Signature cocktails that are creative and bold are all the rage at wedding receptions these days, so we spoke to Jesse Sahlin, Beverage Director for JOEY Restaurants, for the latest cocktail trends and serving tips to make your wedding reception the toast of the town!
“Previous years have been all about the intricate (sometimes complex) drink recipes. The focus was on crafted drinks, which were often a take on classic cocktail recipes. Whiskey and darker spirits were on the rise with growing popularity of cocktail-centric, speakeasy-style bars across the country. Presentation was another big focus with many cocktails being served in mason jars and other rustic-styled glassware.
This summer, embrace the brilliance of simplicity and quality. The difference between “WOW!” and “not too bad” is all in the quality of ingredients as opposed to the complexity. This is not to suggest you should go spend your beverage funds on the higher-priced spirits; the most important ingredients are the types of juices and fruits you are mixing with the spirits. This shift will work well for receptions, especially larger parties, as the flavour and integrity of drinks will remain exceptional without taking too much time to create.
Cocktails have moved away from complexity and are focusing on approachability – simple recipes where the quality of the ingredients makes all the difference. This means everyone can be served in a timely manner and your guests will not be left parched in the heat of the summer evening.
Here are some cocktail trends and tips to remember:
The flavours and colours of fresh fruits and fruit juices add brilliance to standard drinks: Additionally, the colour of the fruit adds a vibrant pop to any reception. A nice touch is to incorporate your wedding colours into a summer cocktail whether it’s the ruby red of strawberries, sunset pink of grapefruits or vibrant green of fresh limes.
Similar to classic cocktails in the past few years, the popularity of punch is now on the rise: A punch is an excellent way to incorporate a social station at a reception and it keeps service simple. Instead of having your guests order from a bar, get them socializing around a cocktail station. They work well with fresh fruits and are bright and light for a summer wedding. These can be served in a variety of glassware that is still playful. We could see a new trend arise out of the mason jar. People are looking for something that is still unique and we are starting to see glass milk bottles used for party drinks. A cute glass adds a great visual and a memorable touch to your reception.
Simplicity will be key to a great cocktail reception this summer: The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is worry if your guests are enjoying themselves and being served promptly. A simple cocktail with quality ingredients lets the flavours shine through and will add one more element that makes your special day all the more memorable.”