Indian Summer II

I’m a woman of my word!

Indian Summer II | CaliGirlCooking.com

Remember last week when I shared my Indian Summer I cocktail? Well, as promised, now it’s time for the second version of this perfect end of summer drink.

But before I get to that, how was everyone’s week? Did your creep by as much as mine did? That seems to always be the case when we’re coming off of a three-day weekend. Why can’t we just always have four-day work weeks?

I tried implementing a four-day work week for myself this week but, alas, it just didn’t quite work out. I’m spending some time back at my old 9-5 over the next couple of weeks, helping train the person who took my place, and as you can imagine, it’s cut into my blog “work flow” quite a bit. I was just getting the hang of making my own schedule every day! Oh well, you can’t win them all. And even though it’s great to be back at the resort (solely for the purpose of reconnecting with all of my coworkers,) to be honest it’s been even more motivation for me to put my all into CaliGirl Cooking and never want to work for someone else again.  I’ve definitely gotten used to being my own boss!

Anyhow, the reason I was trying to implement a four-day work week this week is because the hubby and I are hitting the road down south this weekend for a little staycation in DTLA. Before we got married, it seemed like we were traveling almost every weekend. After the wedding, and after the injury, we put all of our travel plans on hold and I dare say this is the longest we’ve stayed in town since we started dating (a whole month and a half!!)

Well, I’m happy to report that my man is finally feeling well enough to take a little vacay and I couldn’t be more excited. You feel me when I say there’s nothing like a weekend road trip to get you excited and put a little pep in your step again? We think it is so important and traveling (whether to someplace old or new!) always puts us in a fantastic state of mind. We have lots of traveling coming up over the next few months so this will be the perfect warm-up for the crazy times ahead.

Indian Summer II | CaliGirlCooking.com

One thing Chris and I try to do a lot when we travel (especially when we’re driving somewhere) is bring along our own beverages. We usually like to indulge in wine, beer and cocktails a little bit more than usual when we’re vacationing somewhere, and bringing our own along saves us a TON of money. I’m sure you’re well aware of just how crazy some restaurant and bar markups are on their alcoholic beverages plus, this way we have a cocktail or glass of wine whenever the urge strikes and don’t have to worry about waiting on bar service or blowing all of our cash. We like to save that for the food 😉

Now that this Indian Summer II has been on repeat in our household, there’s a good chance we’ll pack our cooler full of all of the ingredients to make our own once we get down to LA. It’s not too complicated, and as long as you have a cooler on hand, your fixin’s will easily be able to make the trek. Once we get to the hotel, we’ll set up the little bar area, fill our cooler with ice, and help ourselves to a delicious cocktail.

As you may remember, our Indian Summer I cocktail consisted of mango-flavored vodka, Aperol and sparkling wine as the alcohol base, and date caramel and a lime slice as the “accoutrements.” For this Indian Summer II cocktail, our alcohol base consists of bourbon (my fave), Cointreau and sparkling wine, balanced out by a splash of grenadine and angostura bitters, plus a touch of fresh grapefruit juice.

Indian Summer II | CaliGirlCooking.com

At first glance, the Indian Summer II may seem like it would be a bit bitter or sour, but the Cointreau and the grenadine add just the right amount of sweetness. We tend to like our cocktails on the more bitter, less sweet side, but if you’re in the opposite camp, you could certainly up the grenadine and Cointreau to make the drink to your liking. It’s quite similar to this Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon, but stands out because of the grenadine and grapefruit.

Although we didn’t win the Convention of Cocktails with our Indian Summer II, it received rave reviews from all of the guests who tried it. It’s a surprising contrast of flavors with beautiful coloring, and is just as suitable for the fall weather as it is for the hot and sticky summer months. Oh, and I’d be remiss to not mention that it may sneak up on you if consumed too quickly or in too much quantity…it packs quite the powerful punch so proceed with caution.

Indian Summer II | CaliGirlCooking.com

Happy Friday friends, make your weekend a great one!

Indian Summer II
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
A delicious concoction of bourbon, bitters, sparkling wine and fresh grapefruit juice that will take you sailing into fall.
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • ¼ ounce grenadine
  • A few dashes of angostura bitters
  • ½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
  • Grapefruit peel for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine bourbon and Cointreau in a rocks glass. Add grenadine, bitters and grapefruit juice and stir to combine.
  2. Add ice to glass (about ¾ full.)
  3. Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a grapefruit peel.

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!

Indian Summer II | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

T.G.I.F.

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks

It’s sweet, sweet summertime and the livin’ is easy, especially when you’ve got Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks in your hands.

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks | CaliGirl Cooking

Let’s be real here, the summer is all about everything coconut and tropical. Because, by golly, if we can’t live on an exotic island somewhere (even though, to be fair, I did at one point in time) then we’re going to transport ourselves there in spirit by eating allllll of the foods that we would be enjoying if we were sitting on a white sand beach under a palm tree with the ocean lapping at our toes. Sound good?

I have to admit, although I don’t often think of all of the things I miss about living in Hawaii, when I get a hold of a tropical cocktail such as a mai tai or a pina colada, the memories come flooding back. I immediately want to be transported to some sort of body of water with the sun shining down on me and Hawaiian music playing in the background, no cares or “To Do” lists in sight.

But, since we can’t always get what we want and be on a white sandy beach in Hawaii all the time, we have to compromise. Right? Maybe with something like these Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks?

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks | CaliGirl Cooking

It’s supposed to reach the 90’s here in Santa Barbara this weekend, so refreshing cocktails are definitely on my mind. There is also a raging wildfire just north of Santa Barbara proper, so the smoke is heavy in the air and there’s a brownish haze hanging over the ocean. Many families are being evacuated and, as the affected area is rural and full of farmland, many animals are being evacuated as well. It’s troubling times like these when simple things such as a tropical cocktail can lift spirits (if only slightly) and encourage camaraderie. So let’s all raise our glasses and learn how to make these delicious drinks to share with our nearest and dearest.

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks | CaliGirl Cooking

I love this recipe because it is the perfect combination of California sunshine and Hawaiian flavor. Instead of using the typical pineapple that we see in a classic pina colada, we sub in fresh grapefruit juice. We also serve this concoction on the rocks. Maybe I just like throwing back my alcoholic beverages a little too quickly, but I can’t get past the brain freeze that is eternally present when guzzling blended drinks. Is that just me?

Nevertheless, you could certainly blend this drink up if frozen drinks are more your thang. In fact, my inspiration for this flavor combination came from the Grapefruit-Coconut Sorbet that my boys over at Probably This recently shared. I saw it and my taste buds immediately started dancing. So good!

So obviously rum is our liquor of choice for these Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks. Most pina colada recipes use both white and dark rums, but we’re just going to stick to the white stuff to keep these cocktails lookin’ as fine and pure as they deserve to be.

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks | CaliGirl Cooking

We use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice because, why not? There’s no need for a fancy juicer to make fresh grapefruit juice, so no excuses. We don’t go quite as far as MAKING our own coconut milk, but the high-quality canned stuff will do just fine.  The other secret ingredient I threw in here is some of my favorite Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla & Almond Syrup. Have no fear, though, if you don’t have any on hand. You can always buy some here, or simply whip up some vanilla simple syrup (I’ve included a recipe below) and add a dash of orgeat to get the same kind of flavor.

That’s it! One small thing to note: because this cocktail contains coconut milk and a highly acidic juice, it will tend to separate a bit if left sitting. There are two options for this situation: (1) don’t leave the drink sitting and consume it as fast as you can or (2) give it a simple stir with a straw or stir stick.

I love this cocktail recipe because it’s simple, with very few (but very fresh) ingredients, and it’s not overly sweet.  It’s perfect for a lazy day poolside, any time you’re wishing you were on a tropical vacation somewhere, or really just any time you want that touch of tiki in your life.

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks | CaliGirl Cooking

We’re headed to a wedding in Santa Ynez this weekend, so be sure to follow me on Snapchat or Instagram to see the daily play-by-play. It’s been a while since Chris and I have been on an actual “vacation” (even if for one night only) and I’m really looking forward to having some QT with my main squeeze. We are getting ready in just over a month after all!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, filled with friends, family and plenty of Grapefruit Coladas. Cheers!

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks
Prep Time
10 mins
 
A twist on the classic pina colada using fresh grapefruit instead of pineapple and a touch of vanilla simple syrup. Equally as delicious and refreshing as the original!
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces fresh grapefruit juice juice from about 2 grapefruits
  • 4 ounces coconut milk
  • 4 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla-Almond Simple Syrup OR 1 ½ ounces vanilla simple syrup recipe below and ½ ounce orgeat
  • Wheel of grapefruit to garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, then pour into two rocks glasses. Garnish with grapefruit wheel and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

To make the Vanilla Simple Syrup: Combine one cup water, one cup sugar and the seeds from one vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks | CaliGirl Cooking

Gimme two Grapefruit Coladas….

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon – A Take on the Old-Fashioned

I can’t believe the moment is finally here.

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon - A Take on the Old-Fashioned | CaliGirl Cooking

I have had the idea of recreating this amazingly delicious cocktail since I started my weekly drink recipe series here on CaliGirl Cooking. And to tell you the truth, I’ve been a bit intimidated. I’ve dabbled a bit in the bourbon and whiskey worlds (as evidenced by this Blackberry Bourbon “Jammer”  and The Seelbach) but I’ve never come close to what I’m about to show you here.

You see, the “original” Whiskey Kind of Afternoon comes from one of my favorite bars in town, Seven Bar & Kitchen. This catchy, craft cocktail-making locals hangout had this as one of their featured drinks oh, say, about a year ago? But, being the hip, farm-to-table bar and restaurant that it is with an ever-changing seasonal menu, it disappeared a few months later. LUCKILY we have become fairly good acquaintances with the bartenders there (did I mention it’s one of our favorite spots?) and they know that, whenever we come in for a visit, we’ll undoubtedly be asking them to whip up a Whiskey Kind of Afternoon (or two, or four.) Nothing like being able to order a secret, off-menu item to make you feel a little VIP 😉

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon - A Take on the Old-Fashioned | CaliGirl Cooking

The reason I was intimidated was because Seven Bar has made its name in great part due to its cocktails. They are so creative and fresh, the ingredients are certainly not ones that the average Joe (or Jane) would have in their even well-stocked bar.  For example, honey syrup? Pear liqueur? I mean, my fiancé works for a liquor company and we don’t even have these things on hand.  But, you know what? Last weekend I tucked my head down and just went for it! I was determined to make this cocktail, or at least my own twisted version, using ingredients I had on hand and that you’ll likely have on hand too!

The Whiskey Kind of Afternoon is basically an elevated Old-Fashioned. (Let me tell you, once you make this, you will never want to go back to a regular Old-Fashioned ever again.) You have the classic whiskey and citrus juice, but we use grapefruit instead of orange and add a couple of other little embellishments to really knock this out of the park.

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon - A Take on the Old-Fashioned | CaliGirl Cooking

Okay, so here’s what we did. We start with the easy part –> Whiskey (I recommend Bulleit for this!) Then we use a combo of pure honey and simple syrup to get as close as we can to this “honey syrup” I mentioned above. We throw in some Aperol, which is part of the original recipe and isn’t that hard to get a hold of, and then we use elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain) instead of the pear liqueur. We finish the drink with a touch of fresh grapefruit juice and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters. Now that wasn’t too hard, was it?

I have to say, I was so excited when I tasted my Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon. The flavors were NEARLY on point with the version from Seven Bar. I guess if you taste something enough you have a pretty darn good sense of what goes into it, right?

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon - A Take on the Old-Fashioned | CaliGirl Cooking

I’m so proud of myself for finally giving this a shot. The payoff was totally worth it and it ended up being so easy! What have you whipped up in the kitchen lately that you were intimidated to make at first? Was it easier or harder than you thought? I love hearing all of your stories…Together, I hope that we can conquer every single one of our kitchen hesitations and fears! XO

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon - A Take on the Old-Fashioned
Grapefruit, Aperol and so much more will make you never want to order a regular Old-Fashioned ever again.
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ ounces whiskey I recommend Bulleit
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ¾ ounce Aperol
  • ½ ounce Elderflower liqueur such as St. Germain
  • 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Grapefruit peel or blood orange wheels if you don't have grapefruit peel like me!
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Pour into a rocks glass (including the ice from the shaker.) Garnish with grapefruit peel or blood orange wheels. Enjoy!

 

Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon - A Take on the Old-Fashioned | CaliGirl Cooking

Sunshine in a glass 🙂

Greyhound 75

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Greyhound 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

What does everyone have planned for tonight? Are you going out on the town or keeping it low key at home?

The fiancé and I are keeping it REALLY low key this year. He’s been down and out with a nasty cold this whole week, and we’ve kind of gotten over “going out” downtown and spending ridiculous amounts of money in cover charges and cocktails. We’d rather just make some tasty cocktails and cook a delicious dinner at home.

Greyhound 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

I’ve been seeing so many great, festive cocktail recipes floating around the interwebs this week, so I wanted to add one of my own. One of my absolute favorite sparkling wine cocktails (besides the Lychee Lightning of course) is the French 75. I just think it is so refreshing and isn’t so overwhelmingly sweet that you have to stop at just one. It is so much a favorite of mine, in fact, that it is going to be one of our signature cocktails at our wedding in July!

I knew I wanted to share a sparkling wine cocktail with you today because, after all, isn’t that THE number one beverage to celebrate New Year’s Eve with? (I mean, I celebrate every weekend with it but who’s to say I’m of the norm.)

I’m going to wait until closer to our wedding day to share our favorite, perfected (at least to our tastes) French 75 recipe, but for now I figured I’d leave you with a fun twist. I love the tartness and acidity that the lemon lends to the original version of this cocktail, so in order to match that I reached for some fresh grapefruit juice. This is really the main difference between the Greyhound 75 and the French 75, just swapping out the juices!

Greyhound 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

I used some pre-made simple syrup we had on hand, but you can also very easily make your own. The simple recipe is one part sugar to one part water. So, depending on how much you want to make, you could do something like one cup sugar and one cup water. Then you simply bring the combo to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves, or the mixture becomes syrupy. You can also store extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for quite some time.

Other than the fresh grapefruit and the simple syrup, you’ll just need some gin and some sparkling wine! Simple as that. I’m really having fun coming up with these combinations using what I have on hand in the kitchen, and I hope that you’re enjoying them as well, especially if you don’t have a fully stocked bar in your house! (And if you do, can I come over? I’ll bring the snacks.)

Greyhound 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

Please respond in the comments if there’s a particular liquor or recipe you want me to use for one of these weekly posts. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Finally, as this will be my last post for 2015, I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you that has supported me thus far and encouraged me to get this blog off the ground. It is something I have been passionate about for a while and all of your support has helped push me to pursue my dreams, even when I have a steady “9-to-5” and could easily settle into that comfortability.

I’m REALLY looking forward to a successful 2016, and I know there are so many great things in store for all of us. Cheers to all of you!

Greyhound 75
A festive and delicious cocktail recipe combining the traditional ingredients of a Greyhound and a French 75.
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce gin
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
  • 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • Twist of grapefruit *
Instructions
  1. Pour gin and simple syrup into champagne flute. Add sparkling wine and then top with grapefruit juice. Garnish with twist of grapefruit.
Recipe Notes

*To make the grapefruit twist, I simply took a vegetable peeler and peeled about a 3-inch long piece of the grapefruit rind. Give the peel a little twist and drop it in your cocktail for a little extra hit of that grapefruit flavor!

Greyhound 75 | CaliGirl Cooking

Cheers!

Blackberry Bourbon “Jammer” with Fresh Rosemary

We’re in the home stretch!

Blackberry Bourbon Jammer | CaliGirl Cooking

I’m bringing my weekly cocktail recipe to you a day early because tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m most definitely planning on enjoying it with my family. Plus, I thought it would be great for you all to have one more cocktail recipe in your arsenal for all of the celebrating that is about to ensue.

And I must say I am REALLY proud of this recipe. I have to admit that it was a spur of the moment inspiration. I knew I wanted to share a bourbon cocktail with you this week (not only is it one of my favorite liquors, but it’s also quite fitting for winter and this colder weather), but I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I’ve already shared my favorite hot toddy recipe with you, and I’ve shared some other great cocktails that are definitely “Christmas-focused” (see here, here and here), so I wanted to whip something up that would still be great for the holiday but would also be something to enjoy for the rest of the winter too (because, alas, life does go on after Christmas.)

I was also trying to think of a cocktail where you folks would already have most (if not all) of the ingredients on hand (because who wants to make a last minute run to the grocery store at this time of year? Not me!) I don’t know about you but often I see a cocktail that looks amazing and then when I get to the ingredient list I have no idea where I would find half of the “accoutrements.” That will definitely not be the case with this bad boy.

Blackberry Bourbon Jammer | CaliGirl Cooking

So, enough of the lead-up! Let’s get to this Blackberry Bourbon Jammer with Fresh Rosemary. I’ve been thinking about jam cocktails for a while now, ever since one of my favorite Santa Barbara restaurants, The Lark, started featuring them on their cocktail menu. We also just so happen to have a whole shelf in our pantry dedicated to my soon-to-be mother-in-law’s homemade jams and jellies (insert heart eyes emoji here, thanks Diana!) While scanning through the options my eyes caught on the blackberry jam, and I knew it would be a great fit for this little bev.

So we’ve got the bourbon, and we’ve got the jam. We’re off to a great start. I also wanted to add some sort of fresh herb, because herbs just lend so much depth and flavor to a recipe. Don’t you think? (BTW, if you’ve never added fresh herbs to a salad of any sort, you’re really missing out. Do it ASAP.) Seeing as it is winter and we have let our (very small) garden wither away, the only thing I had on hand was our incredibly hearty rosemary plant that we have at our front door.

Bourbon –> Blackberry jam–> Fresh rosemary. I like where we’re going here. The one final component I wanted to add to this winter libation was a touch of tang and acidity. I had been in Whole Foods earlier that day and had stumbled across a “cocktail grapefruit.” [Not a grapefruit, a “cocktail grapefruit.” Have you heard of these before? Because I sure haven’t. But I figured since it had “cocktail” in the name it must be good.] According to SpecialtyProduce.com, a cocktail grapefruit is smaller in size than a regular grapefruit, but is very juicy and sweeter than regular grapefruits, and therefore perfect for adding to cocktails and other beverages. It’s also known as a “Mandelo” because it is a pedigree of the Siamese Sweet pummelo and the Frua mandarin. Interesting! I decided this would be the perfect final ingredient for my “jammer.” [And, no, I do not know if that is an actual category of cocktails. I really wanted to call this a “smash,” but since I didn’t muddle anything it made me feel like a fraud. So I’m just going to ride this jammer train and hopefully it will catch on.]

Blackberry Bourbon Jammer | CaliGirl Cooking

But I digress. All of this jabbering is making me thirsty so let’s get down to business. I simply add the bourbon, blackberry jam, fresh juice from the “cocktail” grapefruit, and a sprig of rosemary to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, give it a good ol’ shake-shake-shake, and strain it into a glass with even more ice, finishing with a new sprig of rosemary and maybe some soda water if you need some sort of topper to fill the glass. Easy as that!

So as you can see, I’ve tried to keep it simple for you here. If you can’t find a “cocktail” grapefruit, feel free to sub in fresh juice from a regular grapefruit or a pomelo.

This Blackberry Bourbon Jammer is perfect on so many levels. It’s got the sweetness from the jam (but a natural sweetness, nothing so overwhelming that it will give you a gnarly hangover the next day), the tartness from the fresh grapefruit juice (fresh is key, I’m talking squeezed out of the fruit itself), the extra depth of flavor from the fresh rosemary, and the kick from the bourbon.

I don’t know about you, but I’m telling mom and dad to have plenty of these ingredients on hand because, when I get to their house tonight, it’s on! Blackberry Bourbon Jammer for the win.

Blackberry Bourbon Jammer | CaliGirl Cooking

Blackberry Bourbon “Jammer” with Fresh Rosemary
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon blackberry jam
  • 2 small sprigs of rosemary divided
  • Juice of ½ a cocktail grapefruit or about 2 tablespoons
  • Ice
  • Club soda for topping off optional
Instructions
  1. Fill cocktail shaker about halfway with ice.
  2. Add bourbon, jam, one sprig of rosemary and grapefruit juice to shaker. Shake vigorously for 10-20 seconds.
  3. Strain mixture into a rocks glass filled ¾ of the way full with more ice. Top off with club soda if desired. Garnish with second sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!

Blackberry Bourbon Jammer | CaliGirl Cooking

Winter in a glass!