It’s the first Friday of spring, so my food blogger friends and I thought it was the perfect occasion to celebrate! Today I couldn’t be more excited to bring you the Spring Edition of Connecting Over Cocktails where I’ve teamed up with 7 talented food bloggers across North America to showcase a plethora of floral flavours in cocktail form. If you’re looking for innovative cocktail ideas as we spring forward, you’ve come to the right place — just scroll down to the bottom of this post to see what my fellow Food Bloggers of Canada members whipped up for you this weekend!
I’m embracing this beautiful new season here at JustineCelina with my Coastal Orange Blossom Gin Cocktail — inspired by my recent trip to the west coast. Delicate and ultra mellow, this refreshing spring sipper features small batch, hand harvested, artisanal gin from Canada’s Vancouver island complimented by a fusion of orange blossom water and hydrating coconut water, finished with a splash of fresh orange juice. With just 4 ingredients, this elegantly understated gin cocktail is simple to prepare, but sure to impress. My Coastal Orange Blossom Gin Cocktails would be the perfect accompaniment to a light spring lunch, garden party, birthday party or shower. If you’re in the mood for something lighthearted this Friday afternoon, settle in for this ultra floral, spring inspired recipe!
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!
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!
Friends, welcome back for my annual (and very belated!) Blogiversary celebration! My 3rd Blogiversary went roaring by on March 2nd — but to be honest, I was completely engrossed in our Living Room Reveal and some other fun, last minute projects at the time. Earlier this year I chatted about changing things up around here and creating space to let life happen — and that’s exactly what I’ve done! There’s been a lot happening here at JustineCelina lately as we get ready to reveal the next rooms in our SPACE REFRESH series (coming your way later this month!) and I simply had to prioritize my time differently to make this all possible. March was one of my most creatively fulfilling months of my life — it left me completely exhausted but also incredibly inspired! In the two months since My 3rd Blogiversary I’ve reached some milestones I’ve dreamed of achieving since launching JustineCelina and they’ve reminded me exactly why I started this whole thing in the first place. So, although it’s a bit late and I’ve been chipping away at this post when I can, I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this Pantone Spring 2018 inspired 3rd Blogiversary soirée with you!
In the midst of it all, I came up with the concept for this celebratory post pretty last minute — about 10 days before the shoot (which, admittedly, was about 2 months ago!). It was so spontaneous, but serendipitous and things just fell into place (I shot it myself one sunny Friday afternoon with my tripod and self timer). This year, we’re going all out — because after 323 blog posts, almost a million views (OMG!), 180 000 images, 2 900 comments and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears (quite literally), I truly never thought I’d get here! My third year was one of intense growth, both on these pages and off of them — I hope you enjoy reading about 10 Things I Learned in my Third Year of Blogging in this raw, honest, unabashed post (you may need a sparkling glass of rosé to get though it!). Whether you’re new to JustineCelina (and there are a lot of you beautiful people — welcome!) or have been with me since the very beginning, I’m so grateful to have you here celebrating with me today!
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 hope you guys aren’t getting sick of collaborative content, because today’s post is a collaboration with a good blogging chum of mine, Dana over at Killing Thyme. Dana’s blog may sound familiar because I’ve mentioned it a few times here at JustineCelina! Dana and I met last year through The Food Bloggers of Canada and you could say we became fast blogging friends — we clicked right away. I love Dana’s zest for life that’s wildly apparent in her content, her voice and authenticity, her generosity, and of course, her fantastic recipes and culinary knowledge! You see, Dana has been at this whole blogging thing a lot longer than I have and she’s always been so supportive of what I’m doing. In short, she’s a an absolute gem and I’m sure you’ll love her content and her blog just as much as I do! Pop over to check out my guest post and grab the recipe for my Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos.
So, when she asked if I’d be up for a guest post on her site, I jumped at the opportunity! You see, we both love a great cocktail, so I knew my Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos would be a perfect fit! They combine sweet blueberries with refreshing lemon, cucumber and mint with a healthy dose of gin and a splash of soda water for just the right amount of sparkle. These late summer sipper are free of refined sugars and made with all natural ingredients — so the next time you’re craving a cooling summer cocktail, indulge yourself with a fresh twist on the classic mojito! Cheers to sharing the love, to new blogs and new friends!
Imagine a place where you could go to totally unleash your creativity. That’s what this blog has been for me for almost exactly 1 year. JustineCelina is my ultimate creative outlet and my happy place. I started my blog 1 year ago with an iPhone and an idea — and never could have imagined that it would grow and evolve into what it is today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of you reading this post. Your support in the largest creative endeavor of my life truly means the world to me!
I wasn’t going to make it a big deal, but I decided to throw JustineCelina a birthday party to celebrate this milestone! Today’s post is a very special 1st Blogiversary Party and collaborative shoot that I’ve invited some of Calgary’s very best makers, artists and creative professionals to be a part of — including Milton Photography, Rebecca Dawn Design, and Crave Cookies & Cupcakes. I’m also sharing ten things I learned during my first year of blogging. This is a very long post — so grab a cupcake and a glass of bubbly (or whatever you’re toasting with), get comfy and let’s celebrate! Cheers to going your own way and making your own magic!