I bet you thought I’d abandoned sangria for COCKTAILS, didn’t you? Although sangria was definitely my first love, as I’ve dived deeper into recipe development and mixology here at JustineCelina, my foray into cocktailing over the past 3.5 years was something I never would have predicted (I’m a huge wino and I thought I’d always prefer wine based libations to cocktails!). I’ve published just about every type of sangria recipe you can think of on these pages, incorporating red wine, white wine, rosé and prosecco — you’d think I’d have my bases covered by now, right? Nope. I’ve always wanted to create an autumnal sangria incorporating October’s beautiful BC apples and late harvest wine, but could never find the right spirit to bring it to life — that is, until now! Enter Eau Claire Distillery‘s newest limited edition offering, Apple Brandy. This seasonally inspired spirit is infused with orchard fresh Okanagan apples and the essence of warm French oak — and I knew it would be the perfect ingredient to elevate my Late Harvest Spiced Apple Sangria with handcrafted flair and character!
Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving, I’m thrilled to bring you a fresh sangria recipe inspired by changing leaves, cozy knits, brisk autumn evenings and celebrating this beautiful life with family and friends! My Late Harvest Spiced Apple Sangria combines late harvest riesling with Eau Claire’s Apple Brandy, freshly pressed apple cider and ginger beer with a sweet and spicy trio of Okanagan apples, fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks to infuse this comforting, apple-centric sangria with autumnal warmth. In the spirit of the season to thank you for all your support this year, I’ve teamed up with Eau Claire Distillery, Calgary Farmer’s Market and Rocky Mountain Food & Wine Festival to create the Ultimate Local Foodie Giveaway — including a bottle of limited edition Apple Brandy, 50 Farmers Market Bucks so you can shop for everything you need to recreate this sangria at home while supporting our local farmers and attend Calgary’s premiere food and wine festival, on me (check out the bottom of this post for entry deets!). Wishing all of my Canadian friends the happiest of Thanksgivings — I’m so grateful for each and every one of you!
Interior design lovers, I’m back today with a highly requested post in our SPACE REFRESH series detailing exactly how I created our built-in-looking Dining Room Bar for less than $900, all in! In the initial reveal of our Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen, I touched on our design choices and the process of how the room came together, but today I’m sharing everything that went into bringing our home bar from concept to completion — including inspiration, planning, sketches and mock ups, alternate shelving options, sources (plus how I hunted down the best deals!) and of course, the finished space. If you’re planning to create a beautiful home bar yourself and are up for a healthy dose of DIY, or you simply want a closer look at where all the COCKTAIL magic happens behind the scenes here at JustineCelina, you’ve come to the right place!
Although this project didn’t turn out as I had originally envisioned it due to timeline and budget constraints, we truly couldn’t be happier with it! Throughout this process, I’ve learned that great interior design does absolutely not have to be extravagant to be functional and beautiful. Our goal with this space was to utilize its recessed features to create extra storage for our libations and glassware without losing any square footage in our main living area. We wanted to create an inspiring area to whip up cocktails, serve wine and allow guests to pour themselves a drink without having to come to the kitchen, which can become full easily. Since we love to entertain, creating a relaxed, informal bar area adjacent to the dining room table allows for much better flow in the room — and it also keeps the liquor flowing! Fix yourself a cocktail or pour up a delicious glass of wine and take a seat at our bar to see how this space came together!
IKEA LACK Wall Shelf in White (x3) | Lemington Wine Rack Sideboard Buffet Table in White Gloss and Maple Cream | Mid Century Turned Wood Leg Planter
Happy Monday everyone — and welcome back for the next, highly anticipated reveal in our SPACE REFRESH series! Today, in partnership with HomeSense Canada, I’m elated to unveil the other half of our refreshed main living area — the Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen. While we’ve been refreshing our space since last summer (when we embarked on our huge Paint Transformation!), most of our time was spent gathering inspiration for the Living Room, as we almost completely started from scratch furniture and decor wise over there. Our Living Room took the better part of 6 months to pull together — and during my many HomeSense runs as it came to life (a lot of you came along via Insta Stories!), I also had a vision for the adjacent Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen in mind, picking up items for this space as I curated details for our Living Room. So, relatively speaking, this area came together quite quickly in comparison!
Our Living Room, Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen are all located in the same space — a large, long and somewhat narrow room. So, we kept the overall look and feel as cohesive as possible to unify the separate areas of the room with an overarching design sensibility. We took design cues for our SPACE REFRESH from our developer who was inspired by earth’s natural elements — our space features natural materials and textures with a warm, mid century modern vibe, a touch of boho and an abundance of greenery! Not only are we thrilled with the aesthetic appeal of our refreshed Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen, this space is also very functional for the way we live in it, which I consider the true mark of great design. Today I’m sharing all my tips, tricks and inspiration for designating different areas within one large room, creating and maximizing apartment storage, as well cost effective ways to refresh your space while repurposing your existing furniture (our only new piece in this space is our sideboard — the rest has been with us for years!). Pull up a seat at our table and settle in for your evening read, friends — can I fix you a cocktail?
Happy first weekend of spring, friends! Wow — what a crazy, whirlwind week this has been. Between publishing our Living Room Reveal on Monday, my Style Me Pretty Living feature on Wednesday (pinch me!), a very exciting FASHION announcement (which has now published!), to a jam packed calendar full of events and meetings, plus 8 rounds of testing for this recipe (and subsequent cocktail ingredient runs before noon!), I’m finally getting a fresh cocktail for you this weekend. Initially this recipe was supposed to publish on Wednesday to welcome the first day of spring, so let’s just say my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash is fashionably late (like our spring weather) — but she comes bearing gifts! I’ve teamed up with Eau Claire Distillery once again to give away a full sized bottle of Prickly Pear EquineOx to one of you lovely Canadians (check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!).
After a long, snow covered winter, I’m elated to unleash my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash — a post-hibernation celebration of spring’s refreshing flavours in cocktail form! I figured it was time to pump the brakes on the gin train (let’s be real… there’s been a ton of gin drinking going down here at JustineCelina!) and introduce you to a completely unique spirit to welcome spring’s arrival. Today I’m working with Eau Claire Distillery’s award winning Prickly Pear EquineOx — a sweet, lightly citrusy, barley based vodka incorporating Alberta’s Prickly Pear Cactus with a special blend of spring botanicals. Complimented by a refreshing bouquet of elderflower, kiwi, lime, a kiss of wine, a dash of bitters and a splash of soda, I’ve created a seasonal elixir that pairs perfectly with longer evenings and balmier weather. I’ve also teamed up with 4 talented food bloggers across North America to bring you the Spring 2018 Edition of Connecting Over Cocktails! If you’re looking for some inspired cocktail ideas as we transition into spring, we’re totally got you covered — stay tuned to see what my fellow Food Bloggers of Canada are mixing up for you this weekend!
Remember the summer I acquired a taste for gin? It’s since become my favourite spirit. In fact, around this time last year I even ventured to Vancouver Island to track down an infamous local gin unavailable in Alberta (I also made a cocktail with that one!). Although the gin I brought home from my coastal travels is long gone, late last year I stumbled on Eau Claire Distillery via Instagram (their bottles are gorgeous and totally drew me in!). Imagine my surprise to find out we have an incredible, award winning distillery less than an hour from home! Over the holidays I took a trip to the visit their distillery in Turner Valley with my Mom (who loves gin) and my brother (who was home from New York and loves cocktails) for a tour and tasting — and we were all completely blown away by the quality of Eau Claire’s hand crafted offerings and their farm to glass approach. Now that I know they exist (and they’re local!) I actually can’t fathom using anything else in my cocktails! Over the last couple of months, we’ve padded our bar with several of Eau Claire’s artisinal spirits — including their most recent offering, Cherry Gin.
In honour of love day, I’m so excited to share my Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz! This feminine, fruity and lightly floral cocktail combines Eau Claire’s stunning Cherry Gin with my favourite Prosecco, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a Rose & Pink Peppercorn Infused Honey Simple Syrup for a contemporary spin on the classic French 75. My Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz is a beautiful addition to your Valentine’s Day menu, but can be enjoyed anytime you want to indulge in a gourmet craft cocktail at home! As always, it’s free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar — and bursting with fruity flavours, floral undertones, unique botanicals and a refreshing effervescence. The best part? Eau Claire is helping me share the love this Valentine’s Day by giving away a Cherry Gin Cocktail Caddy valued at $99 to one of my Canadian friends — check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!
Remember when I mentioned all the seasonal recipes I have in my backlog? Well, today I’m finally publishing the very first sangria recipe I ever developed — almost 10 years ago (yikes!). I honestly can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made this Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria with friends and family over the years, but I bet it’s more than 50. In fact, it was this recipe that inspired my sangria craze — it’s the original! It was singlehandedly responsible for a large portion of my 20’s being a bit hazy and escalating some of my favourite entertaining memories (or lack there of!) in our first homes over the years! This classic red sangria never fails to get the party started (now that’s the understatement of the century!) and is my all time favourite beverage to make when we’re hosting or attending a party, especially during the cooler months. It’s absolutely delicious and approved by friends, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and inlaws — even the non-wine drinkers rave about it! So, I figured it was finally time to unleash the recipe on the world — however, I will not be held liable for any life altering hangovers that ensue after a few too many glasses (hey, it goes down easy — consider yourself warned!).
My Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria is the quintessential holiday cocktail, marrying fruity zinfandel and apricot brandy with festive, seasonal flavours of satsuma, lime, lemon, pomegranate and a hint of cozy cinnamon. This better-for-you holiday cocktail is free of added sugar and brimming with clean, plant based ingredients plus a mega dose of antioxidants. If you love to entertain, this simple, jubilant sangria will leave your guests feeling merry and bright! And to help spread some holiday cheer, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are back at it again — and this time, we’re thrilled to bring you our Holiday Edition. If you’re planning a festive celebration and looking to take the party up a notch this year, check out the bottom of this post for 5 gorgeous, seasonal sips from a handful of my favourite cocktail connoisseurs!
You guys, this week has been such a whirlwind! Between spending time in the prairies working ahead on some exciting new projects, capturing tons of content for JustineCelina, publishing 3 blog posts, speaking at a YYC Blogger Babes event last night about The Business of Blogging and attending another event earlier today for a new partnership — I’m totally having a cocktail (or two) tonight as I finish up this post!
If you’ve been following along with my Insta Stories this summer, you’ve undoubtedly seen me whip up a Watermelon Frosé Margarita. She was a fun recipe to test and a fast favourite among friends and family — a pretty, pink cocktail gone rogue! This time, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are serving up an array of seasonal, fruity cocktails for our Summer Edition and I knew I wanted to do something a bit different. Today I’m shaking things up with my Watermelon Frosé Margaritas — an icy sangria 2.0 with an attitude, and tequila on her breath! In true JustineCelina style, she’s made with just 5 ingredients blended over frozen watermelon creating a naturally sweet, feisty summer cocktail that embraces fruity flavours with a margarita essence and a Himalayan pink salted rim! If you, too are in desperate need of a refreshing cocktail this weekend (hellooooooo, heatwave), check out the bottom of this post for inspired summer sips from my mega talented foodie friends!