How to Craft Signature Cocktails for Weddings

Today I’m sharing how I help my friends dream up and craft signature cocktails for weddings, parties and special occasions! A cute cocktail makes any celebration more memorable, and it can be meaningful, too. Read on to learn how I do it!

Today I'm sharing how I help my friends dream up and craft signature cocktails for weddings! A cute cocktail makes your day more memorable, and it can be meaningful, too. Read on to learn how I do it! (via feastandwest.com)

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Wedding season is upon us. Every year, I have at least one friend who asks for my help creating a signature cocktail, either for their wedding or for a bridal shower they’re planning for a friend.

These requests are always super fun for me, as a blogger who writes so much about cocktails. (I even wrote a guide to making delicious drinks at home!)

I know I don’t usually write about weddings here, but I get enough requests that it felt worth writing about.

The reality is that anyone can come up with a signature cocktail for a wedding, and I want to help!

Say cheers to the new year with an Elderflower French 75! It's a floral take on the classic champagne cocktail with lemon, gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. (via feastandwest.com)
Elderflower French 75

If you’re planning a wedding event, I have a few tips for dreaming up the perfect drink, plus how to serve it and make it look beautiful. The goal isn’t to make guests tipsy but to make sure they have a great time.

Plus, it’s generally cheaper than an open bar! (But always price it out first to be sure.)

A drink that suits the bride and groom will always be well received. It’s your day, after all. Let’s start with what you love and the places that inspire your relationship, then we’ll get into the actual making of the drink!

The storied Seelbach Bourbon Champagne Cocktail is a glitzy cocktail worthy of celebration! The marriage of bourbon whiskey, champagne, orange and cocktail bitters is a festive way to toast both the holidays and the new year. Cheers! (via feastandwest.com)
Seelbach Bourbon Champagne Cocktail

1. What do you drink now, as a couple?

A beverage reflective of your interests will help guests get to know you better.

Lovers of whiskey? Utilizing a spirit from a local distillery is another way to show a place your love! Or maybe you’re wine drinkers, so a sangria would go over well.

Craft beer fanatics might not need a signature cocktail at all, but a cute label to go over your favorite brews. (But shandies are always fun!)

I'm sharing how I help my friends dream up and craft signature cocktails for weddings! A cute cocktail makes your day more memorable, and it can be meaningful, too. Read on to learn how I do it! (via feastandwest.com)


2. Where did you meet?

Consider the city, state, country, restaurant, etc. where you first met. What drinks and ingredients are famous in that region? What drinks did you love back then (or even now)?

Was it in college in New Orleans? Maybe a daiquiri would suit. Working abroad in London? Pimm’s Cups. Hail from Florida? Orange juice might have to be a part of it.

Or are you both from North Carolina, like me? Incorporating Cheerwine might be a nice touch. (For this one, you might want to buy a slushie machine!)

Kick off summertime with a batch of cherry red Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies. Make ice cubes from this famous North Carolina soda and blend them with your favorite American whiskey for a true patriotic treat. (via feastandwest.com)
Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies

3. When is the wedding?

Margaritas in January? You do you, but guests might find it odd. Season is definitely important here. Think about whether your guests will be warm or cold.

For example, a spiked hot cocoa bar might be fun for a winter wedding, but makes no sense in June. Likewise, ice cold mint juleps might not be welcome in the colder months.

Also, consider which ingredients are available and when. Watermelon might be hard to come by in February!

The USDA has a great guide to ingredients by season. I also highly recommend The Flavor Bible!

Pick up some pearly kumquats, cut some rosemary and combine for a totally new way to appreciate winter citrus. The Rosemary Kumquat Moscow Mule is a bright and refreshing variation on everyone's favorite drink with vodka and ginger beer. Copper mug optional, but totally encouraged. (via feastandwest.com)
Rosemary Kumquat Moscow Mule

4. What are your wedding colors?

Drinks are a fun way to incorporate your theme colors into your wedding. Your signature cocktail definitely doesn’t have to coordinate, but it’s great if it does!

Here are a few ingredient ideas by color to get you started:

Another way your drinks can coordinate is with garnishes, straws or stir sticks in your theme colors. Even cocktail umbrellas! I love these gold and silver straws for a statement.

You don't have to hunt for the prettiest cocktail for Easter brunch, because I already found it. The Raspberry Mint Kir Royale is a sweet sparkler with all the fresh flavors of warmer weather. Enjoy it all spring and summer! (via feastandwest.com)
Raspberry Mint Kir Royale

5. Who is coming to the wedding?

Try to come up with a signature cocktail that most people would enjoy.

If you have lots of elderly folks at your event, they might be less likely to enjoy your bloody mary bar or craft brew cocktail. But if your guests are mostly your college friends who love to drink together, then more booze might be required!

Similarly, a divisive spirit like gin or tequila might deter folks, even if it’s REALLY GOOD. (And I know it will be.) Some people just don’t know what’s good for them!

Weighing this along with your headcount will help you decide how much to make, too!

Rosé Wine Granita is like a grown-up, alcoholic snow cone or slushy. This version of frosé is super simple and the perfect way to enjoy summer. (via feastandwest.com)
Rosé Wine Granita

6. What booze will you use?

Nuptials are expensive, so it’s important to budget out signature cocktails for weddings.

Top shelf liquor comes at top shelf prices. Can you maybe use a cheaper vodka to stretch your budget? Can you buy your liquor in a nearby state at a cheaper price?

Keep price in mind as you plan your drink. Reposado tequila may be your fave, but it might be too expensive for 150 people!

Check out these guides for popular spirits (including my favorite bottles of each!):

GinTequilaVodkaRum | Whiskey/bourbon | Champagne

 

Sparkling Balsamic Mocktails with Berry Ice Cubes are an easy and fun make-ahead drink for toasting any occasion! These beauties have pink and blue ice cubes made with fresh blueberries and raspberries, which make them the perfect mocktail for a baby shower! (via feastandwest.com)
Sparkling Balsamic Mocktails with Berry Ice Cubes


6. How many cocktails do you need?

Once you have your recipe ready and tested, it’s time to figure out how much you need to make.

Multiply the recipe ingredients by the number of people attending (or how many drinks you expect folks to imbibe) and make your grocery list.

Most cocktail recipes are simple ratios, so they are easily multipliable. Look for simple recipes like this Elderflower French 75 Cocktail, or for ones that already work well in big batches, like this Pineapple Mango Tiki Punch.

Smaller crowds mean smaller demand, so you can get more complicated if your bartender is cool with it.

Most people will enjoy one or two cocktails, and some won’t have any. You know your guest list.

If you have family and friends who are religious, pregnant or just non-drinkers, they’re unlikely to enjoy one of your drinks. Consider offering a mocktail for them! (I have a whole section on mocktails in my home bar guide!

This Kombucha Mojito is a minty and slightly sour version of the classic sipper. Made with all-natural fermented tea, this cocktail packs a real tangy punch. (via feastandwest.com)
Kombucha Mojito

7. What glassware & garnishes do you need?

Paper or plastic or glass? Is it something you can rent, or do you need to buy it? Pitchers or punch bowls? Maybe a drink dispenser?

Consider all of this when you are pricing your drink and making your budget.

And don’t forget the garnishes. Do you need cocktail skewers or sprigs of rosemary? Factor it all in!

I'm sharing how I help my friends dream up and craft signature cocktails for weddings! A cute cocktail makes your day more memorable, and it can be meaningful, too. Read on to learn how I do it! (via feastandwest.com)

8. Who will prepare the drinks?

Check the liquor laws in your state to see if there are any laws around who can serve alcohol. You may need to hire a bartender. Your venue might have rules about this, too.

Make sure the recipe is simple enough for a bartender or your brother’s BFF, whoever is preparing it. You probably don’t want to muddle anything!

If you are preparing a big batch ahead of time, keep open container laws in mind too when you transport the drinks. No jail time for the maid of honor or best man, please!

I'm sharing how I help my friends dream up and craft signature cocktails for weddings! A cute cocktail makes your day more memorable, and it can be meaningful, too. Read on to learn how I do it! (via feastandwest.com)

Now you should be on your way to making fabulous signature cocktails for weddings, parties and other special occasions!

Get my guide to making great cocktails at home!


Get the guide!

Let me know what amazing drinks you come up with in the comments! // susannah

The Golden Ratio Guide:

Mix the perfect cocktail, every time

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