tart cranberry gin sparklers | fiercely ringing in the new year

cocktails, drinks, fruits, gin, wine, winter

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Happy New Year’s Evel!!

Can you even believe the year is almost over? As I type, I’m feeling like a well-worn mix tape comprised of half a French press of coffee, two glasses of Lucien Albrecht brut rosé, several glasses of water, two plays of BØRNS’ Dopamine, thoughts of a hot shower, and a slight dread of this evening’s activities. This past year has been a great one, albeit one of highs and lows, interspersed with periods of mayhem and moments of peace. In one breath, I say I’d have it no other way, and in the very next, I dream of a deprivation tank.

C’est la vie!

I’m not quite ready just yet to craft an introspective tirade or a hopeful, inspired declaration for 2016. That will most likely happen this weekend. For now, I still have a writing assignment to finish, a suit to press, and four hours of sleep to catch before the craziest shift of the year. We have nearly 700 reservations on the books, and the last thing I want to do is pop bottles for a roomful of tipsy people. From the way I’m talking, it sounds like I am bereft of life and energy, but, in fact, I’m bursting from the seams and ready to tackle the next project. I just need a few days to reset, to recharge, to freaking sleep.

And then, it’s GO!!

tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & floraI am reeling on one of the happiest weeks I’ve ever experienced. My best friend, my sister, delivered her first child, a sweet and perfect little girl last Monday, on the winter solstice. Little Adriana Giselle arrived three weeks early. Although I was beyond happy that my sister fared so well and that her daughter was given a clean bill of health, I was bummed because I’d planned on traveling to Florida just after the mayhem of the NYE celebration here at work.

I had it perfectly sketched out. I’d ring in the new year, toast Steve with a glass of Bollinger in the wine cellar, go home around 3:00AM, and draw plans for the upcoming months. Then I’d get a few days to relax and catch up, before flying down to Florida to meet my new niece. I’m laughing at myself right now. How can we even begin to plan things out so perfectly? Seriously. So many other factors are involved, so it is nearly futile to make concrete steps so far out.

And it’s silly that I even tried to plan my life around my sister’s due date, which shifted dramatically this past month. My sister is currently going through many changes, changes that dwarf my own set of circumstances. All of this is a lesson, to me, in letting go. In planning. In leaving room for the what-ifs, the unknowns, the unexpected.

All of this unknown can be quite the stress factor, but at the same time, if you really release it all, basking in the uncertain can be quite comforting. If we can’t do anything about our circumstances beyond doing our best, then why worry at all? Easy to say, right?

I’m closing this eve of New Year’s Eve and trying my hardest to let it all go. I’ve done my best, with the resources I have been given, that I’ve cultivated, and I’m sleeping in peace and filled with hope for the next steps.

Alright. Let’s quit this deep train of thought and have a bubbly, pink cocktail; shall we?!


tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & floraI’m all about the dry, bubbly rosé, whether I crack it for a ball-dropping celebration or for a happy dance that there’s a second season on the books coming up for Dare Devil on Netflix. Those little rewards call for sweet celebrations.

This tart and effervescent cocktail sports a base of St. George Spirits “Terroir” Gin. It was the very first gin I couldn’t get over. It seriously shifted my love of gin to a deeper, richer level. Wow. Maybe this is the rosé talking, but if I haven’t edited this sentence by the time this post goes live in the morning, then it’s definitely true love.

The piney, aromatic notes of sage, laurel, and citrus are perfect pairings with tart cranberry and the crisp, fruity brut rosé. It’s the fitting sip to the toast in the new year and to that crazy, exciting unknown. I added a little freshly juiced lemon to brighten the red fruit notes, and the bubbles complete the picture.

Add a spring of rosemary, and it’s over from there. Deep sighs and smiles.

tart cranberry gin sparkler

  1. In a mixing tin, build the gin, cranberry simple, and lemon juice.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into a Champagne flute and slowly top with the brut rosé.
  4. Garnish with cranberries on a skewer and a sprig of freshly clipped rosemary.
  5. Bring it, 2016!!

cranberry simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 ounces fresh cranberries
  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water.
  2. Bring to a boil, add the cranberries, and reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  3. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries just start to pop.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely, smashing a few cranberries to disperse both color and flavor to the simple syrup.
  5. Strain off the solids and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora

I originally thought about crafting a gin cocktail, combined with pear simple syrup, and Cava. I just love that flavor combination. Instead, I opted upon a punchy, bright pink cocktail, since I had a lot of cranberries on hand in my fridge. It’s the tail-end of the holiday season, and I figured I should stretch out as much festivity as I possibly could.

This particular brut rosé has been a favorite of mine for several years. You can especially find amazing values in cremants {sparkling wines} from other regions in France, other than Champagne, such as Alsace and Bourgogne. They are made in the same style as the versions from Champagne but lacking the pricier tag. This one is consistently delicious, year after year. And it’s comfortably priced at or under $20.

More, please. Yes, please. Keep it coming, please.

lucien albrecht, cremant d’alsace, brut rosé, mv

  • on the eyes  –  pale, copper-tinted pink, with persistent bubbles.
  • on the nose  –  bright red fruits, boasting aromas of strawberry and raspberry, faint toasty aroma of toast and burnt orange peel.
  • on the palate  –  dry, with bright acidity, confirmation of red fruits, dried apricot, brioche, and a long, toasty finish and creamy mouth-feel.
  • on the table  –  perfect all by itself or with butternut and apple soup, grilled cheese, or peach caprese salad.
  • on the shelf  –  around $20.
  • on the ears  –  paired with BØRNS “The Emotion” from their album, Dopamine. I think that the bubbles travel at the same speed as this beautiful, poetic, emotion-filled song’s pace. I’ve loved this album ever since I first discovered it over at Yossy Arefi’s blog. Parts of the song hint to me of Björk’s vocal stretch, with an ethereal lilt and, at the same time, a heaviness of words. Love this so much. It’s been on repeat an embarrassing number of times this week.

tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora

Cheers to the unwritten future, to the glowing silver lining, to the lines we draw, which connect the dots we’ve dreamed about in our minds. I’m so excited for 2016. Every step I take reminds me that we can truly create our destinies, to an extent. I’d rather die trying and digging deeper than coasting through and simply hoping hard with one eye open.

How are you forging the upcoming year? What goals and crazy thoughts do you have racing through your mind right now? And how are you going to keep the momentum going? That’s one thing I have difficulty with keeping at a constant pace.

Many hugs, warm thoughts, and MUCH gratitude,


tart cranberry gin sparklers | holly & flora

  1. Beautiful drink, great cocktail!!

  2. Jenny says:

    This sounds like the perfect new years drink! Sometimes life puts those concrete steps in front of you that you have to take, and sometimes you have to forge your own path. Neither are ever what we expect! I love reading your musings. Cheers indeed to the unwritten future!

    • I am really wishing for some concrete steps! Forging away on my own gets old sometimes! HA! I hope this year is a beautiful one for you, Jenny. I still say that you, Kate, and I should grab some coffee ASAP. In fact, I’m going to ask her right now! …and it makes me happy that you enjoy my musings. Sometimes, I just write exactly what’s going on in my mind and just hit “publish.” I enjoy reading your thoughts, as well! Cheers to the unwritten future, and may it be in our favor this year. XO!

  3. stevesteese says:

    Great photos Jayme!!! Happy New Year!! Here’s to a day off and a fresh start tomorrow!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉

  4. This drink sounds wonderful, and your photographs make it ever so tempting. It sounds like things are going well. I love hearing about births. As Miss Melanie said in Gone With The Wind “Children are life renewing itself..” Surely there can be no greater joy. All the best to you and yours in the coming year!

    • Hello, Adri! I’m so happy to have happened upon your blog! Reading a post of yours was so timely. I am trying out some small-batch amari and liqueurs from Italy, as I type! Thank you for your kind words. Yes, things are going well. I am seriously happy, however, that I have a real day off tomorrow and can play catch-up on sleep and fun things.

      I had forgotten about that beautiful quote from Gone With The Wind, and you are absolutely right about that. Have an amazing year ahead!!

  5. Love this!! But then I love all you do!! Rofl!!! Hapoy New Year!!

    • I love you and all you do! AWWWWW! So much love and hugs and happy thoughts both ways! Lol! Look out for a little treat coming your way. I think I told you that already, but I wanted to make sure you knew to look for it. XO! And cheers to an amazing year – you are already on your way!

  6. danielle is rooting the sun says:

    i adore that you had such a beautiful week, such strong and affirmative vibrations for seasons to come. your words are so beautiful, that you’ve done the best with the resources you’ve been given – beautiful. happiest new year sweet Jayme, it’s been an absolute pleasure connecting with you. & ps this combination of cranberry and gin had me at hello. xoxo

    • Angie says:

      I’m drinking this right now and YUM! I love the lemon in it. Thanks for sharing!

      • Angieeeeee! I’m going to make a note on the recipe, since you ran into the problem of not finding any cranberries. BUT! I’m so happy you made this cocktail and enjoyed it so. It was great seeing you and Chris and the kiddos this morning. Most importantly, we exchanged chocolate, and for that, my day is all-the-better. Your cake ROCKS!!! {insert happy dance here}

    • Thanks, Danielle! Can’t do anything else than send out those strong and affirmative vibrations for seasons to come. So true. I am definitely not only hoping for the best but also doing my best this year. I love that I’ve come to know you, too, and I look forward to all of your inspiring creations to come. XO to you, and if you lived closer, I’d make you one of these, myself. 🙂

  7. Laurie says:

    Congratulations on the tiny girl child!! I love your thoughts on the Year that has yet to happen! Planning is so funny and very often the Universe so outdoes us! Ten years ago I had basically given up on being happy and the big U brought such joy to my life! I love this drink…it’s beautiful and has my favorite color! Pink! It’s been lovely and beyond meeting you! I’m listening to Dopamine as I type this….😊🌟💛🐶💛🌟😊. I’m so excited for this year and the awesomeness I know it holds out for all of us!

    • Laurie, happy 2016! Thank you so much for the congrats. I’m anticipating meeting her sometime this month…and enjoying some good Florida sunshine and a sandy beach in the mix. I’m very happy to hear that things are going much better for you, since ten years ago. I have definitely had my fair share of ups and downs, and I find that if I just trust in “the big U”, that all ends up going well, at just the right time.

      Hugs to you and your family and that furry, little sweetie of yours. It’s been so much fun getting to know each other, and I look forward to hanging up one of your prints in my house very soon! That’s so great you’re taking the big steps to put your work out there! Such an inspiration. Cheers and SUPER happy you are digging Dopamine. I have liked it, and I was happy to happen upon it, myself. XO to you!

  8. Oh my – congrats to your sister and your whole family Jayme. Adriana Giselle is one lucky baby!

    I totally agree that we create our destinies, and like you, I’d rather die trying and digging deeper than coasting through and simply hoping hard with one eye open. So for the past 2 weeks I totally logged off ALL internet and am just getting back to work now. But I did some serious thinking over that time about where my life is going and what I’m doing and how I can make everything better. Not that it’s not great now, but I’m seriously considering if I’m living up to my happy…. So yeah. That’s happening. Chase those unicorns 😉

    And this might just be the rosé talking…. But I am SO grateful for you. And your gorgeous cocktails and beautiful photos and super awesome talent and generous friendship. xoxo!

    • Kristy!!

      Thanks so much for popping by. I know you are beyond busy with such amazing things right now. 🙂 I am so excited to meet that little niece of mine! I seriously want to do the very same thing that you did – log off of ALL internet activity for an extended period of time. I’m in a mode of transition, and I can’t WAIT to take some time off to enjoy peace and the experience of new life, when I visit my family in Florida in a few weeks.

      It’s so nice to hear from you. I can’t WAIT to see what you’re doing with your cookbook. I’m so excited and happy to see your progress. I’m also happy that we are chasing those unicorns TOGETHER. We have GOT THIS! :-))))))

      I am also grateful for YOU, and that comes from the heart, but the caps might be the gin talking. LOL!! Thank you for your kindness and comments and connection and inspiration and HILARITY! You crack my shit up, and for that, I’m alllll the happier. And God knows I need that on a daily basis. BIG Xs and Os to you, my friend! I have to make it up your way this next fall, when I visit Portland. It’s such a quick flight from there, and by then, you’ll be touring your book, right?

      LOVE your way!

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