Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned Recipe

Fresh and fragrant elderflower liqueur gives this traditional bourbon cocktail a spring-like twist. It’s the perfect brunch, lunch or dinner drink to serve as the days get longer and temperatures get warmer.

This Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned is the perfect spring cocktail for brunch, lunch or dinner! #oldfashionedrecipes #bourbonrecipes #eastercocktails

Please forgive me, because I just can’t seem to step away from tasty and creative cocktail world. If you’re already reading this post, I’m guessing you don’t mind. I just couldn’t resist sharing one more fun and festive cocktail before Easter because, if you’re a fan of bourbon, you’re going to want to add this Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned Recipe to your Sunday menu.

It’s no secret that Old-Fashioned’s are one of my favorite types of cocktails, if the Drinks section of my website is any indication. In fact, I love the fact that I already seem to have an Old-Fashioned recipe for every season.

For the fall/winter months, I love me a good Maple Apple Old-Fashioned. It just feels so warm and cozy and the flavors are just what you want to experience when you’re cozied up inside next to the fire.

For the hot summer months, I’m all about the Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon, a twist on the old-fashioned which features zesty grapefruit and Aperol.

Come spring, it’s going to be hard to choose between this Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned and my OG Rhubarb Old-Fashioned. So many choices, so little time!

So, before we get into what makes THIS particular old-fashioned recipe one for the books, let’s get into what is typically included in this classic bourbon cocktail.

This Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned puts a tasty spring twist on the classic bourbon cocktail. #oldfashionedrecipes #bourbonrecipes #easterrecipes

Just your typical Old-Fashioned…

A typical Old-Fashioned recipe includes the following ingredients:

Sugar cube

Bitters

Bourbon or rye

Orange peel

It’s really quite amazing how these few ingredients come together to make one damn delicious drink, but it’s also fun to get creative!

This Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned puts a tasty spring twist on the classic bourbon cocktail. #oldfashionedrecipes #bourbonrecipes #easterrecipes

How to Mix It Up

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good classic cocktail, but man would this blog be boring if I didn’t mix it up every once in a while. I’ve already mentioned above some other fun ways I’ve reinvented this classic, but let’s get to the real reason we’re here today…my Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned!

The great thing about embellishing something that’s already (1) simple to make and (2) tastes fantastic is that you can’t really go wrong. Here, we simply use already fairly sweet elderflower liqueur in lieu of the sugar cube and it’s a win-win: no extra sweetness than you’d already have with your classic Old-Fashioned, and a faint floral taste that plays off the orange peel beautifully.

I love that you don’t need any special tools to make this one-of-a-kind drink. A glass, a rock (I love these ice molds! *affiliate link*), and a stirring spoon will get you right where you need to be: relaxing on the porch or in the garden with a delicious Elderflower Old-Fashioned in hand!

This Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned puts a tasty spring twist on the classic bourbon cocktail. #oldfashionedrecipes #bourbonrecipes #easterrecipes

Sip of Spring Elderflower Old-Fashioned Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
 

Fresh and fragrant elderflower liqueur gives this traditional bourbon cocktail a spring-like twist. It’s the perfect brunch, lunch or dinner drink to serve as the days get longer and temperatures get warmer.

Course: Drinks
Keyword: bourbon, cocktails, drinks, Easter, rye, spring, whiskey
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 253 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce elderflower liqueur (I use St. Germain's)
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 ounces rye or bourbon
  • Orange twist*
Instructions
  1. Place one large ice cube in a chilled old-fashioned glass.

  2. Add elderflower liqueur and bitters.

  3. Pour in rye or bourbon.

  4. Slide orange twist down the side of the glass (on the inside), stir lightly and serve!

Recipe Notes

*To make an orange twist, use a vegetable or citrus peeler to peel about a 2- to 3-inch piece of orange peel.

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
Calories: 223 kcal
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.

Travel Diaries: Venice

We’re kicking off the week with another travel post!

The morning sun just starting to kiss the canals of Venice.

A couple of weeks ago I told you all about the first portion of our Italy trip in my Travel Diaries: Tuscany post, and today it’s time for me to tell you all about our second leg, Venice!

I had been to Venice before, but no one else in the group (except my Aunt Carol) had. As we all know, it’s an unforgettable town and, albeit overly crowded most days out of the year, it’s a place you definitely have to visit at least once in your lifetime (and before it sinks!) When I found out Venice was only a two-and-a-half hour train ride from Florence, I knew this would be the perfect place to break up our trip.

So, without further ado, here are all the deets!

A gondola travels up one of the many canals of Venice.

WHERE WE STAYED

Since we were traveling in a group of seven, we decided it would be most economical to rent a multi-bedroom apartment that could accommodate us rather than having to book upwards of four separate hotel rooms at any one establishment. In all of our travels, we’ve found that AirBnB’s (our other vacation home rentals) are by far the cheapest option when vacationing with a large party. We ended up finding this five bedroom apartment in the Dorsoduro region of Venice, which I must say was pretty ideal location-wise. It’s not a super-touristy area, but only about a 15-minute walk away from all of the city’s hot spots, like the Piazza San Marco.

The apartment itself had tons of old-school charm, not new and updated by any means, but hey, major points for showers larger than the typical submarine-like Euro showers you see most places. One thing to keep in mind when renting a Venice apartment is that often the “first level” is actually the second level. Due to the frequent flooding, there are really no residences on the ground floor. The narrow flight of stairs up to the apartment was a little challenging for some in our group (bad knees abound) but we managed. Also keep in mind that Venice is not very handicap accessible, and you will not likely find elevators in any of these apartment buildings.

Okay, on to what we did and, more importantly, where we ate!

Every afternoon in Venice requires a big scoop of gelato!

WHERE WE WENT (AND ATE!)

Ristoteca Oniga

We stopped here for lunch one day (it was recommended by our AirBnB host) and I just have one thing to say about it – calamari. It came as a huge serving and was fried in the lightest, airiest batter. They even fried the arugula they served it over!

The delicious calalmari at Ristoteca Oniga in Venice.

Ca’ Rezzonico

We visited this museum of 18th century Venice per my mom’s request and I have to say I was unexpectedly impressed. It’s basically an old palace that you can walk through with gorgeous frescoes and furniture, different themes in every room. We saw some of the prettiest blown glass chandeliers here!

The beautiful frescoes and blown glass chandeliers at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Italy.

Beautiful 16th century furniture at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Italy.

A gorgeous blown glass chandelier at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, Italy.

Ristorante al Gondolieri

We settled on this restaurant after searching Yelp for something on the water very nearby to our apartment (some in the group were a little weary from exploring all day.) Although there was no outdoor seating and there was a small miscommunication with our reservation, the servers were incredibly nice to accommodate us and I must say the food was amazing. A bit pricier than most of our other meals, but in my opinion it was worth it!

Savory chocolate ravioli at Ristorante Al Gondolieri, Venice, Italy.

My simple yet delicious pasta dish at Ristorante Al Gondolieri, Venice, Italy.

The men enjoying their wine at Ristorante Al Gondolieri, Venice, Italy.

Piazza San Marco

Just about everyone knows that this is a must-visit for anyone visiting Venice. Piazza San Marco is home to the Basilica di San Marco, one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen, and also the Campanile di San Marco (the square’s massive bell tower) and the futuristic (for its time) Clock Tower. Two tips when visiting this area:

  1. Don’t plan on eating in the square unless you want to blow your entire vacation dining budget (we’re talking orange juice that costs 15 Euros.)
  2. Be sure to visit the Loggia dei Cavalli when touring the Basilica di San Marco. This is the huge terrace that overlooks the entire square and is flanked by a herd of bronze horses. Truly breathtaking!

Admiring the view from the Loggia dei Cavalli at the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, Italy.

Looking up at the Loggia dei Cavalli at the Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy.

View from the Loggia dei Cavalli at the Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy.

Aside from these highlights, we really just wandered around, stopping to eat gelato, shop, and pop into random places that caught our eye whenever we felt like it. Cappucinos and doughnuts/croissants every morning were a “must” as well.

Doughnuts and croissants, the breakfast staple in Venice!

Cappucinos are the way to go when in Venice!

One thing I would say about Venice (which you may guess from my recap) is to not go into it with a strict schedule. We planned to arrive at Piazza San Marco right when the Basilica opened so we wouldn’t have the WORST crowds or have to stand in an ultra-long line, but that was really the only thing we had planned. It’s such a busy city with so much going on that sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow and see where the wind (haha I just accidentally typed wine) takes you.

View of Venice from the water taxi on the way to the airport.

The hubby enjoying a Venetian spritz, the classic aperitif of Venice!

Classic bridge shot of the hubby and I over the canals of Venice, Italy.

Tell me, have you been to Venice before? What did we miss?

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini

With fresh cherries and basil gracing ricotta-smothered bread slices, these fresh, vibrant crostini will help you welcome in summer with ease.

A pile of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini to make for your next get-together.

Because no good barbecue ever started without a delicious appetizer! And one that’s loaded with fresh basil, sweet cherries and creamy ricotta cheese. Yea, I’m pretty sure these Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini are going to be the only appetizer you want to serve at get-togethers for as long as you can get your hands on the fresh cherries that are loading Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores right now.

I warned you on Friday that I’m having a bit of cherry-fever right now, so bear with me as I get just one more cherry-based recipe out of my system. I mean, don’t you want something delicious to snack on while you sip on your equally delicious Cherry Bourbon Breezes this afternoon?

We’re up in Tahoe enjoying one more full day before heading home, and it’s my hubby’s birthday! Big plans for the day include relaxing in the sun, most likely doing some sort of outdoor activity and eating lots and lots of food. I may even need to make a trip to the store so we can whip up some Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini! What are you up to today?

Rows upon rows of delicious Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini, the perfect appetizer for your next get-together.

I hope you have lots of great food on the menu. Having an excuse to get a bunch of friends together and eat all day is one of my favorite things about long weekends. Bonus if you can enjoy some time outdoors while the weather is this beautiful! Is it just me or does getting out in the fresh air and sunshine really do a body good? I think I took it for granted for so long because of the multi-year drought we’d been suffering through in California. We really had no bad weather days, and TBH I was missing it! But that all changed this past year and we’ve gotten quite a bit of rain and crummy weather, which is definitely helping us get out of the drought but also made me appreciate the nice weather more!

So I hope you take your party outside today and whip up some Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini in addition to all of the other delicious things you’ll be making. Because they are too good not to!

I was going back and forth between making a watermelon caprese or cherry salsa, but since I just shared this Spicy Homemade Salsa and I already have this summery Hazelnut Pesto Caprese Couscous in the lineup, I decided to mix it up and make a savory-sweet crostini. After all, handheld foods are the best foods, especially when cooking for a casual crowd!

A beautiful display of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini, ready to be enjoyed by all of your dinner party guests!

The two very great things about these Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini are that (a) you can prep the time-consuming stuff in advance and (b) once that stuff is prepped the recipe comes together in a flash.

And when I talk about time-consuming…It’s really not that bad folks. All I’m referring to is toasting the crostini and pitting the cherries. We can all handle that, right?

Note: On pitting cherries, you need no fancy equipment whatsoever, just a handy straw! Simply poke the straw through the center of the cherry and the pit should pop right out the other end. Easy!

When I made this recipe, I toasted my crostini first thing in the morning and then went back and added the toppings right before I wanted to serve it. I also made the cherry topping in the morning and stored it in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it.

But can we just talk about this cherry topping for a second? Because I was sort of winging it but am SO happy with the way it turned out. And it’s soooo easy. All it consists of are the cherries, lemon zest, a shallot and balsamic vinegar. Nothing more, nothing less. Now I think that’s something we can all handle, am I right?

A close-up shot of a piece of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini. You won't be able to stop eating these!

Once you have your toasted crostini and you’re ready to serve, slather each piece with some creamy ricotta and then sprinkle on a light dusting of salt and pepper.

Next, top each crostini with a fairly generous scoop of the cherry topping.

Finally, sprinkle on some chopped fresh basil. All ready to go!

I’m not going to lie, I ate about five of these crostini for lunch when I made them and then proceeded to eat about eight more that night with dinner. I could not stop! I’m pretty sure if you give these a shot you’ll be in the same boat as me, so try your best to share 😉

Rows of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini ready to be consumed at your next cookout!

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with fun, food and friends!

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

With fresh cherries and basil gracing ricotta-smothered bread slices, these fresh, vibrant crostini will help you welcome in summer with ease.

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 ounces ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler in your oven on high. Cover a cookie sheet or large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and place as many baguette slices as you can on it. Brush each slice (on both sides) with olive oil and place under broiler. Broil on high for 2-4 minutes each side (keep a close eye on them as they can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds!) then remove and let cool. 

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, shallot, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar. 

  3. Once your crostini are cool, start generously spreading ricotta on each piece, then lightly sprinkle on salt and pepper.

  4. Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon and a half depending on the size of your slices) of the cherry topping on top of each piece, then sprinkle on the basil. 

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cherry Bourbon Breeze (plus a Mocktail Option!)

And so begins a new chapter…

This Cherry Bourbon Breeze can easily be made non-alcoholic, and still tastes absolutely amazing!

Now that the word is out about my pregnancy, I think it’s only fair that I start posting mama-to-be (or just non-drinker) friendly mocktails along with my cocktails. Because, as I’ve discovered these past four and a half months, they can sometimes taste just as good as the real thing (minus the hangover!)

This Cherry Bourbon Breeze and its booze-free version, which I’m simply dubbing the “Cherry Breeze,” is the perfect way to kick off this little series, just in time for Memorial Day!

I hope you like cherries, because both today and Monday’s posts are inspired by my inability to visit the local Farmer’s Market without loading up on the in-season “it” produce. In fact, it was a little hard for me to keep my hands off of the cherries long enough to make this. Luckily, I was able to find cherry juice at Trader Joe’s, so I could use that for the bulk of this cocktail/mocktail and save more cherries for those mid-afternoon pregnancy cravings.

A head-on shot of this in-season Cherry Bourbon Breeze, which can easily be made non-alcoholic!

But before I get to this Cherry Bourbon Breeze, can we just talk about what everyone’s plans are for the long holiday weekend? The hubs and I drove up to his parents’ place in Morgan Hill last night, and are taking off early this morning for Tahoe. So excited! As I mentioned in Monday’s Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread post, Chris’ birthday actually falls on Memorial Day this year, and since we were too busy planning a wedding last year to throw together a big bash for his 30th, we’re doing a “make-up” 30th of sorts for his 31st! There will be a total of eight of us there (plus two babies, my how times have changed!) and we’re really looking forward to a little R&R and time out in the sun. The weather is supposed to be in the 70’s while we’re there, so we’re stoked! What are you all up to this weekend?? Something fun I hope!

So, about this Cherry Bourbon Breeze. It’s no secret on this here blog that I’m a big fan of bourbon/whiskey, and I probably have Chris’ love for it to thank for that. I love me a classic old-fashioned, but have also found some fun ways to mix it up like this Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon and this Bourbon, ‘Barb and Blue. Any of which would be absolutely perfect cocktails to whip up this weekend if you’re not feeling the cherries!

But really, you should be feeling the cherries, because they are soooo good and their flavor translates perfectly into this Cherry Bourbon Breeze. I went for the classic pairing of cherry and orange for this drink, because I knew the flavors would be spot on even in a non-alcoholic version. Did you also know that cherry juice has been proven to be an aid in recovery for sore muscles? So really, I’m doing you a favor with this cocktail here.

A look down at two Cherry Bourbon Breezes side by side, perfect to mix up for Memorial Day weekend!

For the alcoholic version, all you’re going to need is bourbon, Grand Marnier, cherry juice, fresh oranges and a dash of club soda. For cocktails, unless I’m making something like my fave Harvey Wallbanger Mimosa, I prefer to use juice from fresh oranges as opposed to the pre-squeezed, store-bought stuff. I feel like they add just the perfect amount of orange flavor, without completely overwhelming a drink or making it too sweet.

The only change for the non-alcoholic Cherry Breeze is to simply omit the bourbon and Grand Marnier. I gotta say, it still tastes absolutely fantastic! It was only after I had already made (and consumed) the mocktail that I realized a dash of orgeat might have been the perfect little touch, so if you have some in your bar and want to give it a shot, let me know how it is!

As far as the technique for making this cocktail, it couldn’t be easier! Just throw all ingredients into a rocks glass full of ice and give it a little stir. If you’re feeling daring (or just want your Cherry Bourbon Breeze or Cherry Breeze to look a little more festive) add some skewered fresh cherries as a garnish.

A close-up view of the Cherry Bourbon Breeze, that comes together with just five ingredients and can easily be made non-alcoholic!

What else do you need to kick off a fabulous Memorial Day weekend?

Cherry Bourbon Breeze
Prep Time
5 mins
 

A fun, refreshing cocktail using some of the best in-season produce - cherries! Perfect for any warm weather cookout or get-together.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 2 ounces cherry juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Splash of club soda
  • Fresh cherries for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with a couple of speared fresh cherries, if desired.

 

 

Cherry Breeze
Prep Time
5 mins
 

A fun mocktail using some of the best in-season produce - cherries! Flavors of orange round out this drink that's perfect for your next get-together.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 mocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3 ounces cherry juice
  • Splash of club soda
  • Fresh cherries for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with a couple of speared fresh cherries, if desired.

Cherry Bourbon Breeze (plus a Mocktail Option!) | CaliGirlCooking.com