Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer

Spring has officially sprung!

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer | CaliGirlCooking.com

And that means it’s time to start eating (and drinking) alllll the strawberries. This Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer is going to make you want to jump head first into the season and never look back. It’s soooo tasty!


First, important question: Are you pro- or anti-gin?? My friends and I were having this discussion at my little birthday get-together the other week and two of them just absolutely can’t stand the taste of gin. I am staunchly in the other camp, because gin just happens to be one of my favorite liquors. I love how flavorful and botanical it is, and I feel like it adds so much more character to any beverage.

I would like to point out, though, that one of these friends that was so anti-gin had mentioned that she’d enjoyed a farm-fresh cocktail at one of our local bars that involved gin, and had actually loved it because the flavors were so perfectly balanced. I haven’t had her taste this Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer yet, but I bet she’ll feel the same way she did about that farm-fresh cocktail once she does!

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, so enough of the gin discussion, let’s talk strawberries. We are incredibly lucky here in Santa Barbara because we live smack dab in the middle of strawberry country. We have Oxnard, home of the California Strawberry Festival, just 45 minutes south of us, and Watsonville, home of Driscoll’s Strawberries, just three and a half hours north of us. Because of this, we always have tons of farm fresh strawberry options available both at our grocery stores and in our farmer’s markets once March rolls around.

That being said, I realize all of you might not be as “strawberry lucky” as we are, but that’s the great thing about this Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer. You don’t have to be! This drink gets most of its strawberry flavor from strawberry jam, with just a few fresh strawberries muddled in for good measure. And, honestly, you could even use thawed frozen strawberries and nobody would know the difference.

You will, however, need to track down some fresh basil, but I’m pretty sure fresh basil is available year round these days so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer | CaliGirlCooking.com

The most important step, of course, is to use your favorite gin! There are many different flavors and styles out there, so if you don’t have a favorite already, do yourself a favor and taste a few to get a feel for what you like. There are gins that are more juniper-forward, others that are more foral…Every gin brand uses its own combination of aromatics and spices, so even if you don’t like, say, Tanqueray, you might like Hendrick’s!

Once you have your fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, basil and gin, your Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer will come together in less than five minutes. Grab your cocktail shaker, some ice and a glass and you’ll be sipping on this deliciousness in no time!

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer | CaliGirlCooking.com

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

The perfect cocktail to kick off spring - in-season strawberries are muddled with fresh basil, topped with a refreshing gin and jam mixture.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 2 ounces gin
  • More whole strawberries for garnish (if desired)
Instructions
  1. In a rocks glass, muddle the strawberries and basil. 

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with about ¾ cup of ice, combine the strawberry jam and the gin. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds and then pour contents of shaker (including ice) into the rocks glass.

  3. Garnish with a fresh strawberry if desired.

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer | CaliGirlCooking.com

Superfood Pina Colada

We’re keeping it healthy(ish) and green this St. Patrick’s Day!

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, this Superfood Pina Colada gets its vivid teal green color from our favorite superfood – spirulina! I’m just so over the top excited about not only the refreshing, tropical taste of this beautiful libation, but the gorgeous hue. And it’s all natural! How about that.


We’re pretty lucky that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, not only because we have two whole days to recover afterwards, but also because that means I get to bring you a fun cocktail to celebrate! And fun this is.

I’m really expanding the horizons here with this Superfood Pina Colada. After all, it’s only the second frozen drink I’ve featured on this here blog (after this Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria) as well as just the second superfood cocktail (after this Turmeric Gin and Ginger Cocktail, which was a HUGE hit.) I figured it was high time for me to start padding the portfolio in these areas, and our Superfood Pina Colada did not disappoint.

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

Here’s the trick with anything you’re adding spirulina too: be sure to add tons of other delicious flavors! In fact, you might be a bit put off by the smell of spirulina when you first open the jar, but have no fear, when mixed with plenty of fruity pineapple and creamy coconut flavor, any off-taste is gone and all you’re left with is this beautiful color!!

The other great thing about this Superfood Pina Colada is that the recipe makes multiple servings. Perfect for a party! After whirring all of the ingredients together in the blender, you’ll end up with four small or two very large drinks – and if you go with the small servings, this is actually quite a low potency cocktail, which means you can drink more than one without worrying about a headache the next day!

As always, I tried to minimize any artificial sweeteners and stick with as many fresh ingredients as I could. This means that, in addition to the spirulina and requisite rum, all you’re going to need is some coconut milk, frozen pineapple, and pineapple juice. No crazy liqueurs or overly-sugary syrups needed. Oh, and a blender. You’re definitely going to need a blender.

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

And if you’re wondering where you can find spirulina, simply head to your nearest Whole Foods or health food store, or hop on to the every-trusty Amazon! It’s pretty easy to find these days, so don’t even worry about that.

No matter what your plans are this St. Patrick’s Day, I hope they involve these Superfood Pina Coladas in some way. The hubs and I aren’t up to anything too exciting, most likely going downtown for a bit to support some of his accounts and possibly stopping by a show our friends’ band is putting on at a local restaurant.

The good news is, if you don’t have time today to make these Superfood Pina Coladas, they’re perfectly acceptable any time of the year, especially with all this warm weather we’ve been having! And if you’re on the East Coast hunkering down for winter storm Stella, why not mix some of these up to transport yourself to a tropical vacation somewhere?

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

I hope you all have a safe, superfood cocktail-filled day and weekend! Xo

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Superfood Pina Colada
Prep Time
10 mins
 

The classic pina colada gets a healthy twist (and it's beautiful color!) from the addition of the trendy superfood, spirulina. 

Course: Drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces white rum
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 2 cups ice
  • 3 1/2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 6 ounces pineapple juice
  • Pineapple wedges for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree on high until everything is combined. Pour into glasses and garnish with a pineapple wedge, if desired.

Superfood Pina Colada | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spiked Lavender Lemonade

Because spring is just around the corner!

Spiked Lavender Lemonade | CaliGirlCooking.com
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

And that means everything should be pastel-hued and full of the brightest, freshest flavors. This Spiked Lavender Lemonade is just that. It’s a simple cocktail to make, but so perfectly balanced. It’s incredibly refreshing and just as fitting for a happy hour or welcome drink as it is for brunch. It’s also the perfect cocktail to kick off my birthday week!

We’re heading up to my parents’ house this weekend to start the celebrations (since they’re heading to Hawaii without me next week…how rude!) and a big Sunday birthday brunch is on the agenda. This Spiked Lavender Lemonade might just have to take the place of our usual mimosas, because it’s that good and, yes, spring is right around the corner! I’m pretty sure once our families taste this they may never want any other sort of brunch-y beverage ever again.


Spiked Lavender Lemonade | CaliGirlCooking.com

Speaking of spring, the changing of the seasons always calls for a little reorganization of my pantry, and more specifically a rotation of all of my Sonoma Syrup Co. products. The winter-y products (like the Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup I used for this Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog) get pushed to the back, and out come the warmer-weather flavors such as Mint, Lime and, of course, the Lavender I used for this Spiked Lavender Lemonade. I love that there are so many different flavors to choose from, so I can always find something that will be a total game-changer in whatever cocktail I’m whipping up, no matter the time of year.

We’ve had a lot of rain this winter, which means our citrus trees are exploding with gorgeous lemons and oranges. I love having such a big selection of vibrant fruit right at my fingertips, no trip to the store required, so I try to use fresh citrus juices in my recipes as often as possible. Plus, it’s warmed up to the 80’s this week (is our California “winter” officially over?) so nothing sounds better than a tall, icy glass of fresh squeezed juice with a sweet hint of lavender. I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble using up our huge citrus crop if I keep making this tasty drink!

Spiked Lavender Lemonade | CaliGirlCooking.com

I also love that this Spiked Lavender Lemonade has just four ingredients (another reason I’m such a fan of Sonoma Syrup’s products, all the flavors in one little bottle!) This is all you’ll need:

Vodka
Fresh lemons
SONOMA SYRUP CO. LAVENDER SIMPLE SYRUP
Club soda

Just pour everything into a glass over ice, give it a little stir and you’re good to go. And to make the drink look just as good as it tastes, try adding wheels of fresh lemon to the glass (tuck them on the sides between the ice and the glass before adding the liquids) and garnishing with a fresh lavender sprig. These little touches makes the drink look over-the-top and completely brunch-worthy.

Spiked Lavender Lemonade | CaliGirlCooking.com

So what are you waiting for? It’s Friday and the sun is shining, time to turn lemons into lemonade!

Spiked Lavender Lemonade | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Spiked Lavender Lemonade
Prep Time
5 mins
 

Not your average lemonade - this refreshing cocktail gets a kick from vodka and a fresh, floral taste from lavender simple syrup. 

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. lavender simple syrup
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • Lemon wheels and a sprig of fresh lavender for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Fill a highball (or large rocks) glass with ice. If using garnishes, tuck lemon wheels into the sides of the glass using the ice to hold them in place. 

  2. Add vodka, lavender simple syrup and lemon juice to glass and stir gently.

  3. Top with club soda and garnish with fresh lavender sprig, if desired.

Spiked Lavender Lemonade | CaliGirlCooking.com

Prickly Pear Margarita

From here on out, I think every Friday’s going to need to involve a hot pink cocktail!

Prickly Pear Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’ve discovered the deliciousness that is prickly pear syrup and I’m not sure I’m going to want to make any cocktails other than Prickly Pear Margaritas ever again.


But seriously, how fun is this color?? I absolutely love it, and once you give a Prickly Pear Margarita a shot you’re going to love it too. Promise.  It’s the perfect sweet and sour combo, with just FOUR ingredients. And since the prickly pear syrup is available on Amazon Prime, the hardest ingredient to track down just might be the Pear William Liqueur (although a quick trip to your local liquor store should do the trick.) If that doesn’t sound like the perfect drink to make this weekend (Oscar-viewing party cocktail, anyone?) I don’t know what does.

Prickly Pear Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Speaking of this weekend, we’re up in NorCal again today because the hubs had some work stuff to take care of, so naturally we decided to turn it into a little vacation. We apparently didn’t get enough of Wine Country in our short 24 hours there last weekend, so we’re heading to St. Helena today after my man is done with work and going to continue our fun. We’re so lucky to have so many friends and places to stay up there, it makes it so much easier for all of these quick, last-minute trips. We’re pretty tuned into the Napa Valley scene since we’re up there so much, but if you have any special suggestions of things we should do or places we should go, please send them my way!

But back to this Prickly Pear Margarita, because I certainly don’t intend to glaze over the fact that this cocktail is just soooooo good. I was reading an article recently in one of the many food magazines I subscribe to (I think it was Bon Appetit) and they were going on about how prickly pear (which is actually a cactus, not a fruit at all) is a hot new ingredient, especially in the health/wellness/spa scenes is dry, arid areas like Arizona. I was instantly intrigued, and of course turned to my trusty Amazon to see if any sort of prickly pear flavoring was something I could get a hold of. I was in luck! This prickly pear syrup showed up at my doorstep two days later and I was giddy with excitement when I saw the neon pink hue.

Prickly Pear Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

As I mentioned, this cocktail is SUPER easy and low maintenance once you have all of the ingredients on hand. Of course we need tequila (because you can’t have a margarita without tequila), and I prefer the clear version as opposed to golden (I find it gives me a little less of a headache after drinking.)

After that, we’ll need our prickly pear syrup, and in place of the usual Triple Sec or Cointreau, we use the aforementioned Pear William Liqueur. Like I said, you should be able to find this at any legit liquor store and, once you buy it, it should last quite a while.

The final touch is a squeeze of fresh lime juice, which again is a must for any margarita. A quick shake in the cocktail shaker, and your Prickly Pear Margarita is ready in less than 20 seconds. I opted to leave my glass rims bare (save for a wedge of lime) because I’m not a huge salt fan, but you certainly could add some for an additional dimension of flavor.

I love that this cocktail is so simple, yet such a stunner and sure to be a crowd pleaser. You certainly don’t need an occasion to mix up a batch, but I’m certain some Prickly Pear Margaritas would go over just fine at any number of events…bridal showers, baby showers, bachelorette parties, you name it.

Prickly Pear Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Whether you make it now or later, you’re definitely going to want to keep this recipe and some prickly pear syrup in your arsenal, ready to mix up at a moment’s notice!

Prickly Pear Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Prickly Pear Margarita
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The most vibrant margarita you've ever seen! Prickly pear syrup lends the perfect fruity and colorful touch to the classic Mexican cocktail.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces white tequila
  • 1 ounce Pear William liqueur
  • 1 ounce prickly pear syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-20 seconds and pour contents (including ice) into a margarita or rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can purchase prickly pear syrup here.

Prickly Pear Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Belizean 75

This drink is brought to you with so much looooove.

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know Valentine’s Day is behind us, but this Belizean 75 holds a very special place in my heart for multiple reasons.


First, you all know that the French 75 is one of the hubs’ and my absolute favorite cocktails, so much so that it was one of the two signature drinks we served at our wedding. I mean, anything involving both bubbles AND gin is a winner in my book. I love them both to pieces.

Second, we first got to taste a “Belizean 75” on our honeymoon shortly thereafter which, although not quite what we expected, did have a few fond memories going for it. This drink is definitely one of them and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make my own version at home.

I ordered the Belizean 75 the day we got back to our resort after being evacuated due to the hurricane, and, let me tell you, after being stuck in a $100 a night eco-lodge that flooded and had no power OR water after the storm hit it was like tasting the nectar of the Gods. Forget the plentiful glasses of red wine and steaming seafood platters that were constants at our Francis Coppola-owned resort, I just wanted this incredibly cool and refreshing cocktail on repeat.

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

The main difference between a Belizean 75 and a French 75 is that local rum is used in place of gin, and any variety of local citrus is used in place of the standard lemon juice. I’m not too sure what variety of citrus they used at the Turtle Inn, but I had some blood oranges laying around and boy, did they add just the right zing of color to this cocktail!

I love this cocktail because it is incredibly easy to make and uses very few ingredients, ones you’ll likely have on hand already without requiring an extra trip to the store. All you’re going to need is sparkling wine, rum and fresh-squeezed citrus juice! I would just recommend that whatever citrus juice you use isn’t too tart, since there is no added sweetener in this drink (bonus – less of a hangover the next day!)

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

The blood oranges I used were perfect and lent that lovely pinkish hue. Despite what it looks like in the photos, I did use the exact same amount of blood orange juice in each drink, the pulp of one of the blood oranges was just a lot darker than the other. But that’s nature for ya!

Now I know today isn’t a “special” Friday per se (although if you ask me, every Friday is pretty dang special) but that’s no excuse to forego making a Belizean 75 or two. Whether you’re getting together with girlfriends or just want an easy at-home Happy Hour drink for you and your honey, this cocktail will do the trick. And with another round of nasty weather headed our way, I’d say we need as many tropical drinks as we can get to make us forget all the rain. Am I right?

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

Stay safe and dry this weekend my friends! Xx

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Belizean 75
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This cocktail is a fun, tropical riff on the classic French 75, using local rum instead of gin and fresh blood orange juice instead of lemon. The ultimate refresher!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce fresh blood orange juice (or other fresh citrus juice)
  • 1 ounce rum
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
Instructions
  1. Combine orange juice and rum in the bottom of a champagne flute. Slowly pour the sparkling wine over top. Garnish with a blood orange wheel, if desired.

Belizean 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com