Signature Cocktails: Easy, Creative and Inexpensive Ways to Personalize a Wedding Washington, D.C. — With the summer wedding season rapidly approaching, one of the many challenges facing today’s couples is how to personalize their wedding day. The Distilled Spirits Council offers couples one simple solution. Create one or more signature wedding cocktails — chic, unique concoctions designed just for your guests. Signature cocktails add a special touch to the reception, are easy to organize, and are excellent, cost-effective alternatives to a full bar. “Everyone who has planned a wedding knows how stressful they can be,” said Monica Bell of the Distilled Spirits Council. “Signature cocktails allow the bride and groom to show a little flair and impart some of their personality into the day’s events.” SIGNATURE COCKTAIL TIPS AND HOW TO Personalize the cocktail • Give it a name that reflects the wedding’s theme or the couple’s background, such as their new name or the place where they met. • Use different shades of liquors and/or garnishes to complement your wedding décor. Edible orchids come in a variety of colors and are a beautiful addition to any martini. • Create menus for the bar describing your cocktail(s). • Give the cocktail recipe to guests as a keepsake; add it to the back of their place cards or frame it for each table setting. Choose a cocktail • Try to choose cocktails that are not too difficult to create so as to avoid a service delay at the bar. • Test any cocktails in advance to make sure they are as delicious as they sound. • Also, research food pairings to enhance your chosen cocktails; fresh seafood goes great with vodka; and heartier meats and cheeses complement Scotch and Bourbon well. Preparation • Forward the cocktail name and recipe(s) to the caterers in advance and ask them to do a run through of creating and tasting the drink; also make sure they have, or will obtain, all of the necessary ingredients and bar tools. • Design and frame cocktail menus for the bars, including the name of the cocktail and the recipe and send to the caterer or venue in advance. Minimize Cost • When offering a full, open bar, wedding cocktails shouldn’t be an additional expense (unless the recipe calls for a very rare and expensive ingredient, which should be purchased at a retail location.) • Adding a specialty cocktail to a service bar can be negotiated for less than the cost of a full bar; some places may charge an even smaller fare if complementary drinks are limited only to your specialty cocktail. • Purchase your spirits from a local retailer. If working with a venue in which you can create your own bar, having a specialty cocktail simplifies and minimizes the cost for stocking the bar. Enjoy responsibly • Remind the bartender to keep an eye on how much everyone is drinking. • Remember that a standard serving of beer (12 ounces), wine (5 ounces) and a cocktail (containing 1 ½ ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits) each contains the same amount of alcohol. • Be sure to have plenty of non-alcohol beverages available for your guests. • Provide food to complement the cocktails. • Make sure your guests have a safe way home either through designated drivers or a car service. WEDDING COCKTAILS We asked four of America’s top mixologists to come up with unique cocktail recipes to go with the “old, new, borrowed, and blue” tradition. Something Old Princess Mary’s Pride Cocktail This classic cocktail was created by Harry Craddock, the Savoy Hotel, London, on February 28, 1922, to mark the wedding celebrations of H.R.H. Princess Mary. (Submitted by Gary Regan, Ardent Spirits) 1 ounce calvados ½ ounce sweet vermouth ½ ounce dry vermouth Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Something New Pear-Apple Martini A new addition to cocktail flavors, pear makes a perfect partner to the popular apple martini. This fresh, unique recipe comes straight out of Manhattan’s hip Tribeca area. (Created by George Angelet, Sugar Restaurant, New York City) 1 ¼ ounce vodka ¾ ounce pear purée ¾ ounce green apple purée ½ ounce sour apple liquor ½ ounce simple syrup slice of green apple Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with slice of green apple. Something Borrowed The Tao of Love Beverage specialist George Delgado suggests borrowing a little Champagne, adding sparkle to his harmonious wedding cocktail creation that represents a balanced union. (Created by George Delgado, World Bar, New York) ½ oz. brandy ½ oz. vodka ¾ oz. fresh limejuice ¾ oz. simple syrup 6 red raspberries 2 ½ oz. Brut Champagne Muddle 4 raspberries with limejuice and simple syrup. Add brandy and vodka, shake and strain into flute glass and top with Champagne. Garnish with a pair of red raspberries. Something Blue The Blue Canary Birds will sing when you serve this delicious, crowd-pleasing blue cocktail created by famed cocktail author, Anthony Dias Blue. (Created by Anthony Dias Blue, author and food and wine expert) 1 oz. gin ¼ oz. blue curacao 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice 1 mint sprig Stir ingredients and strain over ice into a cocktail glass. Garnish with mint sprig. Distilled Spirits Council of the United States The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is a national trade association representing the leading brands of distilled spirits. Council member products include the full spectrum of quality distilled spirits such as Bourbon, Scotch and other whiskeys, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, cordials and liqueurs. The distillers take special pride in their products as well as in their commitment to encourage responsible beverage alcohol consumption by adults who choose to drink distilled spirits. If you choose to drink, be sure to consume sensibly and responsibly. Part of drinking responsibly is knowing that alcohol is alcohol. 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine and 1.5 oz. of 80 proof distilled spirits contain the same amount of beverage alcohol.