Do you have a favorite drink you always make with your partner on Friday nights? Or a cocktail you ordered on your first date? If you’re looking for a fun way to share your personality with your guests that may even save you money, then add “Create a signature cocktail” to your to-do list! When you craft a signature cocktail, you can use your favorite ingredients to share your love story or reinforce your wedding theme. It’s another way for your guests to experience, well, you.
But signature cocktails can also make things easier for you and your guests. For starters, open bars are expensive when you offer every liquor choice. With signature drinks, you’re only offering the few liquors that are in your drinks, and maybe some wines and beers as well. That saves you the money of an open bar. And when you offer select beverages, guests have an easier time choosing what to drink—there’s a list to make it easy.
Of course, before you can offer a signature cocktail, you have to create one! Start by deciding how many you want to create. Will you stick with one? Or maybe two—one for each bride and/or groom? We already mentioned some favorite sips that you can serve. But not every couple has a drink of choice. Instead, it may depend on a lot of factors. Or you may be more of a beer drinker, even though you want to give your guests tasty non-beer options. Whether you have a go-to drink or not, you can still craft the perfect signature cocktail for your wedding.
Start With the Liquor
The foundation to any cocktail is the liquor—and your signature drink is no different. The liquor you choose will determine what ingredients you add in. Yes, you can technically use any ingredients in your drink. It’s your wedding, after all! But we do recommend choosing ingredients that will taste good in your signature cocktail.
If you’re creating two signature cocktails, then you each get to pick a liquor. And they don’t have to be the same, either. Although you don’t want to cater to your guests too much, you will appeal to more people if you have two different liquor-based drinks.
Mix in Something Seasonal
Once you have the main ingredient for your signature cocktail, it’s time to mix it with the season. Not all ingredients taste good in every kind of liquor, and different ingredients are better suited for different seasons. Take whiskey for example. Whiskey may be a year-round drink, but your bitter options aren’t always. Orange bitters are better suited for the summertime, while black walnut bitters sing in the colder months. Of course, your whiskey drink doesn’t have to have bitters in it at all. But try to stick with cozier flavors in the fall and wintertime and more refreshing ones in the spring and summer.
Your ingredients don’t have to be the only seasonal aspect of your drink, though. Fruits and garnishes are another great way to bring the outside weather in. A simple garnish or muddled fruit can change the whole atmosphere of a drink. Luxardo cherries and rosemary are perfect in cooler months, while lemons and watermelon are made for summer. Don’t be afraid to put a seasonal spin on a classic cocktail with fruit or garnish. And when in doubt, go for orange. (Personally, we think orange is a year-round flavor.)
Add a Dash of Personality
Of course, nothing about your wedding is perfect without a touch of your personality. Maybe you do have a favorite brand of your favorite liquor. Or maybe you love extra olives in your martini. Or jalapeños instead! If there’s a way you can customize your drink to your own personal taste, the drink will be extra special.
But those personal touches don’t have to be in the form of ingredients. You can add edible glitter to your signature cocktail, pour the drinks into engraved glasses, or even serve them with custom napkins. Adding your personality is all about making the signature cocktail experience feel unique to your special day, to share a little bit of yourself with your guests.
Serve With Your Event Theme
The cherry on top of your signature cocktail may actually be a cherry! But if cherries aren’t part of your wedding theme, we do recommend adding another detail to the drink. Just like personalization, it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant—unless that’s the theme of your wedding, of course. But something as simple as a garnish or on-theme stirrer can do the trick. Winter wonderland drinks can be served in frosted glasses while drinks at a barn wedding can be poured into mason jars. When your signature cocktail matches your wedding theme, even a little, it gives your guests a little extra wedding magic.
And Then Sip!
This last step is the most important: Always try your signature cocktail first! Because you’re most likely creating the beverage with the bartender ahead of the wedding, you can taste it and make any necessary changes. You certainly don’t want to serve a bad drink to your guests or a drink that you don’t like. So always try the drinks before officially adding them to the wedding.
When in Doubt, Pour a Classic
You can always pour a classic and give it a fun name. See if there’s a drink that sounds like either of your first or last names. Maybe there’s a location in your love story that can inspire a drink. For example, you can serve Manhattans if that’s where you met or fell in love. Then, you can switch out an ingredient or two to make it unique, and rename it. Maybe you switch the sweet red vermouth for sherry and rename it “Alex in Manhatten.” If your name is Alex, that is!
If you’re feeling super bold—or you’re really, really stuck on choosing your signature cocktail—take a mixology class to experiment with different flavors. Find out what you like and what you don’t, and start there. Once you’ve decided on a drink, don’t forget to create matching signage and include any personal details about why the drink is special to you. It is, after all, your wedding day. It’s all personal!
What is your favorite cocktail? Would you serve it at your wedding?