It has become more and more common for brides and grooms to serve signature cocktails during a cocktail hour after their wedding ceremony. A cocktail hour can be a great way to keep guests occupied and socializing as you transition from ceremony to dinner and dancing, and is a nice time to introduce delicious flavors to the palate before dinner. But why not let the drinks be a testament to each other, a way to reflect the delight of your pairing with surprising flavors that show off a bit of you and your sweetie?
Why Make Your Own?
Traditional cocktails — the gin and tonic, summer shandy, cosmopolitan, even a less-common sazerac or sidecar — have their place, but on your wedding day, showcasing your creativity and individuality helps your guests experience you and lets them participate more fully in your special day.
Here, we’re presenting some unconventional cocktails for you to consider as you think about your big day. Think about who your guests will be for your event — you may want to swap some spirits and blend for versatility. We want to give you some creative ideas to get you thinking and tasting as you begin to develop your own signature cocktail. These recipes can always be tweaked, or adapted. Find the one that best suits you!
Your guests will cherish the memory of your nuptials, but not as much as you will: most importantly, your drinks are about you: let the flavors complement your personalities, as you complement each other. If you’re country and your sweetie’s rock and roll, try a variation of the Wedded Bliss. Maybe she’s got a tart wit, and you’re mellower — The Lemon Orchard could be a way to capture your love.
When you’re developing your signature cocktails, you may want to further personalize your liquors by prepping your bar with homemade liquor infusions: strawberries infuse tequila beautifully, and whiskey is even better than usual when it’s been flavored with fresh cherries. The contrast and complement of the flavors in these cocktails embrace the differences of their ingredients — not a shabby metaphor for a well-matched couple. In addition to your personalities, consider your event venue and the season to select flavors that will be most appropriate for you. Some, like the Amor y Fuego, take a spicy turn (which is perfect for summer), while others — like the Sweethearts Cocktail — play off of warm and woody undertones (good for autumn).
The Toast of Honor
We love how the almond liqueur gives a full, baked flavor to this drink, and think St. Germain impressively combines sweet and sophisticated: another great pairing, just like you and your sweetheart.
Looking for a great take on a classic whiskey drink? Scotch is certainly an acquired taste, but the bold flavors of cherry and black pepper make for a great sipping cocktail. This one is ideal for cooler months, when the heat of the Scotch is front and center.
Avni Vyas lives and teaches in Tallahassee, FL where she is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University. She is the co-author of Candy In Our Brains, published by CutBank. Follow her adventures on Belles Lettres and Bourbon.