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!
I’m not really sure what’s happened — but this year, my love of cocktails is outshining my love of sangria (hey… no hard feelings sangria — we had a really good run!). I’ve also been dreaming of publishing a lavender lemonade for years — but funny enough, it’s never made it’s way onto these pages. I had the most delicious lavender lemonade the summer before I started blogging at some small town in interior British Columbia on our way back from a music festival — and I’ve been determined to create an equally delicious lavender lemonade ever since! That said, I know there are tons of lavender lemonade recipes out there, but now that I have a few solid years of COCKTAIL development under my belt and some incredible, unique, delicious ingredients in my bar, I thought I’d give it a go this summer!
So, while I fully intended this recipe to be a vodka-based lavender lemonade, as I moved though a rather intense testing process (remember when I mentioned I was cocktail testing over the long weekend?), I ended up swapping lavender for lilacs and vodka for gin — and I’m so glad I did! My Japanese Lilac Gin Lemonade tastes like summertime in the country and is very near to my heart — incorporating Japanese Lilac blossoms from the tree at my childhood home in rural Alberta, honey from the hives just across the stream and Eau Claire Distillery‘s award winning Parlour Gin distilled from the flourishing barley crops and unique botanicals of Alberta’s prairies. This floral-kissed, lightly effervescent lemonade was created with a thoughtful, hand crafted, farm-to-glass approach and made for lazy summer days on the patio, easy entertaining and watching the sunset behind glowing fields of canola! Join myself and my Connecting Over Cocktails crew to indulge in a summer inspired cocktail menu (check out their creations at the end of this post!) and enter to win bottle of the best gin I’ve ever tasted, along with a Tour & Tasting for 2 at Turner Valley’s Eau Claire Distillery! Cheers to hot summer nights, refreshing gourmet cocktails and the celebrating the bountiful offerings of this beautiful land!
Welcome back, interior design lovers — I have a very exciting post for you today! Since publishing our Living Room Reveal (and having it featured and shared across the internet — eee!) I’ve received many questions about our furniture, where we purchased it and how we chose each piece — and I’ve been quietly planning this post behind the scenes! Today I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve teamed up with Structube (where we purchased the majority of our Living Room furniture) to answer all your FAQs and giveaway a $250 Gift Card to one of my Canadian readers! How amazing is that? I know $250 certainly would have put a sizeable dent in a piece of furniture for our Living Room (I’m a bit jealous, TBH!). I’m so grateful for your support on our SPACE REFRESH series and knew I wanted to thank you by giving back — and Structube very generously offered to make that possible!
Today I’m revealing all the sources for the furniture we chose to refresh our Living Room — along with my process for creating our mood board, how we moved through the design process and how our final furniture selections deviated from the original plan (oh, the art of compromise when you’re designing a space with your partner!). I’m also sharing my best tips for maximizing an apartment sized living room and creating an inviting, functional, relatively clutter free space. If you’re a lover of mid century modern design and natural materials, you’ll love today’s post! Pour yourself a nice, crisp glass of wine (I’m actually enjoying a glass of the Côte des Roses you’ll see on our EVO Coffee Table in these photos) and settle in for your weekend read — and head to the bottom of the post for details on how to enter my $250 Structube Gift Card Giveaway!
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!
I love red wine. I also love caesars. It was really only a matter of time before I tried them together in a cocktail — and it is so, so delicious! In fact, I don’t think I can ever go back — I’ve ruined traditional caesars for myself. The idea of the red wine caesar initially came to me on a beautiful summer day (a caesar Sunday, in fact!) at my family’s acreage. After a couple of caesars I thought, “Hey! I bet a splash of red wine would be really good in here!”. Well, it turns out that it wasn’t just the vodka talking! The addition of red wine adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the traditional caesar — it intensifies and enriches the flavours much like adding wine to a red pasta sauce or gravy would. And I didn’t stop there — my recipe also calls for a splash of olive juice (I’m dirty martini fan, as well!). If you’re looking for a sophisticated twist on the classic Canadian caesar, this cocktail is for you!