I have to start with a confession: I hate the term “signature cocktail,” and if I could figure out who invented it I would write them a strongly worded letter. As I mentioned when I wrote about buying alcohol for your wedding, if you personally don’t have a “signature” cocktail in your real life, you shouldn’t feel pressured to come up with one for your wedding. Like everything else about your wedding, the drinks you serve should be things you like, but they don’t need to symbolize you or your relationship. I mean, let’s be real—that’s a lot of pressure for a drink. That said, cocktails are delicious! And maybe you want some at your wedding! Rad. I also like cocktails, and if I’m a guest at your wedding I will definitely drink some (though like all reasonable people, I will also be fine with just wine and beer, so no worries).
If you’re really into cocktails, you may choose to focus a portion of your budget on that, and hire great bartenders who can mix up whatever you want. (Or, maybe your venue or catering company is providing them. Again—rad.) But maybe you’re DITing your bar, and you’ve hired your college-aged sister’s friend to serve the drinks, instead of springing for an experienced bartender. In that case, this post is for you. When brainstorming tutorials on cocktails, I briefly considered bringing in some of the amazing pros I know to help, and then realized that
The great thing about sangria is that you can make it with almost any fruit, plus it’s actually better to make it with cheap wine. (Sangria just wastes expensive wine). So, feel free to experiment, but this recipe is a good base. Makes approximately 30 servings:
- The day before your wedding, cut up all the fruit into approximately bite sized pieces
- Cover the fruit with the wine and Cointreau
- Immediately before serving, add sparkling water and soda
- Serve with a ladle instead of out of a dispenser, because half the fun is eating the boozy fruit.
Warning: These are boozy. They are also really, really delicious. A traditional French 75 is made with sugar and lemon juice, but I learned this twist years ago from a friend. Makes approximately 16 servings:
- The day before your wedding, make a simple syrup by heating the honey and the water together on the stove top
- Mix one part honey simple syrup, one part lime juice, and one part gin together
- When serving, put two ounces (shots) of the pre-mixed ingredients into a champagne flute, top with approximately 3.5 ounces of chilled champagne (to the reasonable top of the glass)
You can make this drink even simpler by pre-buying agua fresca, or just pre-buying flavored lemonade. However, I like the pulp from the watermelon, and sometimes it’s… nice to make something partially from scratch? (You can also make it entirely from scratch by making your own lemonade.) Makes approximately 30 servings:
- The day before your wedding, cut up the watermelon into chunks, place in blender with some of the lemonade (you’ll have to do this in batches)
- When all of the watermelon and lemonade are blended, mix in the tequila
- When serving, pour over ice (you’ll have to mix it up as the watermelon will separate after a while)
Pro tip: These make amazing popsicles if you have any left over.
It’s crazy that something this simple can be this delicious, but, let me tell you, it’s my new go-to brunch drink. I’m including it as a bonus, fourth recipe, because it requires a minor amount of skill during prep time (the lemon peel steeping). That said—don’t try to skip that step; it’s what makes it. Makes approximately 16 servings:
- The day before your wedding, peel the lemons (just the yellow part!) muddle with the sugar, and put into a zip-top bag, squeezing as much air as possible out; refrigerate.
- Juice the lemons, put into a jar. Refrigerate.
- Before the reception starts, mix lemon juice, lemon-sugar bag contents, and whiskey together; stir until sugar dissolves; add water
- Add ice