Washington, DC – The peak bridal season is upon us once again and you’re the fortunate person who has the task of planning the bridal shower. Tradition would dictate that you serve champagne and miniature crustless cucumber sandwiches; play games to determine who knows the couple best; and present gifts to the woman of the hour. However, the Distilled Spirits Council would like to offer an alternative to those who shun tradition. In the spirit of creativity, the Council suggests a “Stock the Bar” theme for the special occasion. From menu items to gift ideas, this theme can be woven beautifully and responsibly into the party fabric. Cocktail Menu Kick-off the party by greeting guests with a special cocktail created especially for the bride-to-be. Use your imagination when designing the drink, pulling inspiration from the bride’s favorite color to her ideal honeymoon spot. Research her favorite spirit and make that the base of your creation. Add creativity and fun to the day by offering a limited bar menu featuring drinks designed and named by each of the bridesmaids. Suggest event-appropriate drink names like Old Married Woman and Ball and Chain. Guests can get into the act by attaching a favorite cocktail recipe to their gift wrapped presents. Note: To minimize your bartending time, make the drinks in advance and serve them from beautiful pitchers. Party Favors The favors should also be consistent with the theme. Give guests something they might not immediately consider for their own home bars such as a muddler or a glass rimmer. You might also consider designing a recipe card that lists the bridal shower cocktails. Shower Gift Ideas Help the bride and groom get off to a good start as future party hosts with a well-equipped home bar. Because bar tools span a variety of price ranges, the “Stock the Bar” theme will appeal to all of your guests—regardless of their budgets. Stylish gifts include anything from cocktail shakers, glassware, and jiggers to citrus juicers, premium spirits and gourmet garnishes such as stuffed olives. To get you started with your party planning, the Distilled Spirits Council has created a list of drink recipes that you can use “as is” or “as inspiration”: Mother-in-Law a.k.a Whiskey Sour 1 ½ ounces Whiskey ½ ounce lemon juice ½ teaspoon simple syrup 1 scoop crushed ice Orange slice Mix all ingredients in shaker. Strain the mixture into a glass and garnish with the orange slice Wedding Bouquet a.k.a. Gin Daisy 1 ½ ounces Gin 1 ounce lemon juice ¼ ounce grenadine ½ ounce simple syrup 1 scoop crushed ice Club soda Mint springs Mix the first 5 ingredients in a blender. Pour the mixture into a high ball. Top off with club soda and garnish with the mint Princess Cut a.k.a. Perfect Fit 1 ½ ounces tequila half-filled grapefruit juice half-filled orange juice Build in an ice-filled high ball glass and garnish with an orange zest wheel. Magic Elixir a.k.a. Love Potion #9 1 ½ ounces Rum 2 ounces strawberry puree 1 ½ ounces coconut cream syrup 3 ounces pineapple juice Pour ingredients into a blender. Blend with ice. Serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a strawberry. The Distilled Spirits Council Recommends these Tips for Hosting a Responsible Bridal Cocktail Party 1. Designate a bartender who can serve your guests and keep an eye on how much everyone is drinking. The Federal Dietary Guidelines define moderate drinking as no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. 2. Remember – alcohol is alcohol. It is important to understand that a standard serving of beer (12 ounces), wine (5 ounces) and spirits (a cocktail with 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits) each contains the same amount of alcohol. 3. Make sure that you provide food to complement your cocktails. Consider food pairings to enhance the flavor of your chosen cocktails: fresh seafood and breads accentuate vodka cocktails; spiced and smoked meats and cheeses complement Bourbon and Scotch whiskies; and fruit enhances Rum and Tequila flavors. 4. Make available non-alcoholic beverages for your guests. Create festive non-alcohol punch for those guests who choose not to drink alcohol. 5. Make sure your guests have a safe way home either through a designated driver or a taxi. Have local taxi service numbers available for your guest.