I love trying unique cocktails, experimenting with new brands, new liqueurs, new ingredients. Whether it's for the holidays or just for a fun evening with friends any day of the year, I enjoy creating cocktails — from the classical to the whimsical. Here are a few of my favorite cocktails — complete with recipes for you to make at home.

Blue Angel Vodka Blue BAM

Blue Angel Vodka's Blue BAM. Photo courtesy Blue Angel Vodka

Blue Angel Vodka's Blue BAM

The Blue Angel Martini (BAM) is the signature drink of Blue Angel Vodka, a new, ultra-premium vodka created by master distiller Maurice Kanbar. The soft, smooth vodka is an affordable luxury for discernible vodka drinkers. By using the blue curacao – try Blue Angel's own Blue Angel Curacao – you add a festive touch to the martini.

  • 3 oz. Blue Angel Vodka
  • Dash Blue Angel Curacao
  1. In a shaker, combine vodka and curacao with several ice cubes.
  2. Shake vigorously, then strain into chilled martini glass.
  3. For a variation, add a little lemon-lime soda.
  4. To get creative, garnish with edible Silver Foil.

Blue Angel Vodka, 750 ml bottle, $19.99. http://www.blueangelvodka.com

St-Germain and Champagne

One of my favorite liqueurs is St-Germain. This artisanal liqueur is created from handpicked elderflower blossoms. It has a sweet fragrance and tastes as sweet as it smells. It comes in a gorgeous bottle to boot! My favorite spirit of all is Champagne, so combining Champagne with St-Germain is a perfect cocktail.

St Germain

St Germain Elderflower Liqueur. Photo courtesy St Germain

Pour 1/2 shot St-Germain into a chilled Champagne flute, top with Champagne, and stir lightly. Float half a strawberry or a few raspberries.

St-Germain is online at http://www.stgermain.fr/

Hpnotiq Heaven

There's something captivating about a lovely blue drink. Hpnotiq is the ultimate “blue” drink — a mix of exotic fruit juices, premium vodka, and cognac. You should always drink Hpnotiq thoroughly chilled or over ice. It mixes well with a variety of other liquors. One of my favorite winter drinks is Hpnotiq Heaven.

Hpnotiq Heaven

Hpnotiq Heaven

  • 1 oz Hpnotiq
  • 2 oz Champagne
  • 1 oz Chambord
  1. Pour chilled Hpnotiq and Champagne into a Champagne flute.
  2. Slowly add Chambord.
  3. Garnish with cherries.

Find Hpnotiq online, with a complete list of recipes, at http://www.hpnotiq.com

Tuaca Sidecar



Tuaca is one of the most elegant liqueurs you'll find. I had it the first time at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona. The bartender at Il Terrazzo, the fine-dining restaurant at the resort, suggested I try Tuaca. I've been in love ever since. It was definitely a wow moment.

The vanilla citrus liqueur dates back to Renaissance Italy. Tuaca creates a great, classy drink. The Tuaca Sidecar was a creation by a bartender at Vault 244 Bistro in Albany, Oregon. If you're in Albany, stop by for a Tuaca Sidecar and check out the awesome food while you're at it. If you want to create your own Sidecar, you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 oz Tuaca
  • 1 1/2 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Orange juice
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  1. Pour into a sugar rimmed martini glass.

Read all about Tuaca and get some drink ideas at http://www.tuaca.com.

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