After the vows are read, the attention shifts to the reception. Wedding guests are notoriously enthusiastic about visiting the bar, whether or not the reception features a separate pre-meal cocktail hour. To keep guests in a celebratory mood, serve a few of the most popular cocktails to serve at any wedding.
Cocktails are mixed drinks, and we’ll focus on those here—but you’ll certainly have beer and a selection of red, white, and rosé wines available, plus non-alcoholic beverages for guests who abstain.
Since wedding hosts will probably have champagne on hand for toasts anyway, why not offer a champagne cocktail? The traditional recipe involves a sugar cube at the bottom of the champagne flute, a dash of bitters, and a squeezed lemon twist (the squeezing releases oils from the rind that give a zing of lemon flavor).
More and more couples are choosing to serve a “signature” cocktail as the main offering at the bar, along with the usual beer and wine. This can save money by limiting the choices offered, while still ensuring all guests get something to drink they’ll like.
Signature cocktails also save time if the cocktail chosen can be mixed in batches in advance. The selection of a signature cocktail usually meshes with the “theme” of the event, the season of the year, or the time of day of the nuptials.
Casual weddings on the beach might feature Mai Tais, Margueritas, or rum daiquiris. More formal, indoor affairs can go for something more traditional and elegant, like an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, or the couple’s favorite flavored Martini. The Moscow Mule is a versatile drink that can be customized with seasonal garnishes like lime or berries.
Did you know you can make dessert drinks? Use disposable mini plastic dessert cups to serve sweet, creamy after-dinner drinks like Mudslides, Grasshoppers, or Brandy Alexanders to add a fun touch to your signature cocktail.
Gin or Vodka Tonic
You can’t go wrong by having these popular cocktails available, and the basics are usually included in any bar package your reception venue offers. Both gin and vodka can serve as the basis for martinis, but you’ll need some vermouth and garnishes like olives, cocktail onions, and lemon twists at the bar.
Whiskey and Ginger Ale
Some wedding guests will prefer their whiskey straight, neat or on the rocks, or with just a splash of water. But keep some ginger ale available for a tasty, easy, and quick mixer to use with whiskey.
The cocktail universe has expanded well beyond the most popular cocktails to serve at any wedding in the past few years, as interest in mixology increases. But at a wedding, it’s important to keep it simple, and avoid drinks with lots of ingredients, that need blending or shaking as they’re made at the bar. Wedding guests are usually happy with something simple to wet their whistle and help them loosen up and get out on the dance floor.