Wedding drinks – Match cocktails with your wedding theme!

wedding lights

Have a wedding with spirit!

I’ve previously written about the importance of planning the drinks for your wedding, and that includes giving more thought to the drinks themselves. There’s so much you can tell about people through their drink choices, and a wedding is a great time to show more of the bride’s and groom’s personalities.

By now, you have probably decided the timings for when to serve drinks and whether you are having a free bar, cash bar or something in between. The next step is to make a list of things you and the groom both like drink-wise. Think about colours, flavours and the spirits. If you are from different cultures, try choosing something from both backgrounds to celebrate both traditions.

Based on your list, you can then either choose a theme for the wedding or a theme for the cocktail hour. For example, one easy option is to choose the drinks based on the colour scheme of the wedding.

Using colours

Pastels

Pastel colours give a romantic feel to any wedding. You can use rose petals or lavender to garnish drinks or use rose lemonade as a mixer. The guests will really appreciate these subtle notes. Use cocktail glasses with gold rims, or make your own from sugar and food colouring. How about pink champagne or rosé wine?

pastel roses

Navy

You could embrace the seaside theme with navy, other blue shades, white and a hint of silver by offering a drink with blueberries. Use blueberry vodka topped up with prosecco and fresh blueberries. There’s always the option of using Blue Curaçao in the drinks, but go easy on it to avoid creating a tacky holiday cocktail. Just a tiny measure will give your drinks a beautiful soft light-blue colour.

blue drinks

Green

If you are using different shades of green, anything from emerald to teal and darker shades, rather than making the drink the same colour, use it on the garnishes instead. No one really likes Midori anyway! Even something as simple as vodka, lime and soda (Skinny Bitch) or Caipirinha will look nice with a green palette. If you prefer gin, choose one that goes well with a sprig of rosemary or a basil leaf. Mix some gold in by using gold-rimmed cocktail glasses.

Black and white

Black and white is often used for very formal black-tie-themed weddings. Offer classic martinis, or if you prefer sweeter flavours, make Kir Royal as your welcome drink. Blackberries and blackcurrants will look great as garnish for clear drinks. You can create black Sangria by using plums, black grapes and blackberries – the secret for the dark colour is to leave the Sangria mix to rest in the fridge for one to two hours as this will make the plums even darker.

blueberry cocktails

Red

Red is a bold colour, but if you want to make it your main colour try combining it with cool greys to make the red shades pop. You can create cocktails with cranberry and pomegranate juices or garnish with fresh cherries. If you are having a summer wedding, watermelon mojito will make the most refreshing drink. Pimp the prosecco with fresh red berries such as redcurrants and strawberries. If you are using orange and other autumn colours, an Aperol Spritz makes a perfect welcome drink.

You can also choose a fun theme based on the drink(s) you love the most. Below are some creative and fun theme ideas.

Cuban

Drinks: Mojito, Daiquiri, Pina Colada, rum neat or on the rocks, bottled beers

Deco: pastel colours, cigar corner, rum bar, worn leather, distressed materials/items to create nostalgic/vintage look

pastel frames

Italia

Drinks: Aperol Spritz, Americano, Campari, Prosecco cocktails, or if you feel brave, offer grappa with the wedding breakfast

Deco: sunflowers, wildflowers or other colourful flowers, lemon centrepieces, think elegance

Jazz lounge

Drinks: whisky sour, dirty martini, rum neat

Deco: soft lighting, classy glassware, neon signs, don’t forget to choose the right music to top it off.

Gin sign neon

Celtic

Drinks: smoky whiskies, either neat or in cocktails (if you don’t like whisky try mescal as it has a smoky flavour), G&T, Irish coffee, Mini Guinness (Kahlua topped with Bailey’s in a shot glass)

Deco: tartan fabric, deer antlers, bagpipes, big armchairs, faux fur, emerald green

Vintage/rustic

Drinks: If you are able to bring your own booze make a gin station where guests can choose their gins, tonics and garnish. Alternatively, hire a pop-up gin bar – there are many to choose from; some use old classic cars as pop-up bars. Vintage glassware, crystal where possible

Deco: lace tablecloths, brown colours, wooden table tops, DIY decorations, bunting, picture frames and hanging lights

Photo credit: Sarah Olivier Photography / Gin and Bear It!
Photo credit: Sarah Olivier Photography / Gin and Bear It!

Martini bar

Drinks: anything from dry to vesper martinis to appletinis to cosmopolitans – anything served in a martini glass

Deco: black tie, classy, black and white with gold or silver

Strawberry Martini

Secret garden

Drinks: Pimm’s, white sangria, pretty ice cubes (flowers or berries inside), paper straws, mason jars, make a “pimp your prosecco” station where the guests can choose the flavours they like – think berries and fruit with different cordials or liqueurs

Deco: garden games, armchairs and sofas outdoors, wild flowers, DIY photo booth

pimp your prosecco
Photo credit: M&J Photography

Tropical/bohemian mix

Drinks: Spiced rum, Daiquiri, classy cocktails – think flavours from lavender to passion fruit, cocktail cart, vintage glassware

Deco: rugs, flamingos, green leafy plants, colours mixed with rustic dark wood, pineapples, gold, dark purple, green or blue

pineapple party

The list is endless…

5 easy cocktails to get you started

1 Summer Fruit

35ml Summer fruit vodka (I used Bimber Distillery Summer Fruit as it adds more colour)

25ml Martini Rosso

Lime wedge

Tonic Water

Fill a tumbler with ice, add lime. First add spirits and stir, then top up with tonic and garnish with summer berries.

2 Pink Paloma

50ml Blanco tequila (I used Cazcabel Blanco)

50ml Pink grapefruit juice

Wedge of pink grapefruit

15ml fresh lime juice

Dash of sugar syrup

Soda

+ salt for the rim

Rub half of the rim of tumbler with the grapefruit slice, then roll it on salt – clean excess salt from inside of the glass. Add all but soda in the Boston shaker and shake well with ice. Strain over ice and top up with soda. Alternatively pour all ingredients over ice, stir well and top up with soda. Garnish with pink grapefruit.

3 Dark and Stormy

50ml Kraken or other spiced rum

Dash of lemon juice

Ginger beer

Fill a glass with ice, add dash of lemon juice. Add ginger beer leaving room for rum. Top up with more ice before pouring rum so it floats nicely. Garnish with lemon wheel and a funky straw.

4 Elderflower Gin Fizz

25ml Gin (I used Brighton Gin as it is not too citrusy)

15ml Triple sec

Dash of lemon

Dash of elderflower cordial

Prosecco

Fill a tall glass with ice, add gin, triple sec, lemon and elderflower and stir. Add more ice if needed and top up with Prosecco. Garnish with lemon or to match the theme try edible flowers.

5 Pineapple and Ginger

50ml Vodka

25ml Pineapple juice

15ml Lime juice

15ml Ginger sugar syrup

Prosecco

Add vodka, pineapple and lime juice, and ginger sugar syrup in a glass over ice. Stir well and top with Prosecco. Garnish with lime or pineapple slice depending on your colour sheme.

To make the ginger sugar syrup: 1.5 cup water 1 cup granulated sugar,  a good size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped. Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Cover with a lid and let it rest for at least one hour. Strain and store, this last up to two weeks if kept in the fridge.

outdoor wedding

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