What’s better than a delicious cocktail?
A delicious cocktail at a spectacularly beautiful wedding, of course!
Whether it’s sweet or sour, fizzy or still, shaken or stirred, with or without alcohol – everyone can agree that life tastes a lot better when you’ve got a cocktail in your hand. And a signature wedding cocktail isn’t just an extraordinarily refreshing blend of complementary flavors that have joined forces to titillate your tongue. No, they actually have a very important role to play at weddings…
The job of a wedding cocktail is to signal a scene change: to let the guests know that the formal ceremony is over and the merry-making has begun!
The guests – having just passively witnessed the swapping of rings and delightful first kiss – are now active participants in the wedding. With a glass of something scrummy in their hand, they begin to circulate and mingle. Friends of the groom meet family-members of the bride. And vice versa. Old buddies catch up. Siblings, cousins and grandparents celebrate this rare opportunity to get together. It’s a beautiful moment of relaxed happiness where guests ask each other how they know the bride or groom, whether they live locally or are out-of-towners, and if they’ve ever been to this gorgeous venue before.
The cocktail is the catalyst to all this joy and exuberance.
So what cocktails are best for a wedding?
This is of course an entirely subjective decision. It isn’t just reliant on the tastes of the bride and groom, but also what works thematically with the rest of the wedding. If you’re having a southern themed wedding then perhaps a Mint Julep would make sense; or, if you’re leaning into some Italian lineage then an Aperol Spritz could be more appropriate, particularly if it’s a summer wedding.
As Max Janoff, Head of Sales at The Crystal Plaza, explains “When considering your wedding cocktail, be sure to really think through the theme of your wedding. If it’s a winter wedding, perhaps your guests would appreciate a warmed spice wine? Or if you’re getting married in the summer and your cocktail hour is being held outside in the gardens, then choose something natural, light and refreshing as befits the setting,”
With this said, here are a few of our favorite alcoholic and nonalcoholic wedding day cocktails.
Tried and true, this drink is traditionally made using a good bourbon. You want something smooth and rich, ideally with notes of vanilla and oak to balance the tart lemon and sugar. It is your choice if you decide to include the dash of egg whites, or not.
Another citrusy number, the Gimlet is a delicious summer alternative to the classic martini. This gin-based drink is incredibly refreshing, particularly if the lime is freshly squeezed.
There is a reason that margaritas are such a popular choice, and not just at weddings! The great thing with margaritas is that you can customize them: whether you’re adding a little jalepeño or choosing to have them slushy instead of over ice. We’ve also seen clients use the more earthy-tasting mezcal instead of tequila, or even adding fresh strawberries or cool mint to the mix. Let your imagination run wild!
Best served in a chilled copper mug, the vodka in the Moscow Mule works delightfully alongside some spicy ginger beer and lime juice. You have to be careful with these, because they can sneak up on you!
With roots in pre-prohibition Cuba, the traditional Mojito is made from rum, together with lime juice, mint and sugar. The key to its success is in the muddling, because the flavors have to blend; but nobody wants to drink a pulp, so be careful here. And, similar to the Margarita, Moitos are a wonderfully versatile cocktail – you can make them with pineapple, blueberry or even coconut! Double bonus: these cocktails (again like Margaritas) can be made in advance in bigger quantities (and kept in a jug!), meaning they don’t need to be made one at a time, which is significantly less labor-intensive for your bar team…
Berry infused champagne
Simple and incredibly refined, throwing a couple of summer berries into a glass of good champagne is a wonderful way to ritz up your cocktail hour. You can also add a splash of elderflower liqueur, if you’re really feeling adventurous!
Lavender Lemonade (No Alcohol)
This mocktail is significantly more involved than just adding a couple of sprigs of lavender into your jug of iced lemonade. With honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice and dried lavender, this delicious beverage is like drinking pure summer. You can also add some fresh strawberries or mint, if you’d like to take it to the next level.
Pink Bubbles (No Alcohol)
Just because you’re not drinking champagne, it doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the effervescence! Soda water, ginger ale, a splash of white grape juice and a dash or two of grenadine makes this wonderfully pretty and equally delicious drink.
So which to choose, which to choose?
Well, the good news is that you don’t need to decide to have just one wedding cocktail option! However, we do recommend that you make sure those that aren’t drinking alcohol have something special too. And, it goes without saying, it is critical that your bar team knows exactly how to make your wedding cocktail of choice… Good cocktails are good, amazing cocktails take your breath away!
Finally, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with the cocktails. Come up with an entirely new drink! And / or give your wedding cocktail a fun name? How about Sally and Paul’s Devotion Potion?!
Have fun, and cheers!
About The Crystal Plaza
The Crystal Plaza is widely regarded as one of the finest wedding and event venues in the US. Based in Livingston, NJ we offer impeccable white-glove service to meet the exacting needs of our guests. Our newly renovated mansion can be rented for any function that you wish to host, while abiding to all proper social distancing protocols and procedures – including weddings, birthdays, graduation parties, photo shoots, corporate gatherings, reunions and family gatherings.
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.