Venetian Spritz

Ciao, bellas!

Venetian Spritz | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post comes to you from deep in the heart of Tuscany but, no, we’re not talking about wine today (well, kinda sorta not.) Nope, we’re talking about the trademark cocktail of Venice, the Venetian Spritz!


To be fair, the base of this cocktail is prosecco so, yes, there is wine involved, just not any of the big reds that we’ve been enjoying throughout our trip so far. But that all changes tomorrow when we head to Venice and the land of sparkling wine and spritzes!

If you’ve ever been to Italy, there’s no question that you’ve enjoyed (or at least seen tons of people enjoying) a spritz around 4pm in the afternoon, gathering at the sidewalk bars after a long day at work. It’s known as a classic aperitivo, or drink to whet the appetite and get it ready for a big meal. It’s also fairly low octane, with no hard alcohol involved, so you can drink quite a few during happy hour and still walk in a fairly straight line to dinner, which typically doesn’t start in Europe until 8:30pm at the earliest. Of course this later start time means you have to make your happy hour count when you’re in Italy!

Venetian Spritz | CaliGirlCooking.com

I have to admit, it took me a while to warm up to spritzes, because I wasn’t always a huge fan of Aperol, which is basically the only other primary ingredient in these cocktails besides prosecco. You can imagine how disappointing this was to me when I was in Venice last (about seven years ago) and didn’t even thoroughly enjoy the drink that represented this amazing place.

But I’m happy to report that I’ve aged a bit since then, and thankfully so has my palate. I now thoroughly enjoy the taste of Aperol, especially when accompanied by sparkling wine, which we all know is my absolute favorite!

I love that this drink is so easy to make, and even those of you who are reading this from home can make yourselves a Venetian Spritz (or two, or three) this weekend to enjoy with me in spirit. We’ll certainly be enjoying plenty of them as we explore the city over the next few days!

Venetian Spritz | CaliGirlCooking.com

Speaking of, I’m loving hearing all of your suggestions of places to eat, drink, shop and see while we’re there. Keep them coming! We really have no set agenda for this leg of our trip and love finding hidden gems.

Anyhow, I’m going to keep this short today, because who wants to be stuck at the computer when we have so many things to see and do on our last full day in Tuscany? We’re headed to Montepulciano today, and I’m so excited to show the hubs and the in-laws one of my favorite little wine towns in all of the land. Be sure to follow along on my IG stories to see all that we’re up to.

Now raise your glass and cheers a Venetian Spritz with me!

Venetian Spritz | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Venetian Spritz
Prep Time
5 mins
 

A classic Venetian prosecco cocktail that you can easily make at home. Just three ingredients are all you need to feel like you're in Italy!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • 4 ounces prosecco
  • 1 orange wheel, cut in half
Instructions
  1. Pour Aperol into a champagne flute (or wine glass filled with ice if you want to be really traditional) and then slowly pour prosecco over top. Be sure not to pour too quickly or you will have a bubble over. 

  2. Take one half of the orange wheel and squeeze the juice into the drink. Use the other half of the orange wheel as a garnish, or additional juice if you want a little more sweetness to your drink.

Venetian Spritz | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas

The grand finale to my Easter recipes!

Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Of course we had to end it all with a cocktail 😉 Let me tell you, these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas do NOT disappoint.


Just to provide a quick recap: I started off the week with this savory Herbed Carrot Galette that would be equally as good served as a main dish at Easter brunch or a side dish for dinner. On Wednesday, I kept it uber-traditional and posted my family’s perfect recipe for Hot Cross Buns. And today we’re celebrating with mimosas!

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’ve been wanting to do some sort of Carrot Mimosa since last Easter, but to be honest I was a little intimidated. First of all, I don’t own a juicer (saving that appliance for when I have the kitchen of my dreams and all the space a food blogging gal can ask for) and I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d find straight-up carrot juice. I’m also not the biggest fan of vegetable juices, and although I loved the concept of turning one of my favorite brunch cocktails into a super-festive version, I was a little unsure of how “vegetable-y” it would taste.

But I’m happy to say that if there’s one thing that posting weekly cocktail recipes for the past year or so has taught me, it’s that there’s a way to spin everything to your liking if you just find the perfect combination. In fact, fun side story, one of my friends here in SB used to work at a local “juicery” and would often bring by the day’s leftover juices at the end of their shift. Seeing as by that time it would be 5pm or so, we’d be itching much more for a cocktail than a healthy juice (aren’t those reserved for breakfast or lunch?) and so we’d turn the juices into some pretty darn delicious cocktails to celebrate the end of another long day.

So I dipped back into those memories to figure out how to really make these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas the most delicious things ever, and I’m proud to say I succeeded! After trying out a few different combos, I found that a dash of Cointreau in addition to the sparkling wine and carrot juice (which I ended up finding in pure form at Trader Joe’s) was the perfect answer to taking the drink from overly-carrot-like to fresh and festive. And because Cointreau is orange-flavored, you still get a hint of traditional mimosa taste.

Can we also talk about how fun it is to garnish with those bright green carrot tops? Too cute.

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Anyhow, the simplicity of these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas is completely up to you. If you want to really get down and dirty (and you own a juicer,) you can go ahead and make your own carrot juice. But if you’re bogged down with all of the other Easter menu prep you have going on, simply head out to TJ’s or your favorite local juicery and pick up some of their fresh-squeezed carrot juice.

Aside from the carrot juice, the only other ingredients you’ll need for these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas are items you likely already have stocked in your bar (at least, I hope you do!) We’re talking sparkling wine (our house favorite that’s very reasonably priced is Segura Viudas Brut Cava, but any dry sparkling wine will do) and the afore-mentioned Cointreau. That’s it!

Simply combine all three in the ratios I’ve provided for you below (being careful as you pour so as not to have a massive bubble-over) and you’ll have the perfect festive cocktail for your Easter breakfast or brunch. What more do you really need?

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Sparkling Carrot Mimosas
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The popular brunch cocktail gets a spring twist with fresh carrot juice and a splash of Cointreau. The perfect drink for Easter!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 5 ounces sparkling wine
  • 1 ounce carrot juice
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • Carrot tops for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Combine all three ingredients in a champagne flute, pouring each one in slowly and steadily so as not to have a bubble-over (can’t waste any of that booze!) Garnish with green carrot tops, if desired. Enjoy!

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | 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

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch

Because no one wants to stand around making individual cocktails for all of their guests when there’s merry-making to be had.

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

This Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch is THE perfect cocktail for Christmas, New Year’s or any other holiday or celebration, for that matter. I love it so, so much because it involves all of my favorite things: sparkling wine, bourbon, pomegranate and orange juices, plus a few secret touches like rosemary simple syrup, orgeat and Angostura bitters.


That’s right I’ve taken the ingredients from all of my favorite cocktails over the past year and mashed them all up together in one giant pitcher- or punch bowl-full of deliciousness:

I’ve stolen the pomegranate juice (and I suppose also the bourbon) from this Pear, Pomegranate and Bourbon Punch

I’ve stolen the rosemary simple syrup from this Rosemary, Fig and Date Tequila Smash

I’ve stolen the orgeat from these Grapefruit Coladas on the Rocks

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

And if you had no idea I absolutely love sparkling wine, then you obviously don’t know me. Case(s) in point:

“Our” French 75

This Citrus Vanilla Sparkler

The over-the-top Greyhound 75

My “fall-ish” Harvest Mimosa

My OG Harvey Wallbanger Mimosa

And this Holiday Sparkling Sangria.

Have I convinced you yet? If I haven’t, let me just tell you that this festive Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch is the perfect balance of all of these favorite things. It’s got some good tang from the pomegranate juice (I always go for the purest form I can find, with no additives) that’s complimented wonderfully by the rosemary simple syrup and orgeat. Then you get some kick from the bourbon and bitters, which mellows out beautifully with the addition of a whole bottle of sparkling wine and some fresh orange juice. Seriously, it is so good.

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

When throwing together this Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch, I highly recommend doing so no more than a half hour or so prior to serving. It’s best served over a good amount of ice, and you don’t want the drink to get diluted. Plus, you can’t let the bubbles go flat!

Oh, and have you noticed that this beverage is quite the showstopper as far as looks? Thin slices of fresh orange and a sprinkling of pomegranate arils take the “wow” factor from a 5 all the way up to a 10. I like to tuck the orange slices into the sides of the ice and punch-filled pitcher to really make sure their visible, and then I slice a few extra to use as garnish once drinks are poured into individual glasses. I also reserve a few pomegranate arils to sprinkle over the top of each individual glass because, well, it’s soooo photogenic.

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

So, what do you think? Does this Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch sound like a winner in your book? It sure is in mine! The hubs and I are up in the Bay Area spending the holiday with both sets of our parents, and you can bet this will be in my back pocket when I’m put on cocktail duty throughout the weekend. I hope you all have the very merriest of Christmases and get to spend loads of time with all of your loved ones! XO

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | 22 Valentine's Day Cocktails and Mocktails on CaliGirlCooking.com
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Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch
Prep Time
10 mins
 

A fun, festive punch, with sparkling wine, bourbon, pomegranate juice and so many other seasonal flavors. 

Course: Drinks
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 8 ounces fresh orange juice (juice of about 2 oranges)
  • 6 ounces bourbon
  • 3 ounces orgeat
  • 2 ounces rosemary simple syrup (see notes for recipe)
  • 1/2 ounce angostura bitters
  • 1 750 mL bottle of dry sparkling wine
  • 8 ounces pomegranate arils (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 orange, sliced (plus more slices for garnish, if desired)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl filled three quarters of the way full with ice. Stir with a long handled spoon to combine. Pour into individual glasses and garnish with additional pomegranate arils and orange slices if desired. 

Recipe Notes

To make the Rosemary Simple Syrup: Combine one cup granulated sugar, one cup water and one large sprig of fresh rosemary in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool before using a funnel to pour syrup into a glass bottle with a stopper for storage. Refrigerate up to one week.

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler

How many reasons do we need to celebrate?

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post is brought to you in partnership with Drizly. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Not too many, in my book, especially at this time of year! That’s why I’m so excited to be partnering with my friends at Drizly once again to bring you this super-festive Citrus Vanilla Sparkler. It’s perfect for Christmas, New Year’s and any other time you have a little something to celebrate.


If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of sparkling wine in any way, shape or form. Most of the time, I’m a straight-up bubbles kind of gal, occasionally adding a splash of OJ if it’s before noon (just to be able to call it “breakfast.”) But every once in a while (oh hello, holidays) I want to spice things up a bit and make something that’s truly show stopping. This Citrus Vanilla Sparkler is just that!

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com

The combination of fresh orange and lemon juice, easy-to-make vanilla simple syrup, gin and sparkling wine is the perfect complement to any celebration. It’s festive and tastes incredibly complex, yet is so simple to make, with just a few ingredients.

Speaking of ingredients, what if I told you you could have all of the ingredients you need to make this Citrus Vanilla Sparkler delivered right to your door in no time at all? Thanks to Drizly, this is a complete reality. All you’ve got to do is head to their website, order all of the ingredients (yes, even the oranges and lemons!) and they’ll deliver them straight to you. Mixing up some fab cocktails on any given night has never been so easy.

So let’s talk a little bit about my inspiration for this cocktail. It’s no secret that Christmas is right around the corner, but I’ve felt a bit over-saturated with cranberry, peppermint and pomegranate recipes in the past few weeks. I wanted to come up with a festive sparkling wine cocktail that would be perfectly fitting for the Christmas holiday, but would be something you’d want to make for New Year’s and beyond as well.

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com

To me, citrus and vanilla were the perfect answers. If you’re familiar with sparkling wine cocktails, you may have gathered that this Citrus Vanilla Sparkler is based off of the OG French 75, with a little extra twist. I’ve LOVED French 75’s for as long as I can remember (they were a specialty cocktail at our wedding, after all) and I’ll take any excuse to make a new version of the classic. Let me tell you, after making this Citrus Vanilla Sparkler, I may never be going back!

The only (semi-) complicated part about this recipe is the vanilla simple syrup, and by “complicated,” I mean you’re going to have to watch some sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds boil on the stove for about 15 minutes. Orrrr, you could make it even easier and simply add some vanilla extract to a pre-made simple syrup. Sounds manageable, right?

After you have your vanilla simple syrup in hand, all you have to do is combine the orange and lemon juices, gin and syrup in a cocktail shaker with some ice, give them a good shake, add them to a glass and top with sparkling wine. Deliciousness is yours in five minutes or less.

Now, I don’t know about you but I’m ready to get this weekend started. We’ve got Christmas parties up the wazoo, my mom’s in town visiting, and we’ll be getting organized for our trip up north next week! I think a Citrus Vanilla Sparkler is just what this night needs to get us going in the right direction. Happy Friday friends!

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Citrus Vanilla Sparkler
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This spin on the classic French 75 combines fresh lemon AND orange juices, gin and vanilla simple syrup, all topped with sparkling wine. 

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce gin (I used Hendrick's)
  • 3/4 ounce vanilla simple syrup (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 3 ounces dry sparkling wine (I used Nicola Feuillatte Champagne)
Instructions
  1. Combine gin, simple syrup, lemon and orange juices in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.

  2. Strain into champagne flutes or coupes (minimizing the amount of ice that gets through) and top with sparkling wine. 

Recipe Notes

To make the vanilla simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan with the seeds of a vanilla bean scraped into it. Stir and bring to a boil, then let simmer until reduced and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can add some vanilla extract to pre-made simple syrup.

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com