Wednesday, February 23, 2011
One of the easiest ways to personalize an event is with wine and specialty cocktails. A signature drink, a fun garnish, and a custom cocktail napkin are all you need to kick off the evening on a great note. Below are some ideas and suggestions for outfitting your bar for any party. Photo by Thayer Allyson Gowdy.
* If your budget allows, I always prefer to offer a full bar. The less you have to say "no" to your guests the better - after all, they are your guests. On the bar, I like to preselect everything from the hard alcohols to the wines right on down to the juices and sodas being served. I typically like to select a high quality vodka, gin, whiskey and scotch for a basic bar. There are lots of things to add on like tequila, rum, etc. but those aren't necessary. I love to serve what the client likes too if there are specific drinks or beers or wines they love, it is a way to make the event feel more personal and less generic.
* During cocktail hour, I like to offer a food-friendly white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, and a lighter red wine at the bar. Save wines with bigger, bolder profiles for pairing with dinner courses.
* Mix up specialty cocktails to coordinate with the look and feel of the event. Then, create a custom bar menu to frame and place on each bar.
* On a warm day, it is always nice to greet guests with a non-alcoholic beverage before the wedding ceremony. One of my favorite go-to drinks is lavender lemonade with a lavender sprig garnish or Paula LeDuc's famous minted ice tea. So refreshing!
* Have your caterer place only one type of beverage per tray when tray passing during cocktails. Trust me - this makes for a much cleaner visual presentation. And anyone who knows me, knows this is my biggest pet peeve! (Psst - same goes for hors d'oeuvres!)
* I'm obsessed with this next tip - Just Married wine from the incredible Swanson Vineyards is the perfect wine for your wedding dinner or bar. The wine is super delicious, reasonably priced at $25 per bottle and is the ultimate conversation piece. Sure to get your nearest and dearest talking! Rumor has it - a white version is on its way soon!
*Bring in your own celebrity mixologist for your party. A mixologist can really customize the perfect libations for your event. In the SF Bay Area, Rye on the Road makes an amazing addition to any event's cocktail hour.
* Don't forget the little extras! Nice cocktail napkins that are custom printed or even linen hemstitch make a huge difference. Or try a fun straw or stir stick which are festive and add a lot of personality to the drink.