All according to professional mixologists.

By Courtney Leiva
September 10, 2019
lauren and shane cocktail signage

Choosing the right signature cocktail for your fall wedding can be tricky. While you want to select a sip that sets your celebration apart from all the others, you also want to be careful to curate an offering that guests will actually want to drink. That's why mixologists suggest serving a signature cocktail that's simple, light, and reflective of the season. With that being said, simple doesn't have to mean boring—cocktails made with minimal ingredients can be incredibly tasty, and they don't have to sacrifice on creativity.

To put those types of signature drinks on your radar, we spoke with two mixologists about the cocktail dos and don'ts fall couples should remember. From ingredient choices to garnish ideas, these are the six most important tips to keep in mind.

Do: Try to Keep Your Cocktails Simple

"Making a simple cocktail does not mean it won't taste good. It means that you are creating a cocktail that will be easy to execute and ultimately can be batched for quick preparation," says Phil Testa, beverage manager at The Rickey Lounge at New York City's the Dream Midtown Hotel. This makes the process much smoother, he explains, and allows drinks to come out faster, benefitting both the guests and the staff.

Don't: Overcomplicate Your Drinks

"The more complicated your drinks are, the more difficult it is to serve or consume," Testa warns. Larger events like weddings means catering to a broad audience, so you'll have to remember that you are appealing to a bunch of different palettes.

Do: Keep Your Cocktails Light and Bright

"Impress your guests by offering cocktails that are light (and bright) by using fresh juices, basic ingredients, and familiar menu items," Testa advises. You can make a cocktail appear complex even when using minimal ingredients—and you'll do so without having to sacrifice creativity or taste, he explains. The fresher the drink, the better.

Don't: Select Drinks That Are Too Spicy or Too Sweet

"While these may be popular choices on cocktail menus, your guests may not all have the same palette, so ideally your signature cocktail should be something the majority can enjoy," Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge, says. "I would suggest using fresh, seasonal flavors such as pomegranate or ginger, as both mix well with a wide variety of liquors, and won't overpower your cocktail."

Do: Add Garnishes and Flair

"When planning the cocktails for your wedding, be sure to add fun garnishes and flair," says McCutcheon. "For example, pair cranberries with a sparkling wine for a fun in-season cocktail with a sophisticated look."

Don't: Forget to Offer More Than Just Cocktails

As much as you may love your signature cocktail, there are bound to be guests who would simple prefer to drink something else. That's why it's nice to have at least a few different offerings, if not a full bar. "If a guest prefers a stiff drink or a glass of Chardonnay, let them make that decision and order from the bar," McCutcheon says. You'll also want your cocktail to be drinkable. While you might love a stronger cocktail, not everyone will; work with your bartender to come up with a suitable recipe for the majority of guests.


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