Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Personalizing Your Bar

Signature Drinks

I haven’t been to a wedding in a long time without seeing a signature drink. Signature drinks are an incredibly hot trend right now and come in all styles and flavors.  Signature drinks are a great way to carry out the theme of your wedding or maybe you want to serve the drink you had when you first met or when he proposed. Whatever your reason, make it personal! With that said, here’s some information you might find useful when choosing what you’ll have at your wedding.

Did You Know: One of the first signature drinks "The Windsor Arms", comes from the 1922 marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in London.  

Signature drinks can be a budget saver. 
Offering just one signature drink instead of a whole open bar can greatly cut down your costs. Depending on the type and quality of the alcohol, an open bar can average $12.50- $20 per guest, a wine and beer bar $7-$15 and a signature drink only bar around $4-$6 per guest.
But how do you choose? 
With so many options out there it can seem a bit daunting to pick a drink that reflects you both. Why not have a “His” and a “Hers” drink. And if you really can’t choose, I’ve even heard of entire “His” and “Hers” bars. Since most of us don’t have the budget for that, this may help. Keep it simple. Start with the classics like martinis and manhattans and build on them. Change the name of classic drinks to something describing the couple. Choose a color; use your bridesmaid’s dresses or flowers for inspiration. Flavors of the season or from your cake are also great for ideas. Then pick your base spirit, vodka, whiskey, whatever- just make sure that people will like it and that it’s affordable for you. A professional mixologist can also help you concoct a cocktail that’s simply your own.
You’ll also want to keep these tips in mind:
Serve a punch: they are made in batches and appeal to a lot of different tastes.
Make large quantities: making large amounts ahead of time will help speed the bar service and keep your guests happy.
Add unique garnishes: herbs and edible flowers will make a great drink look as good as it tastes. But be careful about putting in fruit/herbs ahead of time, after a while it may develop a bitter taste. Mix the liquids ahead and add fruit when served.
Flavored water: It can be a great, refreshing alternative and will be good for guests that want something fun but aren’t drinking alcohol.

Recipes by the season:

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup half-and-half
2 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup creme de menthe
*Whipped cream and shaved bittersweet chocolate for garnish

(for 1 cocktail)
1 lemon
4 basil leaves, roughly torn
6-8 rasberrries
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 oz. Limoncello
1 oz. Citron vodka
Champagne, to top off

Cut the lemon in half, then cut each half into quarters. Use 2 pieces per cocktail.
Muddle lemon, basil, raspberries in a glass, until raspberries and lemon are well mashed. Fill glass with ice. Add limoncello, vodka and sugar. Stir. Top with champagne.

5 ripe strawberries, chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
3oz Gin
muddle the basil and strawberry with the simple syrup  with a mortar and pestle (an ice cream scoop and a cocktail shaker works as well). Add all other ingredients and shake with ice.
8 fresh cranberries
1 tsp. pumpkin spice agave nectar*
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Champagne of sparkling wine

In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the cranberries, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Add ice and the champagne or sparkling wine and gently mix. 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/c cup agave nectar with 1 tsp store bought pumpkin pie spice and stir.
Flavored Water:
I truly couldn't pick just one flavored water so here's an article with a bunch of great options!

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