by Christina Andrews
Cocktail culture is enjoying a renaissance just in time for your Big Day. Not only are mixologists on a creative bender but distilleries, wineries and breweries are as well. Now’s the time for you to have some fun with your planning.
Invite close friends over to sample and review these fantastic concoctions or schedule an evening for just the two of you with candles and carryout. The goal: Figure out what rocks your boat!
Things to consider for your wedding day signature cocktails:
• What’s the vibe for your reception bar?
• Who will partake in these specialty cocktails?
• What is the season and setting?
Signature cocktails are as anticipated on the Big Day as wedding cake and first dances. You’ve gotta get these right! Consider how you want your specialty drinks served, then gather up photos and recipes for the desired cocktails that can be shared with your beverage catering manager.
It’s always good to be open-minded about what ingredients make the drink. Your experienced mixologist has to weigh how quickly the cocktail can be made on the day (you don’t want to keep guests waiting), and they may have some creative twists that will make it an even more intriguing beverage. Anticipate that if you want specialty liquors, it may be on you to purchase those for the bartending service. Have them calculate the quantities needed.
You might also like to rent specialty glassware for these drinks, something distinctly different from standard barware. Also fun is creating a display of the exceptional spirits being used, flanked by mock-ups of each drink. Top-shelf spirits typically come in beautiful vessels, which are works of art in their own right. Use them to decorate your bar (along with the wines, Champagne and beers/ales you are serving).
Many couples also have aesthetically pleasing signs printed and framed. Set these on all sides of the bar so that guests know to order your special drinks. Signs should include the beverage name (use some artistic license when there are special twists to the recipe) and an evocative but short description of the ingredients used in the drink.
Typically, signature cocktails are served during the pre-dinner cocktail hour, but some folks enjoy offering them after dinner, especially if the beverage includes a fine cognac or specialty bourbon. Hey, it’s your wedding. Go rogue.
Here are some delicious his-and-her combos designed to get your imagination in high gear.
FRESH: His-and-Her Sorrel and Passionfruit Mojitos
Colorful mojitos are irresistibly refreshing and beautiful. The Sorrel Mojito features white rum, lime juice, sorrel simple syrup and mint leaves. This beverage is basic, fragrant and crisp, with a deep fuchsia color that softly fades to the top of a tall collins glass. The Passionfruit Mojito is similarly prepared and served. Swap in passionfruit juice for a romantic and gentle sweetness and a warm orange and gold aura. The top-shelf rum that makes this drink extra special is from Ten To One. For those who cannot partake in spirits, Lyre’s White Cane Spirit will do the trick.
COZY: Black Velvet and Buttered Pecan Old-Fashioned
Hard to say which drink is for the groom and which is for the bride. We’ll leave that up to you! These signature drinks are rich and decadent, perfect for a late fall or winter wedding, with a fire blazing at each end of the dining room. The Black Velvet features Lobos 1707 Mezcal, red wine syrup, lemon juice and apricot jam. It’s like velvet going down as it provides a heady rush. The Buttered Pecan Old-Fashioned includes butter pecan simple syrup and aromatic bitters and calls for a fine bourbon, something like you might find at Brough Brothers. For those who cannot imbibe, swap out the Brough Brothers for this exquisitely alcohol-free Spiritless Bourbon. No one will notice the difference.
The Gold Rush
QUINTESSENTIAL: The Gold Rush and Zou Zou Champagne Cocktail
These distinctively male and female concoctions are fantastic for cocktail hour or after dinner. The Gold Rush is created with Saint Liberty’s stick-to-your-ribs whiskey plus simple honey syrup and lemon juice. It’s super easy with a flavor that is direct and satisfying. The shoes will come off after a couple of these! The Zou Zou Champagne Cocktail is pink, girly and sparkly, and will look great with your nails. Served in a champagne flute with a few floating raspberries, this drink is equally simple—a nice dry brut with a shot of Sephina Spirit Drink, a beautiful VSOP cognac blended with Pineau des Charentes wine. No expense spared for the ladies. Heels will come off; you can count on it!
Sephina’s Zou Zou Champagne Cocktail
STRAIGHT UP: Top-Shelf Vodka and Tequila for the Boys and Girls
When the liquor is exquisite, it needs no dressing up. This could be said of many of the finer things in life. Introduce your guests to two intriguing beverages: Sukari Vodka and TCapri Tequila. Both want to be served straight up, the tequila in a white wine glass (yep, you heard that right) at room temperature so that the complex aromas can be fully appreciated. Shot glasses are a no-no. The vodka needs to be thoroughly chilled, as do the glasses (stopkis are the barware for this beverage—basically a shot glass with a stem). Goal: Keep the vodka cold, very cold. Ritual offers a nice nonalcoholic tequila for those wanting to sip something tasty like everyone else.
Salted Caramel Boulevardier
OPULENT: Over-the-Top Cocktails for Gentlemen and Ladies
If any guests complain about these libations, well bless their hearts. It’s not likely to happen. The Salted Caramel Boulevardier and the Vieux Carré will take your guests back to the birthplace of jazz and the world’s swankiest bars: New Orleans. This distinctive Boulevardier is made with the famous Duke and Dame Salted Caramel Whiskey, while the Vieux Carré features NYAC Cognac. For those who must watch their liquor, may they enjoy some Lyre Nonalcoholic Amaretti on the rocks. Yum!
Blackberry Gin Spritzer
INVIGORATING: Let's Get the Party Rolling
You’ll love these fantastic spirits comingling with fresh fruit, mint and cucumber—perfect for a late spring or early summer gathering. The Blackberry Cucumber Gin Spritzer’s intoxicating color will make it a hit with the men, while the Bourbon Mint Juleps will get the ladies reminiscing about romantic escapades of yore. Du Nord’s exceptional gin makes the spritzer sing, along with blackberry simple syrup, lemon and lime juices, and cucumber slices. Uncle Nearest’s Bourbon is the secret ingredient in this traditional julep with mint and simple syrup. It’s lovely served in a copper cup or a rocks glass.
EXOTIC: Romancing the Ladies and Arousing the Gents
This Crema Chai created with LS Cream Liquor will have the ladies swooning. The heady spices of the chai tea combined with the rich, creamy sweetness of the liqueur are irresistible. The Hemingway Daiquiri features HH Bespoke Spirits Rum and a brisk combination of grapefruit and lime juices mixed with Luxardo cherry liqueur. Those abstaining can enjoy the daiquiri with Lyre’s Dark Cane Spirit in lieu of rum.
Cheers to a great wedding!