Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Selecting a Summer Wedding Signature Cocktail

This past weekend I met with one of my June brides to put the final touches on her decor and talk logistics during our one-month-out planning review. I just have to say first off that I absolutely adore this bride - she's a total stunner with a fabulous style and is as sweet as sugar - you know, a prototypical wedding planner's dream. As a fashion stylist in Los Angeles, her vision and sense of color are fantastic and my team is super excited to pull it all together for her big day.

One of the final touches that we discussed was what to design for her Signature Cocktail. Since she loves the feeling of Hollywood glamor but her personality is bubbly and down-to-earth, it only fits that we would create one using champagne. Since her wedding is at the beginning of summer where the weather will be warm, we wanted to create something refreshing yet seasonal for her guests to enjoy. We decided to create a delicious sparkling cocktail using Blood Orange juice, sparkling wine and Mint. It's got glamorous effervescence from the bubbles, it boasts a gorgeous red edge from the Blood Orange juice and the essence of refreshing Mint. It's beautiful to look at, tastes delicious, feels glamorous and smells amazing - all bases covered. Check!

Signature Cocktails Are Important to Your Theme & Wedding Style
Though it doesn't seem like a big deal, it definitely is. A Signature Cocktail is an important component to your event theme because it's always a topic of conversation during the cocktail hour. It's about presentation, personal style and aesthetic - how can it not be important?

Signature Cocktail Misconceptions 
For some reason there is a misconception that if you aren't hosting a full-bar, you can't have a Signature Cocktail. So not the case! I always advise my couples who aren't hosting a full-service bar to create a Signature Cocktail using Champagne or wine as the base. That way if the cocktail does require a flavored liquor, it's not much more than 1/2 an ounce (splash) per serving so the small splurge won't break the bank.

If you are getting married in the summer months at an outdoor venue, more than likely your guests would prefer to drink something refreshing over something potent and strong. Try incorporating fruit from local farmers from the area to keep it delicious and seasonal.

Remember, Signature Cocktails are all about presentation so don't forget about adding great details such as custom stirrers, edible flowers and delicious garnishes.

Check out some of these great custom drink accessories on

Things to Think About When Designing Your Signature Cocktail
  • Color
  • Taste
  • Scent
  • Presentation
  • Name

Earlier this week I asked Martha Stewart Weddings via Twitter what this summer's hottest summer time cocktails were. Here are what they are loving this summer:

Blackberry Gin Fiz
With a burst of bright berry puree and just a tickle of effervescence, this warm-weather quencher -- a bold update on the old-fashioned gin fizz -- lets guests drink in the essence of summer.

12 ounces blackberries, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 ounces gin
15 mint leaves, torn, plus sprigs for garnish
1 1/2 cups seltzer
(Serves 6)

Put 1/3 cup puree, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 ounces gin, and 1/3 of the torn mint leaves into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake until cold. Pour into two 8-ounce glasses, and add 1/4 cup seltzer to each. Repeat twice. Garnish with berries and mint sprigs.

Electric Watermelon Lemonade 
A refreshing and cooling twist on lemonade. This recipe for watermelon lemonade is sure to be a crowd pleaser and is perfect to serve at a wedding during the summer months.

2 lemons, quartered
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 medium seedless watermelon (about 9 pounds), rind removed, flesh cut into chunks
1 cup vodka 
(Serves 6)

Squeeze lemons into a large pitcher; add squeezed lemon quarters. Add mint and sugar; mash with a wooden spoon until mint is bruised and sugar is dissolved. In a blender, puree watermelon in batches until smooth; pour through a fine-mesh sieve into pitcher (you should have about 8 cups of juice). Stir to combine. (Refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days.) Add vodka, serve over ice

Cucumber-Mint Gimlet
Serve the ultimate country-club libation: gimlets. Swap out vodka and Rose's lime juice for cucumber gin, fresh lime, and simple syrup tinged with mint.

4 1/2 cups Cucumber Gin (or 2 oz.), how-to follows
2 1/4 cups fresh lime juice (or 1 oz.)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Mint Simple Syrup (or 1/2 oz.), how-to follows
Cucumber peels, for garnish
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
(serves 6)

In a 2-quart pitcher, stir gin, lime juice, and syrup. Refrigerate. To serve, pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, and divide among ice-filled 10-ounce glasses. (For a single drink, mix in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake.) Garnish each with cucumber peel and mint.

Lavender Champagne
I adore this simple, yet beautiful cocktail using a sprig of fresh lavender as a garnish. Remember, use organic fresh sprigs for this drink.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender
4 bottles (750 mL) dry Champagne or sparkling wine chilled
Fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish
(Serves 16)

Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in dried lavender. Remove from heat. Let cool completely. Strain out lavender. Refrigerate syrup until ready to serve (up to 1 month).

Pour about 6 ounces Champagne and 1 1/2 teaspoons syrup into each flute. Garnish each with a lavender sprig

It's all about the small and beautiful details, don't forget to create something that reflects your style, taste and venue.

Enjoy and happy planning!

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