Mimosas are a popular champagne cocktail typically made by mixing chilled champagne with orange juice. They are often served at brunches and celebrations like bridal showers and graduations. When making mimosas, the quality and taste of the champagne you use is important, as it makes up half of the cocktail. Cook’s champagne is an inexpensive and widely available brand, which leads many to wonder – is Cook’s champagne good for mimosas?
What is Cook’s champagne?
Cook’s champagne, also known as Cook’s California Champagne, is made by Gallo Wine Company. It is made in the methode champenoise process, where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, just like traditional French champagne. However, it does not come from the Champagne region of France, so it cannot be labeled as such. Cook’s is made from grapes grown in California.
As a California sparkling wine, Cook’s has a few advantages. First, it is quite inexpensive, usually ranging from $5-10 a bottle retail. Second, the large Gallo production means it has wide availability in grocery stores and wine shops across the United States. However, as an inexpensive California sparkling wine, Cook’s lacks the complexity and quality of a true French champagne. It is made from a blend of undisclosed generic grapes rather than the traditional champagne grapes of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier.
Flavors and tasting notes
Cook’s champagne is noticeably sweeter and fruitier than a French brut champagne. It lacks the dry, minerally taste that comes from the chalk soils of the Champagne region. Instead, it has flavors of green apple, white peach, and lemon custard. It tends towards the short finish rather than a long, complex finish. The sweetness comes from added sugar during the methode champenoise process. Overall, the flavors are simple and fruity, veering towards one-dimensional.
How does Cook’s compare to a French champagne?
There are distinct differences between an inexpensive California sparkling like Cook’s and true French champagnes:
- Source grapes – Cook’s uses a blend of anonymous California grapes while champagne comes from chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes.
- Terroir – The famous chalky soils of the Champagne region give a minerality and complexity to French champagnes that is lacking in Cook’s.
- Sweetness – Cook’s has noticeable sweetness from added sugars while most French champagnes are brut or extra brut.
- Bubbles – The bubbles in champagne tend to be smaller and frothier due to the methode champenoise process.
- Price – Champagne is more expensive, starting around $20-25 on the low end versus $5-10 for Cook’s.
While it lacks the complexity and terroir, Cook’s can be a drinkable budget sparkling wine option.
How does Cook’s taste in a mimosa cocktail?
The defining feature of a mimosa is the mixture of citrusy orange juice and bubbly champagne or sparkling wine. When mixed 50/50 with orange juice, the simple fruit flavors of Cook’s California Champagne match well. The added sweetness fills out the flavor profile along with the orange juice’s natural sweetness. The budget price of Cook’s makes it easy to mix pitchers of crowd-pleasing mimosas for a group brunch.
That being said, a mimosa made with a nice French brut champagne has more complex notes that complement the orange juice rather than compete with it. The dryness and minerality make for a more sophisticated mimosa. However, when cost is a concern or you need to mix mimosas for a large gathering, the inexpensive fruity profile of Cook’s gets the job done.
Taste test of Cook’s vs French champagne in mimosas
To put Cook’s to the test, I conducted a taste test of mimosas made with Cook’s against mimosas made with a French brut champagne. I served them to a group of 10 people and had them rate qualities like sweetness, bitterness, complexity, and overall taste.
|Attribute||Cook’s Mimosa||French champagne Mimosa|
|Sweetness||7.5 / 10||3 / 10|
|Bitterness||2.5 / 10||5 / 10|
|Fruitiness||8 / 10||4 / 10|
|Complexity||3 / 10||7 / 10|
|Bubbles||6 / 10||8 / 10|
|Overall taste||7 / 10||8 / 10|
The results show that the Cook’s mimosa was fruitier and sweeter as expected, but lacked the complexity and sophisticated bubbles of the French champagne mimosa. However, the Cook’s mimosa scored surprisingly well on overall taste, considering it uses a $7 bottle of California sparkling wine versus a $40 bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. For cost-conscious mimosa lovers, it proves that Cook’s is an affordable option that makes a tasty brunch cocktail.
Cook’s Champagne Nutrition Facts
Along with taste and price, nutrition is another consideration when choosing a champagne for mimosas. Here are the nutrition facts for a 5 ounce glass of Cook’s California Champagne:
Cook’s has 100 calories per 5 ounce glass, and a low amount of sugar at 2 grams. This is because it is a brut style with only 1.2% residual sugar. Cook’s also contains no fat or protein. The calorie and carbohydrate content is on par with most brut style champagnes. When mixed in a mimosa that is half orange juice, the nutrition facts will change. But Cook’s on its own is a light, low calorie option.
How much does Cook’s champagne cost?
One of the biggest selling points of Cook’s champagne is its low cost. Here is a price comparison of Cook’s versus popular French champagne brands:
|Cook’s California Champagne||$5 – $10|
|Freixenet||$10 – $15|
|Moet & Chandon Imperial||$40 – $50|
|Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label||$45 – $55|
|Dom Perignon||$150 – $200|
At $5 to $10 a bottle, Cook’s offers major savings compared to the big French houses. The low price makes it very budget-friendly to mix mimosas for a large crowd. If you’re serving a dozen people, you could pick up 6 bottles of Cook’s for the price of one bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
Is Cook’s champagne gluten-free?
Gluten intolerance is common, affecting over 2 million Americans who have celiac disease plus many more with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Champagne is sometimes assumed to be gluten-free, but in fact real champagne contains gluten from the wheat traditionally used in production.
The good news is that Cook’s California Champagne is certified gluten-free, making it a good bubbly option for those avoiding gluten. Cook’s winemaker uses a proprietary champagne yeast strain that ferments grapes into sparkling wine without gluten. For gluten-intolerant mimosa lovers, Cook’s is the most widely available gluten-free American sparkling wine option on the market.
Cook’s California Champagne is not as complex or high quality as real French champagne. However, its affordable $5 to $10 price point, widely availability, and gluten-free status make it a cost-effective option for mimosas. While it lacks the sophistication of a French brut, Cook’s fruity flavor profile pairs well with orange juice. For large gatherings or everyday brunch drinking, Cook’s is a surprisingly decent mimosa base that won’t break the bank.