Note: This is a sponsored post thanks to our friends at Total Wine.
Most wedding guests appreciate a bar serving spirits at a reception. While we all love a great bottle of wine or a local brew on tap, there’s just something special about a cocktail! However, wedding guests usually aren’t too excited about the long lines when waiting to order. And, extra costs can be nerve-wracking for the bride and groom. Skip the wait and the worry by offering a selection of signature drinks!
Signature cocktails effortlessly pair with every kind of wedding. They’re also easy enough to prepare and mix up in big batches or can be prepared quickly and easily by your catering team. All you need is a few simple spirits and a couple additional ingredients, and you’re ready to wow your guests with a unique cocktail that reflects the happy couple!
About Signature Drinks
You don’t have to serve spirits, or any alcohol for that matter, at your wedding. Beer and wine are excellent and popular offerings. However, you simply can’t beat the fun creativity of a signature drink.
A signature drink is an original beverage created by you to reflect your personality or the event. Usually, they build off a mood, theme, or even a color. You can use ingredients that give a nod to the local flavor or preferences. Or, you can simply choose what’s in season. Signature drinks don’t have to be traditional; feel free to think (or should we say drink) outside the box!
How to Choose Your Signature Drinks
Though signature drinks are loved for their uniqueness, you still need to do your research. We don’t suggest grabbing a few bottles and a handful of ingredients and combining them in a shaker. Usually, building off of a classic is a great way to get started.
Consider choosing the favorite drinks of your wedding party, especially those of the bride and groom. Then, see if you can add a special twist. Fresh, local ingredients that are in season are always a fantastic option.
Or, you can choose to reflect your wedding theme. How about at summery Gin Sling for an art-deco garden wedding? Or perhaps a mulled wine for your winter affair? Of course, we’re huge fans of puns and adore the idea of a Bloody Marry Me for a morning-after brunch. Whatever your theme, color, or mood, there’s a drink recipe out there to match.
Don’t forget to consider the season when choosing your signature drink. We all enjoy a margarita, but they can look a little out of place at a classic winter wedding. Instead, opt for a Cranberry Mule or a mulled punch.
Finally, incorporating fun aspects can be exciting and unique. Such as any drink that reflects your personality, like a whiskey sour, for the knockout bride. Your signature drink can also have an interactive element like a love potion cocktail often made using dry ice that spills over the rim. Tasting tables are fun for guests, too, allowing them to sample different wines or beers.
About Buying Alcohol For Your Own Reception
If you’ve done any amount of wedding planning, you know there are a lot of guidelines and rules, from rental agreements to securing a marriage license. Buying alcohol for your reception isn’t any different. We recommend:
Checking Local Laws and Regulations. The venue you’re hosting at will likely have its own rules. Beyond this, the city and state will often have laws concerning who can sell and serve alcohol. Take time to research and check local regulations, even if you’re hosting in your own backyard.
Stocking Your Bar. Oof. We won’t disillusion you about the cost of alcohol. Make sure to find suppliers that offer a delicious and affordable selection. Next, double-check your budget before you buy. Alternatively, some couples purchase a complete service bar package instead of supplying everything themselves. Either way, consult your budget to decide what you want to save on and what items you want to splurge on.
Working with Total Wine (Suppliers? Not sure how overt this should be). Maybe stocking your own bar is a bit too scary, but you still want to oversee the ingredients of your signature drink. Working with a fantastic company like Total Wine is the ideal happy medium. An expert will recommend selections through a consult and even provide a sampling. They have a vast selection, unbeatable delivery or free pick up, and can work with your budget. It’s the best way for do-it-yourself signature drink creators to get the tools they need for their big day.
Signature Cocktail Ideas
- White Cosmopolitan. Delicate and floral, this drink is a spring must-have! Plus, we love that there’s no risk of staining your dress.
- Ombre Grapefruit Cocktail. Simple and sweet, this cocktail is as appealing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds. As a bonus, it’s effortless to make it a classic cocktail or a mocktail!
- Blood Orange Gin & Tonic. Late spring weddings are often when fresh ingredients are just coming into season, like flavorful blood oranges. This drink truly is the color of love with its rosy hues.
- Aperol Spritz. Summer is the height of the wedding season, and also when your thermometer reaches its uppermost heights. Cool and refreshing, there’s nothing like a spritz!
- Rose Spritzer. A twist on the traditional, this Rose Spritzer uses rosé wine to give it a lovely flavor and hue. As a spritzer, you don’t have to pop an entire bottle of champagne; instead, use bubbly soda water.
- Cadillac Margarita. Margarita’s are synonymous with summer, but we invite you to elevate your sip with this twist on the classic. It uses Grand Marnier and top-shelf tequila for a delicious yet refined cocktail experience.
- Apple Cider Mimosa. A classic fall flavor is beautifully on display in this tantalizing drink. Who knew traditional orange juice could be swapped out for a crisp apple flavor that blends wonderfully with a robust brandy and a bubbly champagne.
- Maple Old Fashioned. For this fall favorite, even guests who typically don’t drink whiskey will be head over heels (hopefully not literally). The classic old fashion is infused with real maple syrup and a twist of citrus.
- Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule. Moscow Mules are always crowd-pleasers. The longtime favorite gets a makeover with cranberry and apple, turning it into a passionate red.
- Candy Cane Cocktail. Winter weddings are often elegant affairs, but that doesn’t mean you can have a fun and festive drink! Take this delightfully pepperminty vanilla cocktail, for example.
- Pomegranate Mimosas. We love so many things about pomegranate, from its romantic color to its zippy flavor, especially when paired with lime juice, tequila, and champagne. Long associated with love, Greeks believed that the first pomegranate was planted by Aphrodite, the love goddess herself.
- Bourbon Cocktail with Honey & Sage. After one sip of this wonderfully warming cocktail, your guests will want to cozy up to their partners. With bold and rich flavors, your guests will be asking for this recipe for years to come.
There really isn’t a perfect answer. If you’re purchasing drinks yourself, know that storing bulk liquor orders can be tricky. Additionally, some beverages, like beer, can’t sit for months. However, you don’t want to delay too long and risk low stock.
The rule of thumb is to plan for each guest to have two drinks in the first hour and one drink every hour after that. Of course, this varies with your guest list, the season, bar costs, beverage types, and the time of day. Most wedding planners find it easier to use charts with guest ratios for each beverage type.
• Beer: .5 per guest
• Wine: 1 bottle per 2 guests
• Champagne: 1 bottle per six guests
• Liquor: 1 bottle per 5 guests
If your supplier offers delivery, it’s generally a good idea to take advantage of it. Picking up and transporting all your beverages can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Not to mention risky! Delivery is one less thing to worry about on your big day.
That’s okay! It definitely happens. Our thought is to always overbuy. The great thing about working with a supplier like Total Wine is that you can return what you don’t drink!
Sip On Something Special!
Don’t leave signature cocktails off your wedding planning to-do list! They’re a fun and exciting way to make your wedding unique. Plus, your guests will enjoy the surprise special selection offered at cocktail hour while you’re taking all those gorgeous wedding photos. A custom twist and a few differentiating details are all that’s required to take your cocktail from traditional to unforgettable!
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Megan’s wedding experience began over a decade ago when planning her dream ceremony. Since then, three kids have been added to the mix. Megan wholeheartedly embraces all things baby, childhood, and family. When she isn’t writing or chasing little ones you can find her running, hiking, or reading.