Indian Summer I

Summer isn’t over yet!

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

It seems like as soon as the calendar turned to September 1, the Internet started exploding with all things pumpkin, apple and spice. But let’s not forget that we technically still have two whole weeks before we officially say au revoir to the warmest season of the year!

Granted, I do have some tasty fall-themed recipe ideas lined up for you in the coming weeks, but before we get to that, I wanted to leave you with a couple more summer-inspired cocktail recipes, the first of which I’ll be sharing with you today. Yes, they are both called Indian Summer (hence the “Indian Summer I” and, next week, the “Indian Summer II”) but although there will be a couple of similarities (mostly the beautiful orangeish-red color) they each are pretty darn unique in their own way.

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

My friend Vanessa and I came up with these Indian Summer cocktail recipes in preparation for our other friend’s “Convention of Cocktails” birthday party we attended over Labor Day weekend. Basically, everyone teamed up in groups of 2 or 4, and had to come up with a unique cocktail recipe. Then the birthday gal and her hubby-to-be made the rounds and tasted everything, eventually deciding on a winner. Isn’t that such a great party idea? We definitely all need to start planning some of those.

We actually decided to make the Indian Summer II for the party (which I’ll be sharing next week,) but I dare say this Indian Summer I would have put up just as much competition against the other drinks vying for the prize.

We knew the birthday gal liked bubbles, so needed to create something that had at least a splash of sparkling wine in it if we had any chance of winning. My hubby also just so happened to have received a new product to try, Ciroc Mango Vodka and, because it was getting rave reviews, had been encouraging me to make up a cocktail recipe with it.

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

Vanessa and I decided to combine the mango vodka with the bubbles, some date caramel for sweetness (yes, you can get it premade…I used this exact one for the recipe!) and a healthy dash of Aperol to really bring that sunset color home. If nothing else, this Indian Summer cocktail was going to be a beaut!

But boy, it did not end up letting down in taste either. You get some fantastic tropical flavor from the mango vodka (to always remind us of these glorious summer days), the perfect healthy sweetness from the date caramel, a balance of bitter from the Aperol, and of course….BUBBLES!!!! We also just had to garnish with a fresh lime wedge to cap off the summery feel and add just a touch of acidity. Do we have all of the tastes covered or what?

The great news is, you can adjust this drink with a little more or less of each ingredient, depending on how sweet, bitter or acidic you like your cocktails to be. Taste too strong? Try adding a tad more date caramel. Don’t like the bitterness of Aperol? Use less (or none at all, although then you’ll really be missing out on that beautiful color.) It’s totally up to you!

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

Indian Summer I is the perfect drink to savor these last few beach weekends, before we start cozying up indoors and devoting our weekends to watching football. So go grab yourself these ingredients, order some date caramel, and whip some of these up ASAP. We’ll squeeze out every last ounce of the season as if our lives depended on it!

Indian Summer I
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
A sparkling wine cocktail with tropical mango and lime flavors to help say farewell to summer.
  • ½ teaspoon date caramel
  • 1 ounce mango-flavored vodka we used Ciroc Mango
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • 3-4 ounces sparkling wine depending on glass size
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  1. Add date caramel and vodka to a champagne flute. Stir together so date caramel isn’t just sitting in the bottom of the glass.
  2. Add Aperol, then sparkling wine, and garnish with a lime wedge.

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Indian Summer I |


Oh heeeey bae….

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