The Officiant says those final words, the magical kiss happens, there’s clapping and overwhelming joy . . . you’re married! The two of you make your way back down the aisle taking your first steps as newlyweds. Now it’s time to start the party. Did someone say cocktail hour?
A wedding cocktail hour is a time when guests can mingle, eat hors d’oeuvres, and sip on a little something-something if you catch our drift. This slice of the day gives you time to take some portraits, while of course joining in on the fun afterwards. This also gives your wedding vendors time to flip the space (if this needs to be done). Cocktail hour is sometimes the first opportunity all your guests have to interact. And most of the time, it’s when food and beverage makes its first appearance. Having a signature cocktail is always a fun addition. Keeping it simple is okay too, but there’s something so hospitable about providing a specialty cocktail for your guests to sip. Plus, you give them a chance to try one of your favorite concoctions!
When crafting your signature cocktail, try and narrow it down to a principle ingredient you both love. Whether this is vodka, gin, rum, or even champagne, make it something that is special to you both. Sometimes this can be tough to agree on. In that case, there can always be two signature cocktails. A ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ scenario adds another layer of creativity and actually gives your guests more options! If you do decide to incorporate two signature cocktails, don’t be afraid to make them totally different in color, taste, and appearance. If your partner loves whiskey but you enjoy a lighter, fruitier taste with a vodka base, it’s okay to have vastly different cocktails. Starting with this step is important and working closely with your caterer and planner from the get-go is not a bad idea since they can help navigate you in the right direction. After deciding on a base for your signature cocktail(s), now you can get creative and add some dimension!
This is where flavoring and coloring come into play, our favorite part! This is the second step in crafting your perfect signature cocktail: choosing a modifying agent. A modifying agent is the ingredient to rule them all, the component that gives the drink its character. Modifying agents are used to establish flavor while also cutting the, what some may consider sharp, taste of the alcohol. Bitters, fruit juice, and spirits are some common modifying agents. Others include sugar, eggs, and cream to give the cocktail a smooth texture. This component of your cocktail may be chosen based on color or flavor, or both! It is completely up to you so have fun with it. If your wedding color palette includes a unique pop of color, gearing your signature cocktail to reflect this is a great idea! The Detailed I Do’s team loves when couples incorporate eye-catching cocktails that get guests excited.
And lastly, to complete your concoction for you wedding cocktail hour, is the finishing touch, a garnish! These pretty little additions will seal the deal on your signature cocktail. A cherry, zest from a citrus fruit, dried flower petals, a sprig of lavender, or mint leaves all serve as perfect garnishes. The flavoring of your cocktail will help determine the garnish. For lighter cocktails that contain a clear liquor base, fruit juices or fruit liquors, flower petals or citrus zest/slices are great options for garnishing. When it comes to whiskey-based drinks, the cherry is a classic garnishing touch. All depending on your style and taste, your cocktail will come alive when a garnish is added. Your caterer/bartender can be a great reference to help you choose these components.
Finally, as you go through this process, keep guests and the caterer/bartender in mind. If you are a cocktail connoisseur, don’t stray too far from the norm. Stay true to your favorite tastes, but try and avoid making your concoction something only a select few will enjoy. You want to appeal to the masses while still having the drink reflect your personality. However, no one knows your guests better than you do, so if you’re sure the crowd will enjoy an obscure cocktail, then go for it! Another thing to keep in mind is the caterer/bartender staff. Be sure to work closely with this vendor during this process to ensure the ingredients you choose are accessible and easy for staff to quickly whip up, as the bar will be booming during cocktail hour!
Some other fun ideas we assist our couples with when it comes to drink service is adding custom signage to point out your personal drinks, thinking about adding pops of color with personalized beverage napkins or providing fun trays or decor for passed options to add to the experience.
That about sums up the cocktail crafting process. This is a personal aspect of cocktail hour that you and your partner can wow guests with, so have fun with it and don’t hesitate to get funky! Cheers and happy mixing!