If you want your cocktails to taste like they do in the best of bars, you've got to step up your game. While you may have a well-stocked home bar, that Angostura bitters and Noilly Prat vermouth isn't going to cut it. To make a truly exceptional and creative cocktail, you need ingredients of the same quality. While there are many great liqueurs out there to choose from, we rounded up our 10 favorite -- and easier to find -- bottles.
Chartreuse is making its way into the bar scene and can be found in most liquor stores. It's an old liqueur that was used for its supposed medicinal properties, with a history dating back to the 1700s. Chartreuse was, and still is, made by monks with over 130 herbs, roots, spices and bark. It makes a great mixer, can be served neat and is especially nice as a digestif. <strong>Get the<a href="http://www.webtender.com/db/drink/4348" target="_hplink"> Emerald Martini recipe</a> by Webtender</strong>
Rothman & Winter Creme de Violette
Creme de Violette is a liqueur made with violet flowers and a brandy or neutral spirit base. It can be served with dry vermouth, alone as a cordial or in a cocktail. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Blue-Moon-Cocktail-Recipe" target="_hplink">Blue Moon cocktail recipe</a> by Imbibe Magazine</strong>
Strega is an herbaceous Italian liqueur that's made with roughly 70 different herbs -- among them are mint and fennel. Strega is great used as a digestif and also makes a nice addition to cocktails. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/t/the-lemon-peel-13653.html" target="_hplink">Lemon Peel cocktail recipe</a> by Bar None</strong>
Even though you just add a couple drops, bitters have the ability to set your cocktail apart. And now that they come in so many interesting flavors -- like blood orange, rhubarb and black pepper -- the possibilities for cocktails are endless. <strong>Get the <a href="http://imbibemagazine.com/Recipe-Trident" target="_hplink">Trident cocktail recipe</a> by Imbibe Magazine</strong>
Maraschino is a clear, relatively dry liqueur made from sour Marasca cherries. The liqueur is made with the sour fruit and the crushed cherry pits, which give it a subtle bitter almond flavor. The complex flavors of this liqueur works wonders in balancing out sweet or tart cocktails. <strong>Get the <a href="http://intoxicologist.net/tag/luxardo-maraschino-liqueur/" target="_hplink">En Vogue cocktail recipe</a> by The Intoxicologist</strong>
St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
St. Germaine is made from elderflowers, a small, white starry flower that blooms through the spring and summer. The particular liqueur is made from flowers that are gathered from the hillsides in the French Alps during a short four-to-six-week period in spring. It livens up a cocktail with sweet and aromatic flavors that hint at pear and lychee flavors. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.inspiredtaste.net/9986/st-germain-and-champagne-recipe/" target="_hplink">St. Germain and Champagne recipe</a> by Inspired Taste</strong>
Cynar is an Italian aperitif made from 13 herbs and plants -- the most predominant of those being artichokes. Cynar is a dark brown color and has a bittersweet aftertaste. It can be served as an aperitif, mixed into cocktails or as a digestif. It adds a subtle punch to cocktails. <strong>Get <a href="http://cocktailenthusiast.com/2012/02/17/mixing-with-cynar/" target="_hplink">The Art of Choke cocktail recipe</a> by Cocktail Enthusiast</strong>
Lillet is made up of about 85 percent white Bordeaux wine blend and the other 15 percent is a mixture of fruit liqueurs, mostly citrus. You can drink this as an aperitif as it originally was, but it's finding its way into cocktails more and more. <strong>Get <a href="http://backyardbartender.blogspot.com/2011/05/blanc-lillet-blanc.html" target="_hplink">The Vesper cocktail recipe</a> by The Backyard Bartender</strong>
If you're a fan of flowers -- roses to be exact -- you just might like drinking them too. This Italian liqueur is made from rose petals. It's a popular drink in Sicily, and it would be a great addition to your bar, especially in the summer time. It's a nice, light after dinner drink.
Fernet is a bitter spirit that's widely popular in Argentina and is making a name for itself in the U.S. as well. Fernet is made with herbs and spices and has a strong and distinctive flavor. In Argentina it's mixed often with coke, but Fernet is also enjoyed neat or as a splash in a cocktail. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.imbibemagazine.com/The-Smoking-Gun-Recipe" target="_hplink">Smoking Gun cocktail recipe</a> by Imbibe Magazine</strong>
WATCH: How To Make The Blood Sanguinello Cocktail
Mixologist Charlotte Voisey shows you how to make her twist on the classic Blood and Sand cocktail. The addition of blood orange liqueur, Lillet Rouge and single malt scotch make this twist on the classic a real treat.