I’m getting sloshed on New Year’s Eve. It’s the only way to end the terrible, horrible, no good, really bad 2020. I’m loading up on cocktails. But not just any cocktail. My cocktails must be spunky enough to chase away doom and gloom and usher in the light and bright. 

I’ve come up with three candidates—favorites from past trips.  Will share recipes with you. Rum, gin, tequila—take your pick. I might go for a trifecta myself. 

So in the spirit of spirits, I’m wishing you a beautiful boozy HAPPY NEW YEAR and light, bright, luscious 2021.

The LUCILLE cocktail from B. B. King’s Blues Club on the Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship 

The Nieuw-Amsterdam cruise ship docked at it's private island Half Moon Cay

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise ship docked at Half Moon Cay

Eight Holland American Line cruise ships sport B. B. King’s Blues Clubs, bringing not only soulful music to cruisers, but also soulful speciality cocktails. As the club’s namesake, legendary blues singer B.B. King, named all of his guitars Lucille, it’s only fitting that the club’s signature drink be a Lucille.

Here’s what B.B. King sings about Lucille, 

I don’t think I can just talk enough about Lucille. Sometimes when I’m blue seems like Lucille try to help me call my name.

Well the ships’ Lucille called my name (over and over again)—just like it did for B. B.

Again quoting “My Lucille” lyrics:  One more now, Lucille. Sounds pretty good to me. Can I do one more? Look out, Lucille. Sounds really good, I think I’ll try one more. Allright.


LUCILLEThe Lucille cocktail in the B.B.King Club on the Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship

Yield: 1 serving.

2 ounces coconut rum

1-1/2 ounces orange juice

1-1/2 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 ounce Blue Curacao

Pineapple wedge for garnish

Partially fill a 16-ounce glass with crushed ice. Put rum, juices and Curacao in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour over ice in glass. Add a straw and garnish with the pineapple wedge.




The BELLISIMA cocktail from Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Back view of the flower-filled Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

There is nothing like getting away from it all at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Set on a glorious white-sand,1,000 foot-long beach where I would like to be at this very moment, the luxury resort offers a range of stunning suite accommodations, eight great restaurants and six super cool, stylish bars. My favorite bar is the Koi and my favorite cocktail aptly named the Bellisima. 

Soft lights fill the romantic Kio Bar located in the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Koi Bar

Two of the Koi bar’s best fringe benefits is that one can enjoy as many Bellisimas as desired and not have to drive home. And the resort embodies a prize-winning spa to help restore the morning after.


Yield: 1 serving.

Garnish with orange wedge, lime peel and a grape.

A collage of four Bellisimas and the recipe written on a coaster.


The ROSE OF SHARON cocktail from Commonwealth Bistro in Covington, KY 

Main Street in Covington with entrance to Commonwealth Bistro

Located on Main Street in Covington, KY. the Commonwealth Bistro is uncommonly good. Love the menu which showcases some Southern accented specialities tinged with a whole lot of international sophistication. And love their core values especially the  “Perseverance of Purpose”  which seem particularly fitting to 2020 and hopeful for 2021.

Statement of Commonwealth Bistro Perseverance of Purpose value.

The restaurant focuses on giving hyper-local ingredients uncommonly worldly interpretations and the bar is no exception. I ordered the Rose of Sharon—wanting gin instead of bourbon as I had been tasting bourbon all day on a Kentucky  B-Line  Bourbon Trail tour (highly recommend it) and was ready for a change.


Cocktail the Rose of Sharon Cocktail garnished with orange wedge, rosemary sprig and pink pepper corns plus fruit peels.Yield: 1 serving


Put 1 ounce Kentucky Wild Gin and 1 ounce white port in a wine glass. Add ice cubes. Pour in Fever Free Tonic water until the glass is half full. Stir lightly. Garnish with a strip of grapefruit peel, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a few pink peppercorns.










HERE for Holland American Line cruise line

The powerful Nieuw Amsterdam ship.

and HERE for Grand Velas Riviera Maya Front sinage of Grand Velas Riviera Maya

and HERE for the Commonwealth Bistro  The Commonwealth Bistro Sign

and HERE for the The B Line tourBarrel painted with B-Line Logo



HERE for a Two Bunch Colada recipeCocktail: The Two Bunch Colada

 and HERE  for a Grand Residences Habanero Margarita recipeClose up of the Grand Residences Habanero Cocktail

and HERE for Anse Chastanet’s The Bentley recipe The bright red Bentley cocktail served at Anse Chastanet Resort

and HERE for more and more and more and more luscious cocktail recipes…