, 5-minute cocktail is your favorite Champagne (or Prosecco), cranberry juice, and maybe a splash of Grand Marnier...if you're feeling a touch naughty, that is. It's quick, simple, and perfect for entertaining!
After just one joyful sip, you'll soon see this cocktail is too good to enjoy just once a year! Take full advantage of its ease and deliciousness at fall and winter brunches, and other holidays like Thanksgiving, and New Year's Eve!
If you're looking for more holiday cocktail ideas, check out our Pomegranate Martini next!
HOW TO MAKE A CRANBERRY MIMOSA
- Pour the Sparkling Wine - Tilt your glass to a 45° angle and pour in about four ounces of champagne. This amount of liquid should fill the champagne flute about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way full.
- Add Cranberry Juice - Add a generous splash of cranberry juice cocktail, and if desired, a splash (about a half ounce) of orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier.
GARNISHES FOR CRANBERRY MIMOSAS
Before we cover how you get that gorgeous Christmastime garnish intact, it's more than noteworthy to say you'll need to add the sugar rim to your glass before you add liquid to it.
Here's what you'll need for the ultimate Christmas Mimosa garnish:
- An orange
- Granulated sugar and a small plate or bowl
- Fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- Sprigs of fresh rosemary (about five inches long)
While these garnishes are optional, they are highly recommended as they add wonderful aromatics, flavor, and balance to this seriously simple cocktail! You can pick and choose your favorites, and note, if you do not intend to have a sugar rim, you will not need the orange.
Orange and cranberry are a classic pairing and the two flavors go tremendously well together. The orange serves three purposes in this Cranberry Mimosa recipe; it will add great flavor to the rim of the glass, enables the sugar to stick to the rim, and it can be used as an extra garnish (if desired).
HOW TO GARNISH A CRANBERRY MIMOSA
- Ready the Sugar - Have ready a small plate or bowl with a small heap of granulated sugar in the center, about a quarter cup.
- Cut the Orange - Cut an orange into thick, ¼" slices. Then, cut each slice into quarters so that you have four orange wedges. Once you've done this, cut a slit down the center of each wedge.
- Add Sugar Rim - Run the orange along the rim of the glass and swirl the rim of the glass in the sugar until it is well-coated. (Check out our full Sugar Rim post for more details!)
- Pour the Cocktail - Add the sparkling wine, cranberry juice cocktail, and orange liqueur (if using) as directed above.
- Garnish - Add 2-3 cranberries, a sprig of fresh rosemary, and hook an orange wedge on the rim of the glass.
Warning: While totally gorgeous to look at, raw cranberries are extremely tart, and as a whole, this garnish is more of a "look, don't eat" kind of ensemble.
HOW TO SET UP A CHRISTMAS MIMOSA BAR
With Cranberry Mimosas being such a festive holiday treat, it's likely you are making them for entertaining purposes and serving a crowd. It's not advised to make these cocktails fully assembled in advance as the sparkling wine will lose its bubbles...and that's half the fun.
Things you can do in advance, however, is prepare the glasses with sugar rims, and have ready the garnishes in a bowl off to the side.
A small condiment bowl will work wonderfully for the cranberries, and if you have a small bud vase, it'll make for a lovely presentation with the rosemary sprouting out.
It's also best if you have a champagne chiller or ice bucket you can use to keep the sparkling wine cold. This makes a huge difference in the way the cocktail sips. It's a much more pleasurable drinking experience when the bubbles are tight and crisp! You'll also want to make sure your cranberry juice cocktail is chilled in advance as well.
Consider transferring the cranberry juice to a smaller pitcher or decanter since only a splash is needed for the cocktail. This will make it easier to pour.
Before serving, make sure all of the ingredients and garnishes are grouped near one another and allow your guests to assemble their Cranberry Mimosa at their leisure!
CRANBERRY MIMOSA INGREDIENTS
- Chilled Sparkling Wine
- Chilled Cranberry Juice
- Orange Liqueur (optional)
WHICH SPARKLING WINE SHOULD I BUY?
There are many different options when it comes to buying sparkling wine for Cranberry Mimosas. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and Rosé are all very popular, just to name a few.
The varietal or type of bubbly you buy isn't really all that important, but what is important is the taste. Purchase a sparkling wine you would enjoy drinking on its own, without the added juice. Remember -- this is going to be the predominant flavor of your cocktail.
If you like a dryer wine (meaning not as sweet), go with a non-vintage Champagne, Cava, Brut, or Extra Brut. If you like a little added touch of sweetness, opt for a Processo or Rosé instead. You can read more about the scale of sweetness in sparkling wines here.
NEED A MOCKTAIL ALTERNATIVE?
If you've got young ones or non-drinkers in your crowd, serve them a sparkling Cranberry Mimosa mocktail! Just nix the sparkling wine and sub in sparkling water or club soda in its place!
CRANBERRY JUICE OR CRANBERRY JUICE COCKTAIL
As mentioned above, cranberries are very tart. Very tart. The juice makers of the world are well aware, and because of this, those cranberry juice bottles labeled "100% juice" are 100% juice indeed...it's just not all cranberry juice. Other fruits like apple and grape are added to the blend to mellow out that puckering flavor.
Bottles labeled "Cranberry Juice Cocktail," however, are cranberry and cranberry only. Well, that and some extra sugar for some added sweetness.
Either one will work in a Cranberry Mimosa, but if you want a cranberry-forward cocktail, opt for the Cranberry Juice Cocktail.
5 MORE COCKTAIL RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
A delicious, festive recipe for quick and easy Cranberry Mimosas! Plus, how to garnish them with a sugar rim and festive Christmas touches.
- 1 orange
- Granulated sugar (about a ¼ cup)
- 4 ounces (about a ½ cup) cold sparkling wine
- 1 ounce cranberry juice cocktail
- ½ ounce orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
- Frozen cranberries
- Sprigs of fresh rosemary
If garnishing the glass with a sugar rim, slice the orange into wheels and cut each wheel into quarters. Cut a slit down the center of the quarter. Have ready a small plate with a scant mound of granulated sugar.
Use the slit to run an orange wedge along the rim of the glass, preferably a champagne flute. Swirl the rim of the glass in the granulated sugar.
Tilt the glass at about a 45° angle and pour in the sparkling wine. You want the glass to be about ⅔s to ¾s of the way full.
Add a splash of cranberry juice cocktail and orange liqueur (if using). No need to stir. Garnish with a few cranberries, a sprig of rosemary, and an orange wedge, if desired.