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Signature Cocktails

One of the finer details of planning a wedding is deciding which drinks to serve at the reception. From specialty cocktails to family-friendly punches, wedding day drinks can be used to make the reception as memorable as the ceremony.

Sparkling favorites

Few beverages are as iconic at a wedding as Champagne. Celebratory toasts are often diluted with this sparkling wine, and while a flute filled with bubbly is wonderful, you may want to dress it up a bit.

The key to serving every guest a stunning cocktail such as these is to prep them beforehand. Line up enough Champagne flutes and add the base ingredients to each. When it is time to serve the masses, simply add the sparkling wine and hand each person a glass. This ensures the freshest, bubbliest drink.

There are a few sparkling cocktails that are favorites for weddings. One is the classic Champagne cocktail in which a sugar cube is doused with aromatic bitters, then topped with Champagne. Another is the peach and pomegranate Blushing Bride, while a similar drink, the Bellini — two ounces peach juice or puree topped with Champagne — is also very popular, elegant and easy. Any of these drinks can also be served using a nonalcoholic sparkling wine or cider and using an appropriate substitute for any liquor.

Punch favors

Weddings are the ideal occasion to mix up a fantastic punch. Keep the punch bowl alcohol-free so children and non-drinkers can enjoy the liquid fare of the reception.

Pre-mix your juice blend and store until the reception. Just before the gathering, cut any fruit garnishes, pop ice blocks out of their molds and build your punch, adding the pre-mixed juice blend and finishing with fresh fruit and sparkling sodas.

Theme drinks

Reception drinks can accentuate a wedding theme. A little bit of creativity and an online search can help you find the ideal recipes to suit your needs. Choosing drinks that match your wedding colors — via ingredients or food coloring — adds a splash to reception tables and punch bowls.

Some couples celebrate a local or seasonal flavor, such as apple drinks for fall weddings, tropical fruits for summer affairs or herbal drinks for an intimate garden wedding. Others enjoy sharing an aspect that is a bit more personal with their guests. I worked with one couple who had an affinity for Jameson Irish Whiskey. They not only served cocktails made with it at the reception, but gave each adult a miniature bottle as a gift.

Whatever drinks you choose to serve at your wedding, keep three things in mind: Simple and flavorful, creative options for all, and (most importantly) have fun.

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