beet, berry + blood orange granita | a sparkling galentine’s day cocktail

cocktails, drinks, wine, winter

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that might make you either cringe or just shrug your shoulders or maybe even break out your dancing shoes. I tend to simply shrug my shoulders; the holiday could pass on by, and I’d still be happy. Meh. If some flowers or a card or some cookies come my way, however, I think could be persuaded to celebrate Valentine’s Day and even don a little pink.

I recently developed a Galentine’s Day cocktail for the Kitchn {I’ll share the link, when it’s up}, and in the midst of doing my recipe testing and researching, I really gained an appreciation for the concept behind the celebration. I’d heard about the holiday before, which is 180 degrees away from its cupid-themed counterpart {no pressure or hefty price tags, more waffles and dancing}, and I’ve even used the salutation casually in a sentence, but that’s where it stopped. I didn’t really participate.

The holiday, which is officially celebrated on February 13th, is all about showing your love, support, and enthusiasm for the WOMEN in your life. It’s not a time to bash your ex or gossip about the girl who sits next to you at work. It’s a day dedicated to making time for your girlfriends, your lady coworkers, your moms, and your sisters. It actually succeeds in making you feel and share what the other holiday, oftentimes unsuccessfully, attempts to make you feel:


And a solid Galentine’s Day party isn’t complete without a festive cocktail.

I’m sharing a healthy-ish cocktail with you that’s easy to make ahead and doesn’t require a ton of expensive spirits. It’s low-key and high-reward. I’ve added roasted beets, ripe blood oranges, and sweet berries together for a slightly sweet granita that pairs perfectly with dry sparkling wine. I’ve even added one of my favorite spirits to bring a balanced-but-bitter bite to the mix: Campari.

How about you? Do you celebrate either holiday? I recently flew down to Florida with Steve to visit my family and spend time with my dad, who has been in poor health for quite a while now. My stepmom, Jeanne, was taking a week to visit her family in New Jersey, and since she takes care of my dad, she needed a little help, while she was gone.

My sister and her daughter had already been there for a couple of days when we arrived, and they were both excited for even more company. Even though the circumstances were somewhat challenging, we had the most memorable time together. Dad fed off our collective energy. I swear he almost glowed by the time we left. Steve made the most spectacular seafood dinners for us, we shared some fun wine, and we made sure to take a little time to soak in the hot tub any chance we could.

The best night was when Steve, my dad, and I were up until after midnight, watching an old movie that starred Richard Kiel. He was the actor who played “Mr. Larson” in Happy Gilmore and “Jaws” in the James Bond movies. We just kind of wound up on this black-and-white, weird movie that centered around Kiel’s caveman-like character, who terrorized Palm Springs residents. The film, Eegah, barely skirts over a 2.0 rating on IMDB. We never even turned the volume on. We kept it silent, and the three of us narrated our own script, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style.

We could barely hold in our laughter.

Aside from those memorable activities we shared together, the takeaway from the trip was that slowing down and spending time with loved ones should be on the top of my to-do list. Even if it’s just a phone call or a text, telling those close to me that I love them should be something I do daily.

On to that cocktail.

beet, berry + blood orange granita

  • 1 medium-sized red beet, roasted {see notes below}
  • 1 blood orange, peeled
  • 1/2 cup assorted berries, coarsely chopped {I used blackberries and strawberries}
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar {I used Big B’s}
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 30 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract {I used The Real Deal}
  • 3 ounces Campari
  • 1 bottle {750 mL} chilled, dry sparkling wine {I used Mumm Napa Brut Prestige}
  1. In a food processor, purée beet, blood orange, and berries until well incorporated. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, apple cider vinegar, star anise pods, allspice berries, and vanilla extract.
  3. Over medium-high heat, stir until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Stir in the beet purée and remove from heat just after the mixture reaches a slow simmer.
  5. Let mixture cool to room temperature, allowing the spices to infuse even further.
  6. Strain the mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids.
  7. Add the Campari and stir well.
  8. Pour the mixture into an 8″ by 8″ glass baking pan and set in the freezer.
  9. Scrape the mixture every 20 minutes with a fork, breaking apart and spreading out any frozen portions, until the mixture is fully frozen and its consistency resembles a slushy-like texture. It took a couple of hours to freeze to my desired consistency. Store in the freezer, covered, until ready to enjoy.
  10. To serve, spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the granita into chilled flutes and top with sparkling wine.
  • Depending upon how heavily you pour your bubbly and how much granita you prefer in your glass, this recipe serves between 4 and 6. Any leftover granita can be store in the freezer and enjoyed within the next couple of days; however, it the best consistency when enjoyed the same day.
  • Look for a Prosecco, Cava, or a dry domestic bubbly. I went with Mumm Napa Brut Prestige; it’s clean, crisp, and perfect with the flavor profile of the granita.
  • To roast the beet, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, wrap the beet in foil, and bake for 55 minutes to one hour. If you have any other vegetables you’d like to roast, now is a good time to maximize the fact that you’re already heating up your oven. Whenever I’m roasting vegetables like this, I always throw in a head of garlic in its little roaster at the same time, so that I have some on hand.

I adapted this recipe from one of Maria Del Mar Sacasa’s creations. She authored the book, Winter Cocktails, which is a seasonal staple for me over the colder months. Its pages are filled with cozy recipes for hot toddies, pitcher drinks, mulled ciders, and wintry punches. I especially loved enjoying this particular riff on her granita, while it snowed outside. There’s something gratifying about making frozen drinks in the winter, as strange as it seems.

Cheers to a week centered around LOVE.

Whether you celebrate with your significant other, with your aunt, with your neighbor, with your sister, with yourself, or not at all, think about how you can actively bring more love into every moment. How can you show support? How can you more deeply share about what’s going on in your life? How can you genuinely praise the works of another woman in your life? How can you let go a little more of yourself to really ask someone how they’re doing? Also, how can you take more time for YOU?

I’ll close by sharing a few of my favorite lady cocktail bloggers’ recipes below that are fit for any Galentine’s or Valentine’s Day celebration. Or plain ol’ day of the week!



galentine’s day cocktail favorites

  1. Looks amazing! These are such a great idea for Valentine’s Day! Your pictures look beautiful! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made blondies recently for dessert and they turned out really good! Hope you give these a try as well 🙂

  2. Joan Steese says:

    Jayme, I’m so glad you and Steve had that time in Florida, taking care of and reconnecting with your Dad and Heather. I loved reading your blog; it was great as usual. Hugs! Mom Steese

  3. Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek says:

    This cocktail is soooo up my alley! I love the colors, the sparkling wine, and the lovely granita (slash I just love slushies ;)). Also, thanks for sharing a bit about your time with family! And your thoughts on Val’s day–I have very similar ideas on the holiday. xo

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