Specialty Cocktails: Crafting Your Signature Drink
A guide to choosing the perfect signature cocktails for your next event
Specialty cocktails create a memorable experience for your guests. Serving boring drinks at a party is a thing of the past, get on board with the cocktail renaissance and add a signature beverage (or two) to your bar menu!
We understand developing specialty cocktails can be an overwhelming task, which is why we came up with this guide to help you choose the perfect signature drinks for your event. Follow these tips to discover recipes that will fit your budget, bar space, and guest preferences.
1: Relax and hire a signature cocktail consultant
Much like an event planner, a signature cocktail consultant exists to make your life much easier. For a reasonable rate you can hire a professional mixologist to take care of the little details that go into creating signature cocktails.
Your consultant takes care of developing your menu, perfect garnishes, training bar staff, choosing the right glassware, signage, permit limitations, bar speed and efficiency, plus many more details that often get overlooked until its too late. Plus, consultants know how to save time and money while working with your budget. The end result is personalized cocktails that your guests will love and you can afford!
Garden to Glass offers signature cocktail consultation for every size event. Even if you hire an outside bar staff, we work with your team to develop the perfect drink menu. We specialize in seasonal farm to table signature drinks influenced by pre-prohibition American cocktail recipes. Contact us for more information and our flexible pricing options.
2: What is your bar setup?
Knowing your bar setup is the critical piece to understanding the type of cocktails that will work best for your event. You do not want complicated specialty cocktails that take a lot of time if you have a large group. Our rule is, keep your menu simple for groups over 50 guests.
The best bars for elaborate specialty drinks are those with ample bar space, multiple bartenders, and bar backs or waitstaff to assist during busy rushes. If you are working with a limited bar, then simplify your menu with a batched cocktail that can be prepared ahead of time.
Remember, the more complicated the recipe, the more time it will take to execute. Drinks that are considered easy to make have spirit plus 1-2 mixers and can be quickly built in a glass. A rule of thumb, easy drinks should take no more than 10 seconds each to prepare. Don’t make your guests spend too much time waiting at the bar!
3: Choosing signature drinks for weddings and events
The best signature cocktails are easy to serve crowdpleasers. Keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own personal flair.
We like to start our selection process with a quick survey. Ask a few of your guests what their favorite spirit is. If most of your guests say bourbon, then make sure one of your signature drinks is bourbon based. This helps narrow down your selection process while sticking with a recipe that is sure to please.
Put a personal spin on a classic drink by adding one or two new ingredients to it. Try substituting different juices, syrups, bitters or spirits, or ask Garden to Glass to help you find a fun and easy way to add some flavor and personality to your go-to beverage.
4: Stick to your theme
Signature cocktails are a fun way to embellish upon your theme and give your guests something fun. We like to start with the basics. What are you celebrating, and what is the theme of your event? You can mix your theme into the name of your signature cocktail, or use it as inspiration. For example, a beach outdoor wedding would be great with a cocktail that features fresh, seasonal fruit juice and and a vibrant fresh herb garnish. Think of something refreshing and light that your guests can enjoy on a warm summer day.
Then mix in your party or wedding’s colors. Fresh fruit juices and syrups are a simple way to ensure your cocktail matches your event’s color wheel.
5: Don’t forget about garnishes & glassware
Make your signature drinks stand out with fun garnishes and exciting glassware. Serving beautiful drinks from plastic cups is boring, step it up and make those beverages pop in pictures. Customizable glassware is a fun way to give your guests a gift they can use throughout the year. Add your logo, event details or a clever quote for a conversation starting addition to your beverage service.
Bring a new level of beauty to your drink with fabulous garnishes. Use fresh herbs and fresh fruit to accentuate the aromatics and flavors of your signature beverages. The easiest garnishes are sprigs of fresh herbs or slices of fresh fruit. Ask your bar staff to prep garnishes before your event by washing fruit and herbs, and slicing fruit into easy to serve wedges or wheels.
6: Signature cocktail names and signage
Great drinks deserve fun names, but don’t make things too complicated! Stick with easy to pronounce names that compliment your party’s theme. Also, be sure to include a beverage description with all ingredients listed on your bar menu. We recommend offering a big menu so guests can choose what they want while they wait in line. This will cut down on ordering time and keep things easy for your bar staff.
Give your guests contracting menu options. We like the “his” and “hers” options. This way your guests can get to know their hosts through their favorite drinks. But, make sure your signature drinks are different. If one is sweet and fruity, then the other drink should be strong and spirit forward.
Don’t forget to add your event hashtags or social media follow to your menus. If your menu is attractive and you serve great drinks, people will take pictures of your menu, and many of them share those shots on social media.
7: Parting advice
Thank you for checking out our guide to specialty cocktails! We hope you learned a lot and are ready to dive in and create fantastic beverages for your upcoming event. Remember, if you need any help, Garden to Glass is happy to help with everything from simple consultations to full-on event beverage management.
Before we part, we wanted to leave you with a few of our favorite party must-haves below. Good luck and cheers!!