Here’s a guest post from a great friend of Our Wedding Plus, Jonathan Pogash! Make sure to check out the videos at the bottom of this post to see some tasty signature drinks and demonstrations of how to make them. Checkout Jonathan’s website Wedding Cocktail Design to get a bunch of ideas for your wedding signature drinks. Thanks again Jonathan for the great signature drink ideas and congratulations on your new son! Here’s Jonathan’s post…
Hang on Summer! – Signature Drinks for the End of Summer
If you’re like me, you enjoy relaxing on the beach with the warm, salt air flowing through your hair. You enjoy the fall season as well, with its bounty of fruits, herbs, and Technicolor leaves blowing through the cool, crisp air.
As a designer of signature wedding cocktails, I’m occasionally given the mission of creating non-seasonal signature drinks – that is a drink that contains ingredients that are not in season. It’s a big deal to me that my drinks include only the best possible fruits, herbs, and vegetables. And really the only way to do this is to choose those fruits that are in season.
That being said, if your wedding happens to be in a destination that feels like summer, while in most of the country we’re being dumped buckets of snow, have no fear! Tropical cocktails and those drinks that use typically “summer” ingredients are a very hot trend. Why not use coconut or passion fruit in a specialty drink, or strawberries, blackberries, and peaches in a refreshing, unique libation?
When thinking about your signature drinks, know that it’s about YOU and your partner…whatever you want you get, and if anyone tries to say otherwise, just shoo them away!
I’ve included a cocktail or two below that incorporate summer flavors into drinks that will work well for a fall or winter wedding. Please note, the recipes below were created specifically for the occasion. If you are interested in a unique cocktail of your own for your special day, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my website www.WeddingCocktailDesign.com . You can also watch me mix up a few cocktails on WNBC-TV in New York and FOX Providence in Rhode Island (videos below, too)
The Royal Peach
1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
3/4 oz. St Germain Elderflower liqueur
3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Directions: STIR ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish: orange peel (option to flame the peel)
Basil Peach Smash
1/4 of a ripe peach
1 heaping tsp. maple syrup
2 basil leaves
2 oz. Brugal Anejo rum
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Yacht Club ginger beer (local from Rhode Island)
Directions: Muddle the peach and basil in the syrup and lemon juice. Add rum and shake well with ice. Strain over ice and top w/ ginger beer.
Garnish: sliced peach
Fall is just about here and that means it’s time to start thinking about Fall Wedding Signature Drinks. Once again we are honored to have a guest post by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru and owner of Wedding Cocktail Design, a branch of his beverage consulting company that specializes in unique, one of a kind signature drinks for weddings. He is a frequent contributor to NBC’s Today Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and The Knot. This picture is a cocktail he designed for Corzo Tequilia, the Corzo Ruby Red. Thanks again Jonathan!!!
The fall brings us some amazing ingredients: apples, peaches, pears, cranberries, figs, and more.Little did I know that as a wide-eyed 5 year-old picking apples at the local farm in NJ that I would be using apples as ingredients in alcoholic beverages.
Playing off of all the colors, scents, and textures that we experience during these months is what invigorates me the most. I would have to say that it is my favorite time of the year when it comes to experimenting and coming up with new recipes.
The color of a signature cocktail is important. In the fall, colors like burnt sienna, burgundy, and caramel come to mind.
Apple cider adds a nice sweet fullness to a mixed drink. It also mixes well with almost anything…okay, maybe not cream. But you get the idea. Using whole apples and pears as garnish really add a great look to any cocktail.
Fresh cranberries…oh fresh cranberries – be still my beating heart. These glorious little berries literally burst with flavor and color. I am reminded of the bogs that dot the coast of southeast Massachusetts, where my wife is from. A simple blend of 1 cup fresh cranberries and 1 cup sugar heated over the stovetop yields a lovely puree that, once cooled, is a perfect accompaniment to a vodka, rum, gin, or tequila-based drink. Try it with Champagne or sparkling wine – it’s like drinking fall.
I tend to brainstorm ideas based on what works in the culinary world, which is why baking spices, like cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon always come to mind for me at this time of the year. Not only would I use freshly grated nutmeg (has to be freshly grated) and cinnamon sticks as a garnish, but I can also infuse these into a favorite spirit of mine.
I’ve included a couple of my favorite fall cocktail recipes below. Don’t forget to enjoy these months, take the air in, watch the leaves change colors, and close your eyes and imagine the smell of freshly pressed apple cider and aromatic baking spices gently kissing your nose.
Cranberry Spiced Sparkler
8 fresh cranberries
1 tsp. Pumpkin spice Agave nectar ***
Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
Directions: In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the cranberries, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Then add ice and the champagne or sparkling wine and gently fold. Strain out into a champagne flute. Top off with an extra splash of wine.
Garnish with 3 floating cranberries
***to make pumpkin spice agave nectar, simply combine 1 cup agave nectar with 2 tsp store bought pumpkin pie spice (comes ground), and stir.
Apple and Cinnamon infused Vodka
1) Core and chop 2 granny smith apples and 2 red delicious apples (or your favorite apples) and add them to a mason or infusion jar.
2) Add 3 cinnamon sticks to the jar.
3) Take a bottle of your favorite vodka (I like Russian Standard for this recipe) and empty it out into the jar.
4) Allow to infuse for 5 days, then discard the apples and cinnamon.
5) Refrigerated, this infusion can last up to one month.
For a twist on the classic vodka drink, a Moscow Mule, add 2 ounces of your apple and cinnamon infused vodka to a tall glass with ice, and fill with good quality ginger beer (I like Fever Tree, Barritts, or Regatta).
Our friend Jonathon Pogash, the Cocktail Guru, has some great wedding signature drink ideas he shared with us for you winter brides or for anyone having a holiday party for that matter. Here’s what he had to say when we asked him about signature drinks for winter weddings…
Winter cocktails are on my mind right now. And I always love integrating those winter ingredients into my cocktails, and encouraging brides and grooms to continue serving cocktails, even if their weddings are in the winter months like January or February. It’s really just a matter of getting creative and sourcing out those winter fruits and herbs that go remarkably well in cocktails (pears, apples, cranberries, spices, maple syrup, etc). Serving a warm hot toddy infused with a local whiskey, or peanut butter hot chocolate spiked with your favorite rum is a nice touch.
For some additional inspiration he put together a couple of videos to give you some signature drink ideas and keep scrolling down because he also provided some great signature drink recipes for you to use!
Here are some winter signature drink recipes below. There’s also a non-alcoholic cocktail recipe, which should always be an option for those non-drinking guests.
Winter Rum Punch **can be made in large batch-form**
2 parts Flor de Cana Rum
1 part apple cider
1 part Benedictine or Orange liqueur
1/2 part maple syrup
1/2 part fresh lemon juice or grapefruit juice
Directions: Combine ingredients in a punch bowl. Add ice when ready to serve, and stir well. Ladle into punch glasses.
Garnish: candy canes and freshly grated nutmeg
Cranberry Spice Sparkler (served at Bookmarks Lounge, NYC) 5 fresh cranberries
1 tsp. agave nectar
Splash of fresh lemon juice
1 pinch pumpkin pie spice (store-bought)
4 oz. sparkling wine
Directions: In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the cranberries and pie spice in the agave and fresh lemon juice. Then add ice and sparkling wine and stir briefly to incorporate. Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top w/ extra splash of sparkling wine.
Garnish: 3 floating cranberries
Spiced Pear Sparkler (served at soon-to-be-opened Harmony Harlem, NYC) 3/4 oz. Pear puree
1/2 oz. clove syrup**
3 oz. Sparkling Wine (Veuve du Vernay)
Directions: Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir briefly to incorporate. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top w/ extra splash of sparkling wine.
Garnish: 1 star anise
**clove syrup is made by dissolving 1 cup demerara sugar in 1 cup water, along with 1 tsp. dried cloves. Allow sugar to dissolve, and simmer for 15 mins. Strain out cloves and chill.
Cranberry Spice Sangria (served at The Carnegie Club, NYC)
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. Malbec wine
Directions: Muddle the cranberries in the lemon and agave. Then add remaining ingredients and shake very well with ice. Strain over new ice into a wine glass.
Garnish: chopped apples and cranberries
Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa (served at Bookmarks Lounge, NYC) 1 oz. Castries Peanut Crème Liqueur
3/4 oz. 10 Cane Rum
1 heaping tsp. gourmet hot cocoa mix (already sweetened)
1 cup steamed milk
Directions: In a hot toddy glass or mug, combine ingredients with milk and stir very well until cocoa is dissolved. Add milk foam on top, if available.
Garnish: mini marshmallows and dusting of cocoa mix
Tea Cider Sparkler (non-alcoholic) 1/2 oz chamomile-cinnamon tea syrup**
Splash of fresh lemon juice
3 oz. Non-alcoholic sparkling cider (Martinelli’s)
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir briefly. Strain into chilled champagne flute. Add extra splash of cider on top.
Garnish: chamomile flower and/or lemon peel
**chamomile-cinnamon syrup: dissolve equal parts white sugar and water over heat. Once dissolved, add 1 chamomile tea bag and 3 cinnamon sticks per 1 cup water to mixture. Allow to simmer for 5 mins, then remove tea bag(s). Then continue simmering for approx. 10 more mins. Remove cinnamon sticks and chill.
A few months back we had a great guest post about signature drinks for your wedding from Jonathan Pogash, the Cocktail Guru. Jonathan sent me a video of his appearance on a segment of NBC’s new wedding show, “I Do.”
Some interesting info! If you are in the market for a signature drink for your wedding, checkout Jonathan’s new blog.
Today I have another great guest blogger! Jonathan Pogash is a New York based cocktail developer and mixologist. He is also a consultant to fine dining and cocktail establishments across the US. He creates signature drinks for liquor companies and private and corporate events. Jonathan has been mentioned in such publications as Sante Magazine, The New York Times, Entrée Magazine, Trump Magazine, Bartender Magazine, The Wine Enthusiast, Plate Magazine, Northshore Magazine, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens and others. Now, Jonathan is appearing on the Our Wedding Plus blog! Checkout Jonathan’s website and blog if you want to know more…
As someone who was just betrothed this past spring, I know the importance of having a smooth and stress-free wedding day.My wife was the epitome of calmness, and the day couldn’t have gone better.A highlight of the evening (I was told), were the specialty cocktails that yours truly created for this special occasion.But why did creating these cocktails seem to hold more weight than others?‘Cause I knew everybody there!I am a cocktail developer.“What the heck does that mean?” you say.Well, I’ve created a niche for myself as one who dreams up signature drinks for bars, lounges, restaurants, liquor brands, and special events.And the epitome of special events: weddings.This, we all agree upon.There are several things to consider when brainstorming a specialty cocktail for your big day.I’ve come up with a checklist that I use, which I hope will ease your minds – just one more thing you don’t have to think about on that day.You’ll also see some photos down below, which hopefully will give you some fun ideas.
The theme of your day – Whether it’s ‘Hamptons beach party’ or ‘70’s retro-disco’, align your specialty libation with what your day will hold forth.
Color – If this is a large part of your theme, consider it for your cocktails: Purple, pink, yellow, green, silver – all colors can be recreated in the liquid form.
What liquor do I use? – Ask yourselves what your favorite spirits are, and decide from there.The possibilities are endless.A trend nowadays is back towards classic cocktails, so if you’re lovers of Gin, Rum, and Rye or Bourbon, think about using those as your base spirits.
Garnish – Maybe it’s your favorite fruit or flower (make sure it’s edible!), or just simply maraschino cherries (because on your first date you impressed your partner by tying a knot with the stem using only your tongue), make it meaningful and always keep in mind what flavor your garnish will add to your cocktail.A garnish serves dual purposes – to look pretty and to add flavor to a drink.Remember – we taste with our eyes first.
Save $$$ – By offering one or two specialty cocktails, you can limit your guests’ drinking habits.Even better, offer only your specialty cocktails during cocktail hour, and beer and wine during dinner.
Ease of preparation – If you’re fortunate enough to have caterers who are experienced in fine dining, you may not have an issue with this.But for the most part, catering bartenders don’t have much experience with specialty cocktails, let alone custom-made specialty cocktails.Think about using simple, ready-made and easily accessible ingredients.Even submitting a recipe for a batched or pitcher version of your drink would ease the bartender’s nerves, and ensure a perfect, consistent cocktail every time.
What about Uncle Frank who doesn’t drink, or Cousin Susie who just graduated 5th grade? – Always have non-alcoholic versions of your alcoholic cocktails readily available for your guests.It usually just entails eliminating the alcoholic portion of the drink, and adding in a bit more of the mixers.
If you’re too stressed and can’t even think about adding this to your long list of to-do’s– Hire a professional! Nowadays, specialty wedding cocktails are almost the norm, and there is a slew of catering companies that offer this service.Independent and special event ‘mixologists’ are also another good option (yours truly, wink, wink).The service is personal and special, and you can be assured that nobody else in the world will have the same cocktail that’s being served at your wedding (unless, of course, you choose to serve a classic).Here are some cocktails that I’ve created for weddings that may spark an idea or two:
A while ago I wrote a post about custom wedding wine labels.Now, the time has come to find out about custom wedding wines.You might ask, what’s the difference?Well, these come with the labels already on the wine.So you, 1) Pick your label, 2) Personalize your label, and 3) Choose your wine.Then the company puts the labels on your wine and ships them to you!
The Custom Wine Source provides a selection of different kinds of wines and over one hundred different kinds of labels which are easy to customize.Or, you can totally customize your label and upload it.
Some other ideas are having customized sparkling wine or they have customized miniature sparkling wine you can give as wedding favors.
Having a holiday party?They also have customizable Christmas wine labels as well as wine labels for other occasions.
Celebrity Party / Wedding Planner David Tutera made an appearance on The View to demonstrate how to make Summer White Sangria which would be great for an outdoor summer wedding signature drink or any other summer entertaining you may be doing.
Check out the video to see how to make it, looks tasty!
Summer is here, almost. So it’s time for some great wedding signature drink suggestions!
What is a signature drink? It should be something unique, that guests associate with your event. You can either select a wedding signature drink that goes with your wedding colors (checkout Stirrings.com they have a great selection of mixes sorted by color!) or something that goes with your wedding theme. You can even give your wedding signature drink a unique name that you come up with! You’ll want to avoid something that’s too strong and choose something that appeals to a wide audience. Here’s another cost saving hint: If you want to limit your wedding reception bar tab, offer beer, wine, and a couple of wedding signature drinks rather than a full open bar.
If you need help coming up with a great signature drink, check out either of these books. (Just click on the picture)
Here’s a couple of signature drinks that caught my eye and I think would be pretty tasty for an outdoor wedding reception, or a cocktail reception. Last year, Ecco Domani wines debuted a couple of signature drinks that included wine, so they aren’t too strong but they look oh so good!
Check these out…
Ecco Freddo (Created by master mixologist, Alex Ott)
Muddle a slice of watermelon with one teaspoon of sugar
Add 1oz. of pineapple juice
Add 2.5 oz. of Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio
Add ice into a boston shaker and shake vigorously for at least 6 seconds
Pour all ingredients into a lowball glass
Garnish with a thin slice of watermelon
Dolce Domani (Created by master mixologist, Alex Ott)
Muddle half of a lime with 2.5 teaspoons of sugar until all the juice is extracted
Add 3 oz. of Ecco Domani’s Merlot
Add ice into a boston shaker and shake vigorously for at least 6 seconds
Pour all ingredients into a lowball glass or wineglass
Don’t like getting up early to get married like our Victorian ancestors, but also don’t want to have the mega-wedding reception that seems to be the norm these days? Why not go for an elegant cocktail reception?
It’s the ideal option if you are having a small wedding, maybe a less formal one. It also gives you the option to have your reception in a smaller space. Here’s a few ideas…offer a couple of signature drinks to keep your costs down in addition to a beer and wine menu. And, all you need to offer are tray passed or self-serve hors d’oeuvres as the main course! This is something you can even do in your house!
This format will allow you to mingle with the guests all evening and encourage a lot more social interaction than a standard reception.
For details on how to plan a cocktail wedding reception and lots of other unique alternative reception ideas check out celebrity wedding planner Colin Cowie’s book, Colin Cowie Weddings. It’s one of my most valuable resources!
For more information about signature drinks checkout my posts:
Thanks to Rice and D for the photo!
Hi everyone, here’s another idea to personalize your wedding ,this time with custom wine labels. There are a few ways to do this. The first and the cheapest is to print it yourself. Just be careful doing this, you need a good color printer to make sure it doesn’t look cheesy. You may also have a problem if (when) they come into contact with liquids and the ink running. Second, is to have them printed for you. There are many options out there on the internet that can help you with this. One place I found is Stoney Creek Wine Press. They’re waterproof and scratch resistant! You can customize your labels and they will print them and send them to you.
Now, I think the best way is to have your favorite winery sell you the bottles with your custom label already on the bottle! There are many wineries that do this but you might want to at least taste the wine first before you order a bunch of bottles. Here’s some examples from Su Vino Winery. The bottles at the top of the post are from Su Vino and here are close-ups of the labels.
UPDATE 12 Nov 07: I was having problems loading the Su Vino website. You can checkout The Custom Wine Source if you are interested in finding wine for your wedding with the label already attached.
Any other ideas to personalize your wedding? Let us know! See you tomorrow.