Lavender Collins

There’s no better way to get back in the cocktail game than with a light and refreshing Lavender Collins!

This Lavender Collins is a fun, fresh take on the classic gin cocktail.

It’s been a hot second since I’ve done a cocktail Friday post, and I figured that, this being the first official weekend of spring and all, it’s the perfect time to do so with a drink that just epitomizes the season. And it’s my favorite kind of cocktail – not too boozy, not overly sweet, tons of intriguing flavor…Oh, I do hope you enjoy this Lavender Collins as much as I did.

I’ve been wanting to  whip up a cocktail using lavender and gin for quite some time now – ever since I saw the combo in a cocktail recipe in Food & Wine mag – but then this little thing happened where I got pregnant and, well, I really couldn’t think of any nonalcoholic version that would do the flavors justice. So I shelved the idea and I’m so glad I’m just now circling back to it because it really is the perfect drink for the season!

A Lavender Collins is the perfect cocktail for Easter, Sunday brunch or any spring get-together.

We’ve endured quite the rainstorm over the past couple of days, but today the sun is finally starting to poke back through again. I realize our “storm” is probably quite miniscule compared to what all you out on the East Coast ever experience, but I must say it’s days like the ones we’ve just had that remind me how lucky we are to live in an area that only sees this type of weather a few times a year.

Weather aside, I couldn’t be more excited to step into spring with this Lavender Collins. I mean, not only am I totally jazzed that I can enjoy cocktails again, I’m also pretty stoked about the flavor of this boozy beverage.

Make a delicious Lavender Collins with just gin, lavender simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and club soda!

And it doesn’t take much! We’re talking about a four-ingredient recipe right here (okay, maybe six if you count the simple syrup ingredients separately) and about 15 minutes between you and your new favorite Friday cocktail for the foreseeable future.

The most difficult (and really, not that difficult) part of this whole recipe is making the lavender simple syrup, but as long as you can boil water and get a hold of some fresh (or culinary) lavender you should be a-ok.

Other than that, all you need is your favorite gin, some fresh lemons and club soda. Who knew something so delicious could be so easy?

A Lavender Collins is the perfect cocktail to kick off the first weekend of spring!

If you’re a fan of floral, botanical flavor and a light, refreshing drink to kick off your weekend, then this Lavender Collins is for you.

How will you be spending the first weekend of spring??

Lavender Collins
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A light, refreshing take on the classic gin cocktail with tons of botanical flavor - the perfect drink to enjoy all spring!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce lavender simple syrup (see Notes)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces club soda
  • Culinary lavender and lemon wheels, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Stir to combine.

  2. Sprinkle on culinary lavender and hang a lemon wheel on the rim for garnish. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

To make the Lavender Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 3-5 sprigs of fresh lavender in a small saucepan and bring to a heavy simmer. Turn down to a low simmer and let cook until mixture has reduced by half (about 10-15 minutes.) Pull out lavender sprigs and bring to room temperature before making your cocktail.

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Cocktails and Mocktails

TGIF!

Caribou | CaliGirlCooking.com

Boy, what a week it has been. We’re still seeking refuge from the SoCal smoke up north, at least for a few more days, and I’m writing this at the eleventh hour so I’m going to keep things short, but I couldn’t let you kick off the second to last weekend before Christmas without the promised roundup of CGC’s Top 15 Cocktails and Mocktails!

So, without further ado….

A Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini is the perfect easy cocktail to whip up all through the month of December!

1. FESTIVE CRANBERRY CLEMENTINE MARTINI
2. CARIBOU
3. WINTER SPICED VANILLA EGGNOG

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com

4. CRANBERRY GINGER MULE
5. SPARKLING CITRUS VANILLA PUNCH
6. SPARKLING POMEGRANATE PARTY PUNCH

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

7. ALMOND MILK EGGNOG HOT CHOCOLATE
8. PEAR, POMEGRANATE AND BOURBON PUNCH
9. SPIKED PEAR CIDER

A mug of Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect hot toddy for the holidays.

10. APPLE CINNAMON “FAUX-MOSA”
11. BOILO (A TWIST ON THE HOT TODDY)
12. FROM-SCRATCH SLOW COOKER SPICED APPLE CIDER
13. WARMING GINGER TEA WHISKEY COCKTAIL
14. BOOZY SPICED HOT APPLE CIDER

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com

15. CITRUS VANILLA SPARKLER

Okay, now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite holiday cocktails and mocktails! Leave ’em in the comments below!

Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch

Because every holiday season needs a delicious punch recipe!

This Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch is the perfect batch drink to serve a crowd!

I mean, am I right? We are, after all, in the season of entertaining, and nobody wants to spend their entire dinner party mixing up individual cocktails for every single guest. Nope, you need a delicious batch cocktail recipe that is festive, features some of the best flavors of the season and is super easy to throw together. Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you that this Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch is the answer!

If you know me, you know that I’m a hard-core sparkling wine lover. In fact, if I had to choose just one type of alcoholic beverage to enjoy for the rest of my life, it would be bubbles. There are so many different varieties, from dry to sweet, pink to star-bright, incredibly effervescent to just a light spritz. I love them all (enjoyed in the appropriate time and place) and ESPECIALLY enjoy them at this festive time of year. Doesn’t everyone?

Which is exactly why I decided to use sparkling wine as the base for this uber-tasty Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch. It lends the perfect celebratory touch to the other flavors of orange, lemon and vanilla, and has the added bonus of not being sooo high octane that your party guests will have one glass and end up needing to call a cab home. It’s the perfect drink for a crowd and comes together with no fancy bar tools or ingredients. My kind of holiday cocktail!

A pitcher of this Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch is the perfect drink to serve at your holiday get-together.

As far as what type of sparkling wine to use, feel free to use your own creative license here based on your personal tastes. I opted for a medium-quality dry cava (Segura Viudas to be exact) because that just happens to be our “house” sparkling wine. (Yes, we have one. Hey, my husband’s in the liquor industry!) I also don’t like my drinks too sweet, but if you’re entertaining a more sweet wine-loving crowd, by all means go for something with a little residual sugar to it.

You’ll just need a few more ingredients besides the sparkling wine to make this Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch a tasty reality at your holiday get-together:

Fresh orange and lemon juice, both of which should be incredibly easy to obtain, especially at this time of year.
Grand Marnier to add a little extra kick.
Simple syrup (which you can easily buy if you’re too lazy to make.)
And last, but not least, some vanilla extract!

See, I told you it was easy 😉

A glass of this Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch is the perfect, easy cocktail to serve party guests.

You’ll want to make sure your sparkling wine and citrus juices are chilled ahead of time, but when it comes time for your guests to arrive, you’ll literally need less than 5 minutes and a tall pitcher or punch bowl to throw this Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch together. I don’t know about you, but that’s my kind of party recipe! Cheers to a wonderful holiday weekend!

Sparkling Citrus Vanilla Punch
Prep Time
5 mins
 

A fun, festive punch recipe featuring the best winter flavors including lemon, orange and vanilla. Perfect for your next get-together!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 5 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice, chilled
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, chilled
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 750mL bottle sparkling wine
  • Orange and lemon wheels, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl. 

  2. Garnish with orange and lemon wheels and enjoy!

Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte (No Sugar Added!)

The ultimate Thanksgiving treat!

A couple of Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the perfect treat for the holidays!

Because every pumpkin spice latte deserves a little bourbon in it for a long holiday weekend. Am I right? Seriously, though, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Yes, me, the queen of spiking my coffee with Bailey’s and enjoying hot toddies like my OG favorite, Boilo. It only makes complete sense that we should dress up the annual favorite espresso drink with a little sumpin’ sumpin’, and bourbon sure fits the bill!

Annnnndddd, we’re making this Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte CaliGirl Cooking-friendly by using only REAL pumpkin and spices…none of this super-sweet syrupy stuff you get at your neighborhood chain coffee shop (not gonna name names here.)

A Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte will spice up any holiday get-together!

That’s right, this five-ingredient recipe contains no added sugar, so it can basically be called a health food (save for the bourbon of course, which I suppose you could leave out if you really want to be SUPER healthy, but where’s the fun in that?) So here are those five ingredients we’re looking at:

Espresso
Pumpkin purée
Bourbon
Milk of your choice
Pumpkin pie spice
And, if you’re feeling fancy, a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cinnamon stick to garnish

Pretty easy, right?

This Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte has been largely responsible for keeping me out of the coffee shops that become so addicting with their “red cups” and special holiday drinks this time of year (well, that and the fact that I have a three week-old on my hands :-P) It’s creamy and delicious, with a wonderful pumpkin spice flavor that won’t leave you with a sugar hangover. Let’s leave that to all the pie and other fancy desserts we’ll be indulging in this weekend.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, feel free to just use a little bit of regular coffee as the caffeine source for said Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte. It won’t be quite as potent, but who needs tons of caffeine on a lazy holiday weekend, anyway?

This Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte has no added sugar and is made with REAL pumpkin!

Speaking of the holiday weekend, what are your plans? We are headed up to NorCal tonight to spend the long weekend with our families, and it will be Raia’s first long car trip. Any tips or tricks on how to make it through a four-hour drive with an almost one-month old? So far our plan is to just take our time and have no expectations about when we’ll get there. Hopefully that relaxed attitude about it all will make the trip a breeze!

We’ll be spending Thanksgiving day with my husband’s family, then heading over to Santa Cruz to see my family on Friday, with a stop to cut down a Christmas tree in between. The hubs and I have been cutting down our own tree every year since we started dating, so we’re very excited to continue the tradition with the newest addition to our family.

Other than that, we plan on doing lots of relaxing, eating and I’m sure watching allll the football, which means we’ll have plenty of time to whip up some tasty Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes while we’re at it. Who else is with me?

A Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte is the perfect treat for fall festivities.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

*Programming Note: I’ll be taking a break from posting on Friday so we can really enjoy the weekend with our family and friends. I’ll be back in action on Monday and can’t wait to tell you all about our trip! Xo

Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte (No Sugar Added!)
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This spiked version of the classic fall espresso drink contains real pumpkin and no added sugar - the perfect balanced treat for the holidays!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 espresso shots (or more if you want the extra caffeine!)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 8 ounces milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon or cinnamon stick, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.

  2. Divide mixture into two mugs and microwave until hot, 1 ½ - 2 minutes.

  3. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cinnamon stick and enjoy immediately!

Bourbon-Spiked Pumpkin Spice Latte (No Sugar Added!) | CaliGirlCooking.com

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy

I hope you’re ready for a cocktail that’s as easy as it is delicious!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the most delicious, easy fall cocktail!

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is quite likely the drink of any fall-lover’s dreams. After all, the two ingredients involved include pumpkin and apple, which we all know are the stars of the show for the months of at least September, October, November and maybe even December. And who doesn’t want a crowd-pleasing beverage that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice?

In case you’re not quite familiar with what a shandy is (aka “radler” in German), it’s basically a low-octane cocktail made with a mixture of light lager and some sort of citrus juice. Now, I’m not one to normally want to mix my beer with anything, but when it comes to pumpkin-flavored beer mixed with my favorite apple cider, I can certainly make an exception!

Pumpkin beer and apple cider are the only two ingredients you need for this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy!

And now that I’m breastfeeding our little one, I’m all about the low-octane drinks. Less alcohol + more liquids equal better hydration, which we all know is really important when you’re feeding for two!

At this time of year there is certainly no shortage of pumpkin beers out there, so feel free to use your favorite. To be honest, I’ve been a little bummed that Trader Joe’s hasn’t had a bigger selection this season, but I’ve still been able to find some of my favorites at stores like BevMo and Gelson’s. Right now the two I really like that I can seem to find fairly easily are Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale and Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down, so if you see either of those, I highly recommend you give them a try.

As far as the apple cider goes, you can either buy some from the store (preferably with as little added sugar as possible) or make your own using my super-easy recipe for From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider (which you should honestly have on hand at all times during this holiday season anyway.)

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the perfect low-alcohol cocktail to serve over the holidays.

Aside from the fact that this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy involves, yes, just TWO ingredients, I also love it because it is sooo easy to make. I mean, you don’t even need to break out the cocktail shaker or jigger! You can totally eyeball the amounts, or just adjust the ratio of pumpkin beer to apple cider however you happen to prefer. I prefer a little more beer to my cider, but if you want more cider to your beer, by all means go ahead!

One final tip when making this delicious drink: Be sure your ingredients are well-chilled before mixing them together. I don’t often like to use ice in beer cocktails because I feel it waters them down too much, so you want to start out with your beer and cider being as cold as possible.

This Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy is the perfect cocktail to serve at any time of day during the holidays.

I hope you enjoy this Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy as much as I have been!

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Shandy
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This easy cocktail may be low on alcohol but it's certainly high in flavor! Two favorite fall ingredients come together to make one delicious drink.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 9 ounces of your favorite pumpkin beer, chilled
  • 6 ounces apple cider, chilled
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a large glass and enjoy!