Our couples look to Mr. Valley (aka Nick), to help them create that perfect signature cocktail based on criteria he's narrowed down from their favorite brews, liquors and tastes, as well as the ambiance they're going for at their event, the season and the menu. Signature cocktails can go so wrong and become a waste of alcohol and money if they're not created with your crowd in mind. Here are some tips for creating your own excellent signature cocktail:
Err on the side of neutral. While it can be wonderfully charming to coordinate your drinks based on your wedding colors, we've been those guests ourselves (shh!) that shy away from overly vibrant (think blue or purple) drinks that appear too sweet. Instead, garnish drinks with a colored straw or fruit that matches any super vibrant tones, and base your signature cocktail on your favorite liquor (like Bourbon or St. Germain) instead of your favorite color if your wedding colors aren't too natural.
Keep it simple. Use just a few elements for each drink and top them off with fresh ingredients that will compliment your cocktail menu. Fresh blueberries, rosemary, lemon peels and orange wedges work well to add texture to a two- or three-ingredient drink, as do things like celery stalks and basil or mint (perfect for garden weddings). Keep in mind that sparkling water makes for a great topper to most liquor and juice pairings, too.
Know your crowd. Such a key element for crafting your bar perfectly, knowing your crowd will save you the headache of creating an elaborate bar menu if you only have beer and wine drinkers, or will really let you get creative and have fun if you have a bevy of cocktail enthusiasts. If you are serving up a sweet drink balance it out as most adult guests can only handle a few too-sweet drinks and will switch it up to something less sugary. Stock your bar with the base of your signature drink along with some simple mixers like tonic water and juice in case guests want another cocktail but you aren't offering a full bar.
Go seasonal. Consider offering up sangria three ways in bistro pitchers on tables for self-service spirits for a wedding in the heat of summer. Try spiked cider in copper mugs for an autumn fete, garden-inspired herbed cocktails for springtime, and hot cocoa or Irish coffee for winter weddings. Keeping with the season will also compliment your menu, and allow you to have fun by pairing fresh bites with each cocktail.
Cater to every guest. Always be sure to offer equally wonderful and appealing drinks for non-drinkers as well. Think blood orange juice in bubbled champagne flutes with zest for a mock mimosa, sparkling water in over-sized gilded goblets with red berries and ice cubes, and dressed-up soda like root beer in fun mugs with striped straws. The smallest details can make the most impact and make your cocktails, whether alcoholic or not, memorable and festive.
Remember to have fun and to plot out a cocktail menu that you both will enjoy and that your guests will get a kick out of. Cheers!