With the holidays just around the corner and the height of entertaining season upon us, I’m elated to share my go-to Easy Holiday Entertaining Ideas in my first dedicated ENTERTAIN post in… gulp… 3 years! The absence of entertaining content here at JustineCelina in recent years has happened authentically, as we’ve scaled back on entertaining in general — simply because life is busy (I’m sure you can relate, especially at this time of year!). Although we love to have an apartment full of company eating, drinking and be merry during the holidays, I’m all about making this festive time of year as fun, stress free and healthy as possible — and that’s what this post is all about! Whether you’ve been with me for years or are new to my cozy little corner of the internet (welcome!), you’ll know I also love to incorporate better-for-you food and drink whenever we’re hosting or attending a party — because I believe in balance and mindful choices in every season of life.
Earlier this month as I pulled out our festive decor and entertaining essentials I discovered Kombrewcha — a delicious, 4.4% ABV hard kombucha made from organic ingredients. As a plant based eater with a sensitive stomach thanks to numerous food intolerances, I’ve long enjoyed kombucha as a way to help keep my digestion on track — especially during the holidays! I also love to mix this effervescent, probiotic-rich, fermented tea into my COCKTAILS (if you follow along with my Instagram Stories, you’ll know I’ve been developing kombucha cocktails since last summer!). This holiday season, I was absolutely delighted to find a better-for-you beverage that incorporates all of my libation must-haves (made from incredible ingredients and free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar!) in a convenient, ready-to-enjoy format. Tonight I’ve partnered with this new to Alberta brand to host a casual holiday dinner party and share my tried and true Easy Holiday Entertaining Ideas — complete with my best decor, styling, hosting, food and drink, fashion and beauty tips to create a festive and memorable evening. Cheers to a happy, healthy and joyous holiday season!
Music lovers, I’m back today with a fresh Monthly Soundtrack for your listening pleasure! My November 2019 Soundtrack is a laid back, easy listening playlist brimming with 2 hours of eclectic and inspiring tunes spanning genres that have been fuelling my creative endeavours this month! I’m also still on a bit of a jazz kick — there’s something about cold weather and the approaching holiday season makes jazz sound so good (especially in front of the fireplace with a glass of your favourite libation!). As 2019 winds down I’ve been busy finishing up various projects while gearing up for the holiday season — and I’ve had this playlist on heavy rotation. It makes for great thinking, creating, writing, relaxing and entertaining music!
Just ahead of the holiday season, I’m thrilled to bring my sixth sangria recipe to JustineCelina today (if you’re new here, why yes, I adore sangria!). In years past, I’ve shared my tried and true recipes created with wine and spirits you would traditionally associate with sangria — but over the years as I honed my mixology skills I’ve also become just as passionate about craft cocktails. Now that I have a well-rounded baseline of sangria and cocktail recipes to work from, I find myself drawn to more creative and interesting ingredient combinations and flavour profiles — and that’s exactly how the idea for my Violette Noir Berry Sangria was born! Although I have a Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria (my original sangria recipe that inspired all the others!), I’d always wanted to develop a berry-forward sangria using less conventional grapes and liqueurs. So this summer, I got to work using some of the more elusive ingredients in our bar — and today I’m finally sharing the recipe, after 6 months of extensive testing!
My Violette Noir Berry Sangria is a dramatic, berry-infused libation where bold, luscious flavours of raspberry-laden Chambord, floral Crème de Violette, juicy blackberry and a fresh kiss of citrus intertwine over an elegant Pinot Noir backdrop. This sophisticated, Parisian-inspired spin on traditional red sangria is as intricate as it is accessible — seducing both wine lovers and skeptics with each delicious, antioxidant-rich sip. It’s the ideal accompaniment to festive cocktail parties, formal occasions, holiday dinners or anytime you’re craving a refined, wine-based bracer to delight and surprise even the most discerning of palettes! As always, my Violette Noir Berry Sangria brimming with fresh, better-for-you ingredients and is free of added sugars — because I believe in balance in all areas of life. Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!
Craft cocktail lovers, I’m back today with fall’s first libation in celebration of Autumn Equinox! If you frequent my FOOD or COCKTAIL sections, you’ll know that my most inspired creations are born out of making use of what we have on hand to yield unexpected combinations — and that’s exactly how this recipe came together. Late August is when our annual case of Okanagan peaches arrives and every year I end up going into peach recipe overdrive, while simultaneously eating my body weight in peaches. I’ve explored peaches in smoothies, sangrias and crumbles (that recipe will have to wait until next summer), but this year I had an itch to experiment with my favourite summer stone fruit in a proper cocktail. We’d been grilling up a storm for dinner one Friday evening and Adam had some delicious Smoked Maple Bourbon kicking around — and voila, my Smoked Peach Maple Bourbon Smash came to life right there on our patio!
This summer-meets-autumn sip juxtaposes the essence of juicy late summer fruit with a smoky grilled edge, infused with spicy autumnal warmth to create the ultimate transitional cocktail that’s equal parts sweet ‘n spicy. If you still haven’t had your fill of late summer peaches, get your grill on and imbibe this simple but sassy cocktail sure to impress both bourbon lovers and bourbon skeptics (believe it or not, I was the latter prior to this cocktail!). As always, my Smoked Peach Maple Bourbon Smash is free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar — and brimming with better-for-you ingredients, because I believe in balance in all areas of life. Grilled Okanagan peaches, Smoked Maple Bourbon, 100% pure Canadian maple syrup, fresh thyme, spicy ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, a splash of soda water and a dash of bitters are shaken to perfection and served over ice in this quintessentially September libation!
Happy Friday, friends! This girl is so ready for a glass of wine and for the long weekend. If you’re in need of some fresh tunes to decorate your long weekend adventures, my July 2019 Soundtrack is ready for streaming! This hour and a half long playlist features a really eclectic mixture of tracks spanning genres from instrumental to rap, with an emphasis on hip-hop (there are so many new artists I’ve been enjoying this summer!). No matter what you’re up to this long weekend, this easy-listening playlist is full of summer anthems you’ll enjoy during August long weekend and beyond!
In the wake of Summer Solstice, I’m so excited to share the first clean COCKTAIL of the season here at JustineCelina! Those of you who follow along with my Instagram Stories will know this one has been in testing since early April, when the first rhubarb of year starting popping up in my local farmer’s markets. This year I hosted the special ladies in my life for Mother’s Day brunch and created this signature cocktail inspired by them to celebrate the occasion! I’m happy to report my Raspberry Rhubarb Rosé Spritz received rave reviews after 15 rounds of testing and perfecting — my Mom even exclaimed “Now that’s a keeper!” upon first sip!
My Raspberry Rhubarb Rosé Spritz typifies the season in a jubilant celebration of all things feminine, fruity and nostalgic. Rhubarb and raspberries have always reminded me of my Grandmother’s garden and berry picking at the family farm — so I channeled some of my fondest childhood memories into this cheerful libation! A summer-inspired trio of rhubarb, raspberries and honey combine in a scratch-made Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup to infuse this effervescent cocktail with seasonal panache, beautifully complimented by sparkling rosé, local craft vodka, soda water, fresh lime juice and a dash of bitters. Enjoy this pretty, Pantone Living Coral inspired spritz with the special ladies in your life this summer — it’s the perfect menu addition for your next summer soirée, brunch, baby or bridal shower, or girls night in! Cheers!
Clean COCKTAIL lovers, I’m back with 2019’s first better-for-you libation! I’ve actually been testing my Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Paloma since last February — but because my recipe testing process is so intense, believe it or not, my star ingredients went out of season by the time I had it perfected (call me crazy, but that’s how committed I am to the perfect cocktail!). So, I waited until the height of citrus season this year to publish the recipe — and I’m so glad I did, because the results are absolutely delicious!
Have you ever had (or heard of) a Paloma? In true JustineCelina style, I’ve elevated this traditional Mexican cocktail with a fresh, plant-based, seasonal spin. My Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Paloma is a simple, refined sugar free, 6 ingredient ode to citrus season in cocktail form! Freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange, Ruby Red grapefruit and vibrant lime juice combine with Reposado tequila, spicy ginger beer and a Himalayan pink salted rim to create a jubilant, citrus-centric tipple bursting with vivacious Spanish flavour. Escape the depths of our Canadian winter and transport yourself to a sun-drenched, white sandy beach in just 10 minutes — no plane tickets required!