Can someone tell me how 2014 is already over?! PLEASE! I remember last New Year’s Eve like it was mere days ago. For the first time in a long time, I spent it with my parents—my dad, specifically. My own birthday falls on December 31st and my father’s is on January 1st, so growing up I was typically able to blow my candles out in the same breath as he did. I didn’t realize it then, but that’s a pretty neat circumstance.
Over the past 12(?!) birthdays, I was either back at college from winter break to celebrate with my friends, or more recently, in New York City where I lived (and when you live in NYC, you don’t really consider spending New Year’s Eve anywhere else, even if you are just sitting in your itty-bitty apartment drinking cheap champagne with your roommate).
Last year, I was finally home for my birthday. And even better: I was turning 30 and my dad was turning 75. A milestone birthday for each of us, celebrated together. We toasted champagne and snapped pictures and felt the joy of the moment, even if we didn’t speak it aloud. It was one of my favorite.
I’m going to be 31. 31! I remember when my thirties felt so far away, so dreaded. I would be OLD when I reached my thirties! Now that I’m here, I feel the opposite. I feel like this decade is one of both comfort and risk, content and anticipation. It began with a commitment to myself and my partner that we were going to take on life together, side by side, forever. What could be a better start to a decade than that?
I won’t post about resolutions here, as I’m hoping to write a dedicated post to it this coming weekend; It’s hard not to get those and birthday wishes jumbled up. So I’ll make my birthday wish a simple one: more delicious cocktails shared with friends and family in 2015. I can’t wait!
For the celebration of 2015, I wanted to create a cocktail that would:
a) be a fun party drink
b) be boozy and simple
c) pair well with (birthday) cupcakes
I have been seeing French 75 cocktails all over my social media feeds, so I set out to adapt it. I had some thyme simple syrup left over from our Christmas cocktails (which my sister dubbed the Auld Lang Thyme: 2 oz bourbon, 2 oz apple cider, 1 oz lime juice, 1 oz thyme simple syrup, shake and top with champagne—so delicious even non-bourbon lovers will convert!), and I subbed in meyer lemon juice for the regular ol’ stuff. And BAM! The California 75, or Cali 75 (I hate the word “Cali” but this has an undeniable ring to it) was born.
I hope you’ll give it a go this New Year’s! It’s full of that gin flavor but has some sparkle from the prosecco, and just enough sweetness.
Happy, happy new year!
- 3 oz gin
- 2 oz meyer lemon juice
- 1 oz thyme simple syrup (recipe follows)
- your favorite prosecco or champagne
- champagne flutes or coupes
Add ice and first 3 ingredients to shaker; shake until cold. Strain equally into two champagne flutes or coupes. Top with your favorite prosecco or champagne. Cheers!
Thyme simple syrup
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. sugar
- 5-8 sprigs of thyme
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium until sugar has dissolved and thyme is wilted. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 15-45 minutes, depending on desired potency.
Barware notes: To be completely honest, I can’t remember where I got these stemless champagne flutes but I think it was here.
Cupcake notes: I made Raspberry Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting from Chasing Delicious, which is fantastic site full of food and photography inspiration. Hot damn are these tasty! And, not coincidentally, they work perfectly with a Cali 75.