“Alcohol lets people let loose,” so says everyone, ever. But, when it comes to planning your wedding, it can lead to major headaches (even without the drinking). Most of said stress comes down to one question: Should you host an open bar? It’s usually expected and it’s definitely expensive. Luckily, there is another approach to consider: Nowadays many couples are offering signature cocktails instead. Some say it’s cheaper and most agree that it’s more personal. Engaged caught up with Jonathan Pogash (a.k.a. the Cocktail Guru), a nationally recognized local bartender and cocktail consultant, for insight into this creative trend.
By Kaitlyn Murray
Why should couples consider offering a signature drink at their wedding?
It’s an element that makes the day stand out in the minds of the couple and their guests. It’s a reflection of who the couple is, where the event is taking place and of the overall theme.
What do you keep in mind when developing the recipes?
The color scheme, the overall theme, the food being served and guests’ likes and dislikes. Coordination with the couple comes first: How did they meet? What types of drinks do they enjoy? What types of ingredients should we stay away from?
What comes next?
I go back to my lab and develop the drink. I keep seasonality in mind and utilize only fresh juices and the occasional homemade ingredient. I use esoteric ingredients sparingly because oftentimes caterers need to keep the service of cocktails on the simpler side. That being said, my team and I are available to come to your wedding and mix up your signature cocktails. It’s always a fun time!
Engaged put Pogash’s know-how to the test and he generously obliged with four yummy, theme-based signature cocktails. Make these at home or feature them at your own wedding and add your own spin. Either way, you’ll be more than happy with the results (we were!).
“I think punches and pitcher drinks — perhaps versions of sangrias and easy to batch-out specialty cocktails. A sparkling wine-based cocktail would also be appropriate.”
Southern Peach Punch
1 bottle Van Gogh cool peach vodka
1 bottle white wine (preferably sauvignon blanc)
10 oz. white peach puree (such as Perfect Puree of Napa Valley)
10 oz. quality lemonade
Combine ingredients into a large punch bowl. Add ice when ready to serve and float thinly sliced lemon wheels on top. Ladle into punch glasses or rocks glasses. Serves approximately twenty.
“Classic cocktails to the core — Manhattans, martinis, old fashioneds, tikis — but with a modern twist and keeping seasonal ingredients in mind.”
Ticky Tiki Cooler
2 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. passionfruit juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. almond syrup
Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain over ice into a highball glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and freshly grated nutmeg.
“This cocktail, in my mind, would include edible flowers as garnish and perhaps an interesting rim. I’m thinking reds, silvers and golds as far as color scheme.”
The Glam Bride
1 oz. Van Gogh pomegranate vodka
¾ oz. ginger juice
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. honey syrup
2 oz. Ruffino prosecco
Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and gently fold. Strain into a champagne flute. Garnish with an edible flower.
“This cocktail would be simple, without any elaborate garnish, yet pleasing to the eye. It would be on-trend with what’s popular in the form of specialty cocktails at bars and restaurants.”
2 oz. Tap 357 maple rye whisky
½ oz. sweet vermouth
3 dashes angostura bitters
Stir ingredients directly in a mixing glass with ice and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.