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Living Color 

Cocktails go psychedelic

Cocktails have become the metrosexuals of the spirits world: visually appealing and flamboyant in taste. Vodka companies have added fruit flavoring to sweeten their liquors for youth appeal. Hpnotiq -- a blend of cognac, vodka and fruit juices -- is ocean blue and a popular ingredient for other drinks. Hpnotiq is one of the liquors added to the green Incredible Hulk. Blue Curaçao is another blue liquor added to drinks such as the Blue Motorcycle.

Layered drinks (formally called pousse cafés) take time and a skilled hand. These are even more saccharine, since they are made with sweet liqueurs and cream. One such drink is the Pousse Café, with its layers of red, blue, green and yellow: Grenadine, Yellow Chartreuse, Créme de Cassis, White Creme de Cacao, Green Chartreuse and brandy.

"I had a customer ask me what we make that is blue," reports Paige Sullivan, the bar manager and a bartender at Tutto Mondo. One of her bar's more popular drinks is the Raspberry Lemonade with citron vodka, Stoli raspberry, Chambord, lemon juice, sugar, and sour mix served in a martini glass. Also popular is their Grape Nehi, a blend of Raspberry Stoli, Blue Curaçao, Chambord, cranberry juice, and sour mix.

Tutto Mondo Lounge, 1820 South Blvd., 704-332-5142.

One of the striking blue cocktails at Therapy Marketplace & Café is Feeling Blue featuring vodka, triple sec, lime juice and blue Curaçao. All About Eve is bright green and has Midori melon liqueur and vodka. General Manager Jack Livingston said, "Most of our customers order for the name, but then are impressed by the color. Our most popular drinks are Full Frontal and G Spot." In case you're wondering: Full Frontal is a greenish blue -- a mixture of pineapple juice and blue Curaçao.

Therapy, 401 N. Tryon St., 704-333-1353.

Two popular drinks at Town, in the Gateway center, are their White Chocolate Key Lime Pie Martini with white creme de cacao, Stoli vanil vodka, and freshly squeezed limes; and a Blood Orange Martini with Absolut Mandrin, pomegranate juice, a splash of orange juice, and a squeeze of lemons. This martini is the color of a blood orange, but a bit cloudy. Town's Manager Jennifer Gephart noted, "Certain crowds like the visual turn on of a drink."

Town, 710 W. Trade St., 704-379-7555.

One of the current favorites at Fox and Hound is Orange Crush: Triple Sec, Absolut Mandrin and orange juice in a sugar-rimmed martini glass, with a twist of orange. Manager Donna Fennell noted another popular drink is the Blue Diamond Martini with Skyy citrus vodka, Alizé bleu, blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, sour mix and a twist of lemons. For those who like a less sugary drink, Fennell recommends the Luxury Sour Apple, a green martini with Absolut vodka, Sour Apple Pucker schnapps ("tastes like a Granny Smith") and sour mix.

Fox and Hound, 330 N. Tryon St., 704-333-4113.

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