5 Things Your Bartender Wants You To Know About Signature Cocktails at Your Wedding
Cheers! This coming year is shaping up to be full of creativity, especially for signature cocktail options for your wedding day. The signature cocktail trend has been all the rage in recent years, and the popularity has no end. These personalized drinks are perfect for any wedding, no matter the season. Think about an alfresco cocktail hour in the summer or a creme cocktail bar for a moody winter wedding. These drinks provide a unique treat for guests that will have them chatting about your wedding for years to come.
But, the question is: is having signature cocktails right for your wedding? We talked with professional bartenders Jordan from Single Barrel Events and Nick at Vital Event Services to get “in the know” about signature cocktails for your wedding. We got all the tips below!
1. Do It
If you are on the fence between having signature cocktails or not at your wedding, take it from Jordan and “just do it.” Signature wedding cocktails are a great addition to your wedding. Whatever you decide to do, the benefits of having a signature cocktail are too good to pass up and will make the day extra special for you and your guests.
Just For Cocktail Hour?
“This year, we are seeing a blend of signature cocktails at cocktail hour and a full-bar option at the reception,” says Jordan. Signature cocktails are great at the cocktail hour when everyone is still on the adrenaline high from the nuptials. Further, sharing a custom cocktail is an excellent way to keep the camaraderie well past the wedding ceremony!
Why just cocktail hour? “Guests always revert back to their ‘usual,’ and generally order what they know and love by the end of the reception,” he says. Having signature cocktails only during cocktail hour will ensure you are not wasting your money on drinks that will go to waste by the end of the evening. Having a full bar option at the reception means your guests won’t be without their favorite beverage. Therefore, your wallet, and your guests, will be happy.
A Touch of Personalization
Signature wedding cocktails can be a great way to inject your personality into the wedding. Are you a fun and quirky couple? How about sweet and bubbly? More and more couples are looking for ways to incorporate bits and pieces of their personality.
Try It Out First
Did someone say date night? Why not make a night of pre-wedding fun? “Try making some drinks at home with your favorite alcohol first,” suggests Nick. Maybe even invite your wedding party over for the festivities. Try it at home so you know what it will look or taste like on a wedding day. tap in your bartender to tell them about your new favorite drink and how to make it best on your wedding day!
Naming Signature Cocktails
Personalization can be added by naming signature cocktails for each newlywed or one cocktail as a couple! Fun names are a great way to add a personal touch. How about calling a signature drink after your dog or where you met? You can incorporate words associated with your favorite hobbies and sports, your wedding theme, or something completely punny! No matter what you decide, a signature cocktail is an excellent way to tell your story more clearly, whatever your personality.
If you plan on having a bar, why not add some personality to the signage? Point guests to the bar with a custom sign that complements your wedding theme or personality! Your signature cocktail names need a platform, right?! Your bar signage can be as simple as a small framed “bar” sign with a few added decorative elements. It can also be tailor-made for your signature cocktail drink menu.
Add A Twist or Twig!
Who said lemon and lime were the only garnish options for your big day? Think outside the box and get creative and fun with what you can offer your guests. “Gone are the days of just the olive,” says Jordan with Single Barrel. “Unique garnishes are popular and add a personalization pop to any drink.” However, he says to be careful with what tack on to those cocktails. “Garnishes go a long way in the taste of a drink. Cinnamon sticks are cute and fun but can alter the taste of a drink!”
2. Consult Your Wedding Bartender
Planning the perfect bar menu can be overwhelming. Before creating the signature drink, make sure to chat with your bartender! They will want to get to know you to create a signature cocktail made for you and provide options based on your desires. The details gathered from your meeting will be the foundation of what will be the drink or drinks of the day.
Once your bartender hears about your wedding, such as the theme and decorations, and your personal preferences, they can provide signature wedding cocktail ideas for you to consider. As a professional “mixologist,” your bartender knows the significance behind each ingredient in a drink and understands how each component impacts the drink’s taste. Their knowledge of ingredients, flavors, preferences, and execution is invaluable. They can tell you what does and doesn’t work!
Let’s also talk about one thing that consulting with your bartender will do – save you money. Bartenders can create a catered list of your tastes while also providing recommendations for various drink options to make you and your guests happy. That way, you are not buying endless bottles of alcohol that will eventually go to waste. More bottles of alcohol don’t always mean a higher-quality bar! “The more variety you offer the more expensive that it is going to get for you,” says Nick.
3. Keep Cocktails Simple
There are several reasons why keeping signature cocktails simple will be a hit at your wedding. Sure, some of us like to have a complex drink occasionally, but possibly making hundreds of complex beverages in a single night can be problematic. Take it from Jordan, “simplicity can go a long way in keeping the alcohol flowing.”
“Keeping a bar moving on a wedding day is a must,” states Jordan. No guest wants to spend your entire cocktail hour or wedding reception waiting in line for a drink. No! They want to mingle and boogie the night away on the dance floor. Consider tasty signature cocktails that are quick to make and serve to your guests.
Further, your bartenders don’t enjoy juicing lemons and limes all night long instead of catering to your guests. One of the best things about having a professional bartender at your wedding is their service! Bartenders provide a personal touch to a wedding bar that makes your guests feel special. Having casual conversations with your guests is unique, but it also does one other thing for bartenders – it helps them gauge your crowd. “Overserving on a wedding day is never good,” states Jordan. “Safety and security on your wedding day should be the utmost concern, and our bartenders want to ensure that you and your guests are well cared for.”
4. Keep Your Guests in Mind
Of course, you want your cocktail to be exciting and unique, but remember that your guests may have different tastes. You know your guests best! “Take the time to go through your guest list and you will learn a lot about your guests,” says Nick.
In regards to alcohol, aim for something universally appealing and spirits like rum and vodka versus more intensely flavored alcohol like gin and whiskey. Just remember that not everyone will opt for your signature cocktail. In that case, provide other alternatives to them, such as a full bar option or some beer and wine options. Choices should keep your guests happy and not waste your money on leftover drinks. “In fact, some guests are happy that there is a choice at all!” exclaims Nick.
Also, consider that some of your guests may not want to drink alcohol. Mocktail offerings at weddings are nothing new and can be a nice gesture to accommodate guests who wish to remain sober. “Having a DIY Cocktail Bar is a great way to cater to all of your guests,” says Jordan. What is a DIY Bar? It allows your guests to play bartender! Guests can make their own alcoholic or non-alcoholic after their own desires! Even the kiddos can make fancy mocktails with sprite and cherries to feel a little fancy.
Let’s go a step further. Independent beverage stations may not be part of “the bar,” but they are a great option for guests. Guests that want something refreshing (water, tea, or lemonade, for example) don’t need to wait in line with the people who want alcohol. “Plan an independent beverage station with your wedding planner, catering company, and bartenders,” says Nick. “This area is purely for quick refreshments. This will keep guests hydrated and comfortable even when the bar isn’t in use.” The last thing you want at your wedding is thirsty (and unhappy) guests!
5. Consider Your Wedding Day Venue and Season
You have put a lot of time and effort into designing a magical wedding day. Your signature cocktail options should mimic your color palette, wedding venue, and the season.
Your Wedding Venue
You chose your wedding venue for a particular reason, and your signature wedding cocktail should imitate that feel. Are you hosting an exclusive affair in a downtown area? A flute of champagne paired with a splash of blackberry syrup and a blackberry garnish will perfectly match the setting. Are you feeling like the belle of the ball at a southern estate? Serve cool-to-the-taste mint juleps to match your southern backdrop. If snow and twinkle lights appear on your big day, consider serving a delicious spiked hot cocoa topped with homemade marshmallows to channel that sense of winter nostalgia.
The season of your wedding is also essential. “Many people enjoy a Mojito in the summer, but that drink option might fall flat on a cloudy winter wedding day,” states Jordan. Focus on lighter beverages for summer weddings. Alternatively, there’s nothing better than a festive drink mixed with the season in mind when the weather gets colder. Here are some alternatives below that will work well for any season!
Raise a glass to warmer weather and longer sunny days! Many cocktail recipes would be perfect for a spring wedding reception! Spring cocktails are about bright flavors, refreshing finishes, and beautiful presentations. Think about cocktails with citrus and berries.
There is nothing better than a fun and flirty sangria for a summer wedding. Another summery drink like strawberry rosé punch is super simple and affordable. Four ingredients (frozen strawberries, pink Moscato champagne, lemon-lime soda, and simple syrup) are all that it takes to make this cocktail. Further, any floral-inspired cocktail will work! Top them off with lavender, cucumber, and mint for taste and garnish.
There are so many unique advantages to having a Fall wedding. There are so many pretty color palettes and elements for this season, and paying homage to this season should transition to the bar! Whether you serve up a spiked hot beverage that keeps out the chill, or a cold drink rich in color, many fall-inspired sips will surely impress your guests. Look to your coziest memories of bonfires and cool nights to conjure up ideas.
If you’re getting married in the winter, serve something like a cranberry martini. If you are feeling festive, some hot drinks, like mulled cider or wine, spiked hot chocolate, or boozy eggnog, are fit for warming up chilly guests during cold-weather celebrations.
If you’ve landed on a specific color palette for your wedding, choosing a signature drink that matches is a fun idea. Spring weddings boast light colors such as peach, coral, and sage green. In-kind, a pale green bourbon with peach smash would fit perfectly for your wedding. Fall lends itself to deeper colors that will warm your spirits (pun intended).
Whether you’re looking to embrace signature cocktails or not, many options are available to modern wedding couples today. Consult with your smoky mountain bartenders, and create unique and memorable ways of serving up boozy (and non-boozy) beverages!