HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >


Signature drink recommendations for wedding cocktail hour and reception

  • 8

Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. did you have a theme or what season is the wedding in
    Pomagranate martinis
    are a nice change to the ordinary

    1 Reply
    1. re: jorestes

      I had mojitos passed around by servers at my wedding. Def. a nice change of pace, and something most people like but dont usually order.

    2. We did something that fit our theme and was meaningful to us. We served Sidecars at the cocktail hour, as the wedding had a formal, 20s flavor, and it was a drink I'd introduced my honey to early in our dating days that she had come to love. The wines we served at the cocktail hour and at dinner all had some special significance to us from our travels together or as beloved wines that suited the food (and met our budget).

      One reason that cocktail worked is that it also suited our guests, many of whom are classic-cocktail aficionados. I'm not sure I'd serve a strong drink like that at every party: it might be useful to consider something a) more accessible, and b) not so strong, like a highhball or long drink or punch.

      If I were to do it over, I'd be braver than I was then about creating an original concoction with a story behind it (as I now regularly do for friends celebrating big events), including recipe cards with the cocktail's backstory at the bar and/or tables. The design and testing process is fun, and if you come up with something really delicious, you've created an anniversary tradition. (You might even see it served elsewhere later, which is gratifying, too.)


      1. Similar to what JB said, it really makes sense to pick something with some significance to you personally. We had Basil Lime Gimlets and Kir Royale as our signature drinks, but that could mean (possibly) nothing to you. But feel free to use 'em if you like 'em!

        1. I've seen (as the bartender) signature cocktails go over like lead balloons at wedding receptions and other events. If you are going to do this, tray passing is necessary to ensure that guests at least try the drink you've chosen.

          Aside from MC Slim JB, do any of you others know how well your cocktails moved during your receptions?

          1. My brother-in-law started a family tradition at weddings and other gatherings of making "duck farts". You chill the Crown Royal, Bailey's Irish Creme, and Kahlua. In a straight-sided narrow glass, pour the Crown, then the Bailey's and lastly the Kahlua. This makes a pretty layered drink that is delicious! Be sure to swirl it before drinking, though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PDeveaux

              Our wedding was outdoors, in August....lobster/clam bake at Odiorne....so we wanted something to instantly quench and refresh. Right around our engagement, we went to 29 Newbury for a drink and the bartender offered us a "Vanessa Palmer" (she's Vanessa). It's an Arnold Palmer (1/2 unsweetened iced tea, 1/2 lemonade) with blueberry vodka in it. Surprisingly juniper-y and SO unbelievable. We drank them continuously the next summer...and it became "our summer drink." For the wedding, we ordered mason jar mugs (with handles)...the bar mixed up the Arnold Palmers ahead of time, and those that preferred the Vanessa had some blueberry vodka swirled in for them. Kept the drinkers and non-drinkers refreshed and cool.

            2. At our garden wedding, we served a white wine sangria that had a special story behind it. We had a little card with the story printed up and framed on the bar. I guess everyone loved it - it was completely gone by the time I had a chance to get to the bar! It was in addition to the full, open bar. As a former bartender, I'll just point out (as you probably already know), having an open bar in addition to the signature drink is most preferable to the guests.