Food and drink can eat away at your wedding budget. Maximize your money and make a statement with a delicious signature drink.
"Signature cocktails help tie in a theme to a wedding," says Chef Sharone Hakman, a former "MasterChef" contestant who is now featured on Khloe Kardashian's talk show, "Kocktails with Khloe." "Weddings are about making memories. A delicious signature cocktail adds to that experience as well as an element of practicality for the bartenders."
Since they're made in volume, signature drinks are typically cheaper than open bar cocktails. You can serve up a tasty concoction that's budget friendly and personalized.
"Wedding drinks have come a long way since 'beer and wine' was the main focus," says Trisha Antonsen, chief cocktail officer at Drizly's, an alcohol delivery company.
There are many custom cocktail choices to consider, so work with a mixologist to create an unforgettable wedding libation.
"As the craft cocktail movement gained popularity, couples started making requests for custom drinks," says Brian White, sommelier at Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton. "In the past three years, I have created more custom drinks than I can count."
So what's trendy in signature cocktails?
Champagne cocktails. Champagne is a celebratory classic that Antonsen says will "never go out of style for weddings." She suggests a classic Champagne cocktail for a splash of old Hollywood glam or adding pear or ginger for spritzers to mix things up.
Bourbon drinks. Bourbon was big last year and Antonsen thinks it'll stick around this year, too. "Try combining it with Dr. Pepper, lemon juice and cherries for a Cherry Bourbon Smash that will delight your guests." Old-school sodas are a favorite for that vintage-vibe, so check out the recipe below.
Berries and floral liqueurs. "Fresh ingredients continue to be a favorite at weddings," says Antonsen, who recommends mixing those fresh elements with St. Germaine, the elderberry liqueur that "just recently popped up in bars across the country."
Cheers to wedded bliss and these signature drinks!
*HONEY, I'M HOME
Cocktail by: Chef Sharone Hakman.
--1 ounce gin
--1/2 ounce lavender-infused honey syrup (recipe below)
--1/2 ounce lime juice
--Garnish with cucumber and lavender
For lavender honey syrup:
--1 part honey
--1 part water
--2 lavender flowers
Directions: Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil and cool.
For cocktail: In a shaker: Combine gin, lavender honey, lime juice and ice. Shake until cold. Pour in a coupe glass and garnish with lavender and cucumber.
*WHITE PEAR MARTINI
Cocktail by: Brian White, sommelier, Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton.
--11/2 ounces Purkhart Pear Williams eau-de-vie
--3/4 ounce Rothman and Winter Pear Orchard liqueur
--1/4 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
--11/2 ounces pear yuzu shrub (see recipe below)
Directions: Place all ingredients in a Boston Shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with two thin slices of pear.
For pear yuzu shrub:
Peel, core and slice 10 fresh pears. Place in a container and pack with 6 ounces of granulated sugar. Cover and let stand overnight. Strain the syrup off of the pears and add 8 ounces yuzu juice. Let this set for 24 hours before serving. The shrub will be good for up to one month.
*THE BLUSHING BRIDE
Cocktail by: Shawn Shepherd and Vincent Shakir, Palihouse.
--1 ounce Nolet's silver gin
--1/2 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
--1/4 ounce cranberry juice
--1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
--Top with sparkling Rose
Directions: Combine all ingredients except rose in cocktail shaker with ice, shake hard, strain into cocktail coupe and top with sparkling rose. Garnish with rose petal or lemon twist.
*SWEPT AWAY PUNCH
Cocktail by: Mixologist Cassandra Rosen for Soltado.
--8 ounces Soltado Spicy Anejo tequila
--32 ounces pineapple juice, chilled
--4 ounces amaretto
--2 ounces fresh lime juice, chilled
--Garnish: Lime slices, pineapple cubes, berries, mint, edible flowers
Directions: Stir all ingredients together in a punch bowl. Surround with a variety of garnishes for guests to self-serve.
*CHERRY BOURBON SMASH
Cocktail by: Trisha Antonsen, Drizly's chief cocktail officer.
--1.5 ounces bourbon
--1/5 ounce lemon juice
--2 maraschino cherries (muddled)
Directions: In the base of a cocktail shaker, muddle two to three maraschino cherries with lemon juice and bourbon. Add ice and shake until cold. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and top with Dr. Pepper.