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.

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
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

Santa Barbara Sling

We’re putting a spin on a classic today!Santa Barbara Sling | CaliGirlCooking.com

Who here has heard of (or enjoyed) a Singapore Sling before? I sure hadn’t, but I stumbled upon it one day in my cocktail research and knew I had to try it for a couple of reasons:

Reason #1: Gin

You probably know it’s one of my faves since it shows up in so many of my cocktails, like this Fresh Thyme and Plum Gin Fizz, this Turmeric Gin & Ginger Cocktail, and this You Go, Gin Coco (to name a few.) I’m down to try any and all gin drinks!

Reason #2: Pineapple

By now you know that this California gal has some Hawaii roots, and I believe that this tropical fruit can make just about any recipe ten times better.

It was pretty obvious that I needed to give this drink a shot, so I decided to interpret it in my own way (with the ingredients I had on hand in our liquor cabinet) and the Santa Barbara Sling was born!

Before I get into the recipe, here’s a quick recap of the OG Singapore Sling: It’s rumored to have been created way back at the beginning of the 19th century by a Hainanese bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon, who worked at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It was originally just called a “gin sling,” but apparently it had an identity crisis. To this day, there are tons of iterations of this recipe, so it was only natural that I make it my own and give it a local California touch!

Santa Barbara Sling | CaliGirlCooking.com

This Santa Barbara Sling has a pretty large number of ingredients, but most of them are items you might already have in your liquor cabinet or pantry. I didn’t feel like tracking down the unique liqueurs the original recipe called for, like Cherry Heering and Benedictine, so I did my best to find the closest substitutes I could that I already had on hand.

Instead of Cherry Heering, I simply used some of the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries, and instead of the Benedictine, I used it’s more common counterpart here in the US, Jaegermeister. Because the cherry juice was non-alcoholic (and because I love gin) I also upped the amount of gin the recipe calls for.

Despite the numerous ingredients, the Santa Barbara Sling comes together in a snap. Once you have all of the ingredients, you simply pour them together in a glass over a hefty serving of ice, give the mixture a nice stir, and enjoy.

Santa Barbara Sling | CaliGirlCooking.com

My interpretation of this cocktail turned out quite tasty (if I do say so myself) and, after the week I’ve had, all I want to do today is sit out in my backyard with a good book and a Santa Barbara Sling in hand. I hosted my FEED Supper pop-up dinner last night, and it was a smashing success! It was quite a lot of work doing everything on my own (and did I mention they turned off our power for a couple of hours on Thursday morning?) but the payoff was totally worth it and we had a great turnout. Unfortunately, I still have a lot of work to get done today, but that’s the price I pay for all of the fun travel plans I have ahead!

That’s right folks, my marathon month of traveling continues next week when the hubby and I take a long weekend trip up to Napa (right in the middle of harvest! So excited.) Then I’m back for a few days and off on a plane to Hawaii the following week with my dad. I convinced him to come along on a “work research” trip with me and I’m so excited to have some one-on-one time with him. We definitely have lots of eating planned, but we’re hoping to also find some fun farm tours or other excursions to go on while we’re there. Please let me know in the comments if you have any ideas or suggestions!

But, since it’s Friday and I plan to work as little as possible while still getting everything done that I need to, I’m going to just leave you with this, the tropical, tasty and refreshing Santa Barbara Sling!

Santa Barbara Sling | CaliGirlCooking.com

Santa Barbara Sling

5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Makes one cocktail

A Santa Barbara take on the classic Singapore Sling - a gin-based cocktail with pineapple juice and a few other secret ingredients.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Fill a highboy glass three quarters of the way full with ice. Add ingredients to glass and stir to combine. Serve with a lime wedge for garnish.
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https://www.caligirlcooking.com/santa-barbara-sling/

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Santa Barbara Sling | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

One for me, one for you.

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria

We’re going to do this Labor Day weekend in style, and Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria is going to help us do it.

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria | CaliGirl Cooking

That’s right, we’re going all out. No holds barred. Because what’s not to celebrate? It’s still warm enough to get outside (the beach is calling my name), but we’re officially into the month of September, which means pumpkin spice and all the other fall flavors are going to be upon us before we know it (oh wait, they already are.)

In any case, we need to consume all of the frozen cocktails before summer is officially “over,” before it’s passé to say you got drunk off of too much Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria this weekend. Call me old-fashioned, call me “shi shi,” but I realized a few weeks ago that I did not have ONE frozen cocktail recipe on my site yet (unless you count these Pineapple Mojito Popsicles, which I must say are quite refreshing for a warm summer’s day!)

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria | CaliGirl Cooking

I must admit, I’m biased in the fact that I don’t usually find myself ordering frozen cocktails. This bias most likely harkens back to my “I fear all empty calories” days, or perhaps I’ve just more naturally stopped ordering these drinks because I now try to limit the amount of added sugar I enjoy in my drinks (hangover central right there!)

BUT, this blog is all about finding balance, right? About not having any restrictions on what we eat or drink? (In moderation, of course.) Because of this, I felt like it was my civic duty to come up with a delicious frozen cocktail composed of as many natural sugars as possible that wouldn’t leave us laid up in bed with a hangover at any time during this glorious three-day weekend.

So, what do you say? Are you down to consume some frosty, punchy Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria in the next few days? If you said yes, your weekend is already shaping up to be pretty awesome. Tell me, what other fun plans do you have to say “sayonara” to summer and welcome in fall? Please tell me you’ll be enjoying the outdoors and eating and drinking all of the delicious things. I’m going to be getting in some serious games of beach volleyball, celebrating a friend’s birthday (that just so happens to be a “Convention of Cocktails” theme, how fun is that?) and getting together with friends for a little potluck on Monday. And drinking Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria throughout, of course!

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria | CaliGirl Cooking

Back to that! This recipe is super easy, with just five ingredients and coming together with a quick whir of the blender. We start with cubes of frozen cantaloupe, add chilled white wine and gin, and finish with a touch of simple syrup and fresh lime juice.  Put it all in a blender and your drink is ready in less than five minutes!

Another bonus? This particular recipes makes FOUR cocktails, which means you won’t need to worry about blending the drinks in batches and having a glass full of watery sangria on your hands before everyone is served. Win win!

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria | CaliGirl Cooking

And did I mention it’s incredibly tasty? The cantaloupe is incredibly refreshing and, even though our Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria will still melt if you let it sit too long, the fact that we don’t use any ice cubes makes sure it won’t get too diluted and watered down. The Sauvignon Blanc and the lime juice add a nice hint of acidity, with the gin adding lovely aromatics and the simple syrup bringing in just the right amount of sweetness.

So what do you say? Are you ready to give this a shot? Then get your ingredients in the freezer STAT and you’ll have Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria in your hands in no time. Happy Friday friends!

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria | CaliGirl Cooking

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria

5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 cocktails

A refreshing frozen sangria composed of frozen cantaloupe, white wine and gin. The perfect refreshing cocktail for the last of the warm-weather days!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cubed, frozen cantaloupe
  • 1 ½ cups Sauvignon Blanc (I used Provenance)
  • 3 ounces gin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 ounces simple syrup
  • Lime wheels, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients (except lime wheels) in a blender. Place blender on medium-high and blend until well-combined. Serve immediately.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
https://www.caligirlcooking.com/frozen-cantaloupe-white-wine-sangria/

 

Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let’s see summer out with a bang!

“Our” French 75

It’s my wedding day!!!!!

"Our" French 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

Don’t worry guys, I wrote this post in advance because I am most definitely not going to be even thinking about this here blog once Friday rolls around. I’m going to relish every moment of this special day because I know it goes by in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to forget or miss anything!

And since sadly all you bloggy friends won’t be able to be there in person, I thought I’d let you in on some of the action by sharing what is going to be one of our specialty cocktails at our reception – “Our” French 75!

Ever since Chris and I got engaged, we knew we wanted to have at least two specialty cocktails at our wedding – the Whiskey Kind of Afternoon (one of our favorites from a local bar that I took my own spin on here) and some sort of sparkling-wine based cocktail. Because what’s a wedding without bubbles?? (They also happen to be my favorite alcoholic beverage of all time, lumping them in with wine in general, of course.) We quickly settled on the French 75 because it is so light and refreshing and because gin just happens to be my second favorite alcoholic beverage of all time.

"Our" French 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

Our version of the French 75 (and most versions for that matter) is incredibly easy to make and requires just four ingredients:

  • Gin
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Sparkling wine

You see, you don’t need to have all the fancy liqueurs, bitters, etc., etc. to make this delicious, summery cocktail. It comes together in a snap (and, might I also add, goes down the hatch in a snap, it’s that good.) Chris and I knew our guests would be downing these like no other in the almost 90-degree heat that is forecasted for today (with lots of water of course!)

So, because it’s a HUGE day, I’m going to keep this really short and sweet. How about I make it up to you by documenting all of my wedding day adventures on Snapchat and Instagram? (User name: @caligirlcooking for both.)

Now, go make yourself “Our” French 75 and join in on the celebration with us!!

"Our" French 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

“Our” French 75

5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Makes one cocktail

An easy, refreshing recipe for the classic French 75 - a sparkling wine based cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces gin
  • ¼ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Top with sparkling wine

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup.
  2. Shake for 30 seconds, then strain into a champagne flute.
  3. Top with sparkling wine.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
https://www.caligirlcooking.com/our-french-75/

"Our" French 75 | CaliGirlCooking.com

CHEERS!!!