With the holiday season in full swing, party hosts often lighten the mood with a signature adult beverage handed to guests as they come in the door. It makes for a great ice breaker as people walk into an event where guests might not know each other. Immediately, everyone has an easy a conversation starter. 

Many events start with a glass of Champagne, but more memorable is a signature cocktail. A great drink is result of the creativity of its maker, and the more passion behind that creativity, the better the result.

At Park Avenue Club, a private dining club in Florham Park, NJ, which donates its profits to a wide range of non-profit organizations, the staff of its innovative bar program finds that specialty cocktails can lighten the mood and make the holidays more fun.

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Below are a couple of mixologist Isabel “Izzy” Tulloch’s favorite recipes for signature drinks:

Lips Like “Cinnamon” Sugar

1.5 oz Cachaca Amburana

.5 oz banana liqueur

.5 oz lime juice

ground cinnamon

.5 oz Diplomatico rum

Torched cinnamon stick for garnish.

In shaker combine Cachaca Amburana, banana liqueur and lime juice. Add 2 dashes of cinnamon and ice; shake. Strain into rocks glass. Add large ice cube. Pour rum slowly over cube. If desired, garnish with cinnamon stick.  

Now Peter Piper Picked Peppers, but Run Rapped Rhymes

Lemon wedge

Cayenne

6 red pepper squares

1 oz. Pimm’s No.1

.5 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

5 oz. lemon juice

2 dashes orange bitters

Source tonic water

Prepare glass: Rub a lemon wedge from lip of glass to a quarter of the way down. Sprinkle cayenne over “lemon juice square.” Combine peppers, liquor and bitters in shaker. Add ice and shake.

Add ice to prepped glass and strain cocktail in. Add more ice and top with tonic.

More ideas:

If you are hosting a holiday gathering and want to stick with simpler, yet different recipes, try something along the lines of a mulled wine — red wine that is spiced, sweetened and served warm. It's easily accomplished and kept warm with a slow cooker. All you need is a couple of bottles of wine, maple syrup, oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise. Mulled wine is sometimes spiked with brandy.

If you are looking for something that says “dashing through the snow,” try making a white martini with vanilla-infused vodka, white chocolate liqueur and creme de cocoa with red, green or sparkling sprinkles as a garnish.

Read more on NJ Flavor:

She Lost Part of Her Leg. That Didn’t Stop this NJ Soul Food Chef

New Jersey Date Night: Our Favorite Pizza Places

Make Our Decadent Homemade Hot Chocolate

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Got a story you'd like to see on NJ Flavor? Email Jackie Lieberman at jlieberman@tapinto.net.