By Ailsa von Dobeneck
Celebrate your special day with a seasonally inspired libation! Go beyond the signature cocktail and offer a festive drink idea that reflects the time of year, marked with a clever presentation. Let unique garnishes and unusual flavors give updated taste options to old favorites. Catering experts share their ideas for taking beverage offerings on a seasonal journey for every time of year.
~Mint Juleps make a racy cocktail in silver cups served in metal or plastic "Julep" cups.
Wedding day receptions around "Derby Time" make this the perfect themed cocktail.
~Spring's sweet breezes create a magical mood for champagne bliss. Try a Kir Royale- a raspberry and champagne cocktail- as a festive option for your toasts. Prosecco provides a more cost-effective and delicious alternative.
~For a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, Dina Taylor of Cuisine & Company suggests hydrating guests with varieties of agua fresca. These flavored waters include everything from rejuvenating mint and cucumber, to a complete selection of pureed fresh fruits. Decorative jars and jugs create a colorful water-bar spread with floating garnishes added.
~Signature drinks still rule. A spring specialty hit created by a recent Cuisine & Company bride was a cucumber and basil margarita with basil-infused simple syrup, Patron Silver tequila and fresh lemon juice. The color, taste and look made it a hit!
~Some love it icy cold. To serve spiked drinks, offer it from a thematice Ice Luge. Andrea Latham of Ice Art Inc. has couples pick a favorite design, then carve it into a masterpiece! Visually fun, it lessens beverage traffic and ensures that no one is without a glass. Serve in mason jars with fresh garnish and striped straws set at the bottom of the slide.
~Blast guests with snow cone cocktails! Shaved ice served in glasses or paper cones with flavored syrup options for little ones; or alcohol elixirs for adults; keeps every one cool and refreshed. Line up colorful choices for a festive visual and let everyone mix and match as they choose.
~Grooms return to their old favorites, offering preferred beers, according to Dina Taylor. Make an "I Do Brew" bar with a variety of beers poured in pilsner glasses. Pair with a Snack Bar complete with homemade pretzels brushed with butter and sea salt; and spicy nuts.
~Revive a summertime classic at the end of the evening: Ice Cream Float Bars. Use soda mainstays like Dr. Pepper, Dr. Brown and Coke poured in tall glasses topped with scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, long spoons and stripped straws.
The harvest hues of fall provide an unparalleled beverage color scheme. Cathy Carter of East Beach Catering loves the idea of warming hearts with a toasty mulled cider bar complete with cinnamon sticks for swirling.
For a seasonal treat, she suggests an apple ginger martini with vodka and homemade garnishes. Twists of apple peel, candied ginger, and gold flake edge liven up the glass, giving guests an autumn feel.
Winter weddings are the perfect opportunity for warm drinks. An authentic favorite is mulled wine with cloves and cinnamon. A traditional Southern alternative is the hot bourbon toddy.
Dina Taylor also recommends a cozy favorite: warm baked cookies resting on shot glasses of fresh milk. Children at your celebration will squeal with joy; and adults will savor this adorable late night snack. Give it a night cap buzz with a shot of Irish Cream.
For a winter night cap to remember, Cathy Carter suggests a rich hot cocoa bar. Top your chocolate bliss with piles of shaved dark chocolate, homemade marshmallows and flavored whipped cream. After this decadent treat, departing guests will have no problem braving the cold.