Dry Wedding? How can you not even allow a drop of booze to grace the lips of your guests as they profusely sweat their makeup away in a reclaimed barn? But on the other hand, open bars can be expensive, and overindulgent guests can be wild cards. Beer and Wine are always an option, but then how does that match your theme? You’ve spent too damn long developing your color scheme to let a bottle of Stella set the tone.
Luckily, there’s a happy answer to this conundrum. Meet the wedding cocktail! The wedding cocktail.......or cocktails, as is the case when you go full on “his and hers” — is a drink that liquefies the personalities of the betrothed. And it’s the cherry on the ice cream, the pièce de résistance, the crowning glory of your wedding extravaganza. Below is everything you’ll ever need to know to choose your signature cocktail.
Why Even Bother?
You might be asking yourself, between the flowers, cake, table runners, centerpieces, entertainment, catering, dresses and suits, who the hell has the time to come up with a signature drink? But just as a gown can be the cornerstone of the event, a cocktail can really be the cherry on top of the metaphorical wedding sundae. A cocktail can be a centerpiece to a wedding as much as a cake. “It brings together all the parts of the wedding — the cake, the presents, the theme, the aesthetic, the feel.”
“Beer and wine can be all you have, but it will also say ‘boring’ to your guests,” To amp it up a bit, you can provide a his or her cocktail, which adds a bit of variety.
Imagining The Perfect Libation
So you want to make a badass wedding cocktail, but where do you even start? Do you pick a drink that you both had on your first date? Or maybe you go seasonal and whip up a concoction that uses ingredients that speak to the weather of your ceremony? These questions can be a good launching pad but can also be extremely intimidating.To limit stress, it’s best to design your drink just like you would select your wedding attire. I recommend that brides begin shopping for their dresses nine months prior to the wedding date, and we think that works for your signature cocktail, too. The research component is important, so warm up those Pinterest fingers and start exploring different cocktail combinations that might be a fit for you. Don’t let those super-cute blogs and spritzers keep you in a box, though; the drink in the grand scheme is designed to reflect you.
“Think about the flavors of your life, Not necessarily liquor flavors, but your favorite foods, your heritage, smells that make you smile, colors that represent the union — all of these items usually end up being the colors of your wedding. Take the time to mind-map the different flavors of your relationship. Those standout flavors and adjectives are going to be the key components in your couple cocktails.
The Balance Between Classic and Trendy
If you’re still struggling with whipping up the most original, beautiful, sexy cocktail, a good place to start is to embrace the bubbly; in other words, Champagne. “Any celebration calls for it, and there are so many cocktails you can make with Champagne,” From there, different infusions and add-ins come into play. It’s common to see flavors such as rosemary and lavender among classic cocktails. These flavors provide a lighter, elegant twist without a ton of effort. But while the classics are good, it’s important to also consider the libation trends of today. Naples says that we’re currently undergoing a revival of ’40s cocktails, and classic punch recipes are making a big comeback. Many theme trends are embracing more rustic, classic motifs; there’s no better time to go all in and sip vintage. But don’t choose something just because it’s cool or trendy. “This is your special day — let the cocktails and drinks represent you and your story.
Design + Dress + Drinks = Wedding Harmony
Any good event is centered around understanding the theme and how all the elements tie in together. When pairing your gown with a cocktail, lighter fabrics will definitely benefit from lighter drinks utilizing ingredients such as Champagne, flowers, and less-boozy spirits. If you’re going to rock a colored wedding dress or if you’re simply just looking for another way to tie the color scheme together, it’s important to think about your signature drink. The best part is, making a colored drink doesn’t have to involve ~gross~ food dye or mixers from your early 20s. To keep your hued drinks classy and consistent with the theme, reach for fruits and natural, seasonal bounty. “It’s easy to build beautiful color palettes using wine and fruits,” it’s key to focusing your energy (how many more espresso shots can we honestly handle??) on what’s important. “Rather than worrying about the color of the liquors, spend time and energy choosing flower garnishes that naturally complement the wedding colors and aesthetic.” Fruits, herbs, and flowers are the way to go. But juices are not to be overlooked. “If you want your Champagne to be ‘blushing’ like the bride, add a tiny splash of cranberry juice to give it a ‘pink’ hue.”
How To Avoid Mixing Mistakes
In wedding planning, pitfalls are bound to happen. Flowers get mixed up, catering falls through, and sudden rain forecasts can be abundant throughout the process; however, there are some easy ways to avoid them in choosing the perfect dress and a flawless cocktail. The worst thing a bride can do is bring too many people into the room at a bridal appointment. Having too many people involved in the process can cause a lot of conflicting personalities to arise. “Make sure you bring people you can trust and that you select a dress that works for you – not for them.
Cocktail mixology is the same. Having too many voices or stimuli in the planning process can take away from what a signature cocktail is all about – the personalities of the happy couple. Still, if you’re not going to have a huge variety of drinks at the bar, try to create a drink that will be more of a crowd pleaser. That doesn’t mean throwing your personality out the window, but choosing a drink that isn’t too sweet or too sour. Also, consider avoiding a cocktail that is heavy on the alcohol. The more steps you take to avoid any rogue bridesmaids or groomsmen, the better.
The Final Swig
Above all, it’s important to remember that signature drinks should revolve around one thing – the union being celebrated. When guests pick up your cocktail, they should feel something. They should be taken on a journey of how your relationship started, the ups and downs you’ve experienced, and the passion that has brought you to this one special day tied together with the words “I do.”
So here are a few recipes that will surely please your wedding guest this summer!
Peach Nectar Ginger Beer Peaches are in their peak during the summer, so capitalize on the sweetness of the fruit then temper it with the craft ginger beer for a refreshing treat. l
1.5 oz. Handcrafted Peach Vodka
3.5 oz. Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Mini in Mango
Sliced fresh peaches
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a glass filled with ice and sliced peaches and stir.
Makin Love at Midnight
Okay, we know a Piña Colada is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a signature cocktail, but this one makes strides to cut sweetness and heighten flavor. Most importantly, it swaps out rum in favor of "dryer, greener" cachaca.
¾ oz. lime juice
1 oz. pineapple
1 oz. caramelized Coco Lopez
1 ½ oz. Cachaca
Add ingredients to tin. Shake and strain into a coconut glass over crushed ice. Garnish with two pineapple fronds, orange wheel/cherry flag.
Whatever you think a negroni should taste like, forget it for a second and check out this drink. It's got the vermouth and Campari, but swaps in rum (or tequila) where the gin would usually be. Then it balances this boozy beverage with strawberry simple syrup and pineapple juice. The pineapple "glass" is a nice touch but not necessary—especially considering your guests will likely go back for seconds and thirds.
1 oz. white vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. strawberry simple syrup
Core out a pineapple and crush ice ahead of time. Combine vermouth, rum, pineapple juice, and strawberry simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to chill and combine ingredients, then pour contents into the cocktail vessel. Top with crushed ice and Campari, add a straw, and enjoy!
We’ll happily drink to that.
Best Man's Julep
Let's be clear: this is not your average mint julep. The bourbon is there, but the mint comes in the form of a chocolate candy, and the pinkish color comes from a mixed berry reduction. If a classic julep weren't already the cool, calm, collected drink of the summer, this twist certainly is.
2 oz. bourbon
0.5 oz. mixed-berry reduction (blackberry, strawberry)
Pinch of chocolate mint (crushed Andes Mints, etc.
Place all ingredients into a julep glass, add crushed ice, and swizzle. Top with more crushed ice, and garnish with chocolate mint, blackberry, and strawberry slice.