A bottle of Kathy's cranberry liqueur

Cranberry Liqueur

Cranberry liqueur is one of those liqueurs that can be great with a bit of tartness or way too sweet. We've never been happy with the commercial brands but since the Cosmopolitan has been one of our favorite holiday drinks, we've been searching for a cranberry liqueur recipe that fits the bill. Kathy shares a recipe we discovered at a family gathering in Montana.

A Key lime tree

Margarita Tree

Our most significant discovery in our search for the ultimate cocktail is that, when lime juice is called for in a cocktail recipe, a home-grown lime picked at peak ripeness is far superior to anything you will find in the store. Originally we attributed the difference to the type of lime we used but now, after sober reflection, we are convinced it is simply the ripeness.

Front cover of book The New Cocktail Hour

Noble Failures

Not every recipe that we tried made it to our top shelves. In the interest of science, preventing unnecessary loss of brain cells, and avoiding the waste of good alcohol, here's what didn't make it. (All of the recipes we tried are from the book The New Cocktail Hour.) Perhaps it is due to our own particular taste, perhaps the quality of the fruit we used was not at its best, or possibly, in the words of the Randy Newman song: "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong."