It isn't just in the kitchen that festive flavors and mixes are producing Christmas and New Year's treats. Helped by an ever-expanding arsenal of flavored vodkas, schnapps and rum, mixologists are playing with sweet and sour, smooth and creamy, bitter and bright to help you celebrate.
Most of these drinks are $7 to $8.
Alexandria Hercz, 23, mixes the liquid magic created by Becca Schmitt, 30, at Seven in downtown Belleville.
"I came up with some holiday drinks after doing some research online and seeing what liquor we had here," Becca said Thursday as Alex, behind the bar, gathered the ingredients for Roasted Toasted Almond.
"It has 2 ounces ... espresso vodka, 1 1/2 ounces Amaretto and 1 ounce cream (half and half)," said Alex as she shook the mixture.
With presentation an important aspect, she drizzled chocolate syrup in stripes on the inside of a martini glass before pouring the mixture into it. A shake of cocoa on top and it was ready to be served.
Seven also serves three other festive concoctions, including Becca's Northern Lights, a ruby-red cocktail made with Crown Royal, a dash of peach schnapps, orange juice and cranberry juice.
Just down the street, Allison Babcock, one of the owners of The Winetap, is toasting the season with a favorite Christmas cookie ingredient.
"We have the Gingerbread Martini," she said last week. Made with Bailey's Kahlua, orange vodka and gingerbread syrup, it glistens because it also contains a dash of Goldschlager, a clear liqueur with flakes of gold leaf floating in it.
"And then we serve it with a gingerbread cookie," Allison said.
Also serving its own version of a Gingerbread Martini is the Craft Chophouse in Edwardsville: Crown Royal Maple (a new flavor) bourbon, RumChata (a liqueur created from rice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet dairy cream and rum), cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.
At Erato on Main in downtown Edwardsville, the Poinsettia is a bubbly drink made with cranberry juice, Cointreau and champagne. And if you want to go green for the holidays, try the Absinthe Cocktail, a mixture of Pernod, absinthe, sugar and water.
The sweet red seasonal hit at Agostino's Restaurant in Fairview Heights is the Strawberry Cheesecake Martini made by bartender Bridget Liliensiek. She puts together vanilla and cake vodkas and strawberry mix.
"Then we sugar the rim and serve it with a fat strawberry," she said.
If chocolate and peppermint are holiday favorites, head to Bella Milano in O'Fallon. Bartender Carly Higdon will whip up a Chocolate Peppermint Martini just for you. What's in it? Chocolate vodka, peppermint schnapps and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.