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Feb 22, 2018
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Merry Making
By Liguaya Figueras | Photo by Ashley Gieseking
Posted On: 12/01/2012   

The ever-flamboyant JAMIE KILGORE has a flair for the festive. The glitzy bartender at Cielo Restaurant in the Four Seasons really knows how to kick it up during the holidays. We sat down with her to talk about how to doll up any drink and the cocktails that fortify her and hubby mixing phenom Ted Kilgore on Christmas day. Ė Ligaya Figueras

Whatís the easiest way to fancy up a cocktail? Two things: You can take a drink that everybodyís had and is bored with, top it with Champagne and itís amazing. I also like to use cassis liqueur because it has a beautiful red color and takes very little to make the drink flavorful, velvety and vibrant. As little as a quarter of an ounce will be enough. Any drink that has sweetener, back off on the sweetener and use the cassis.

Whatís the most underrated cocktail ingredient? Angostura bitters. A lot of people love it but donít realize how cool it is. You have a Plain Jane drink. What does it need? Angostura bitters. It will pull all the flavors together.

The most overrated? I donít care for triple sec. Buy Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

What will you be drinking on Christmas Day? Because [Ted and I] both have families that donít drink, we like to enjoy a breakfast cocktail before going to family events. For Christmas, we drink a Ramos Gin Fizz or hot buttered rum.

Whatís the most festive cocktail? Kir Royale because Champagne is affiliated with celebrations. But thatís silly; Champagne should be regarded as something you can drink every day.

Whereís the best place to shop for vintage stemware? Antique stores. Two of my favorites are in Maplewood: Treasure Aisles and Big Bend Antique [Gallery]. Youíre making me give away my secrets.

What booze tops your wish list this year? I always want Champagne. Moneyís no object? Then Ron Zacapa XO Rum. Buffalo Trace has its Single Oak Project. Those are fun if you can get your hands on them.

Whatís your go-to gift for drinkers? I like to stock up on cases of champagne, Lucien Albrecht. Itís a sparkling French wine. They have a brut and a brut rosť that are both moderately priced, so good for gift-giving. If you want to invest the time, make homemade liqueurs or infusions as gifts. You can do it in Mason jars and put a ribbon on it.

How do you dress up your hair for the holidays? I have a modest collection of vintage hats and hairpieces. I also enjoy putting flowers in my hair Ė always in a good contrast color to your hair color. I go to craft stores and they usually have flowers by the bunch.

Whatís your favorite party dress and what drink matches best with it? My favorite party dress is black, flocked with a floral pattern. A glass of Champagne is always more elegant than a 12-ounce bottle of beer. If one must drink beer for the holidays, put it in a beautiful glass.

How do you steal the show from your husband at a holiday party? Show a little cleavage. Is it anybodyís husband or just mine?

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