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Signature Summer Cocktails

We put this as a DIY and a Top 5 pick, because we simply couldn't get over the greatness of what our bartender has been working on for you! In this post, we are going to show you how to build your own signature cocktail and our Top 5 recipes for the our favorite summer blends!

Summer weddings are warm occasions, so we bypassed the heavier liquors to suggest making your custom drinks out of vodka to avoid the thicker consistency that other alcohols typically portray. Still, for speeches and toasts, we wanted something a little more traditional and decided to make two options that utilized Champagne as their alcohol of choice.

The bar at the reception can be one of the most expensive things for a wedding. An open bar typically includes a wide variety of alcohols so guests can request their poison and the bartender has the necessary ingredients to meet each request. This need for such a wide variety can see bride and grooms dipping deep into their pocketbooks to ensure they have something for everyone. Other bar options include a cash bar, which requires guests to buy their own drinks rather than having that expense fall on you, or you could skip the bar altogether. If though, you want a bar, just not all the expense and headache of multiple liquors and mixers, we suggest offering just a few options as your "Signature Cocktails."

We think signature cocktails are a super cute way to go, providing the bride and groom with something else to customize for the wedding. We recommend that you select one or two liquors and build your drinks around that base. This will allow the person paying for this feature a lot less headache, because they will be able to buy in bulk and will only have to worry about the one kind of alcohol.

For our "Signature Summer Cocktails," we worked to create light fruity drinks that are refreshing and delicious. Doing so allowed us to steer away from options that might have been too heavy for the heat and humidity of Virginia summers. Trust me, your guests will thank you for not picking whiskey or bourbon as your base during an outdoor reception!

Top 5 Signature Summer Cocktails and How to Do-It-Yourself:

5. Spiked Lemonade

-2 oz Vodka
-1 oz Lemon Simple Syrup
-1/2 oz Lemon Juice
-Seltzer Water (to top)
-Lemon Slice (for garnish)

Steps: Place ice in an 8 oz glass first. Put vodka, lemon simple syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker and shake well before pouring over the ice. Add seltzer water to top and a lemon slice for garnish. Sip and enjoy!

Pros: Very light and refreshing, this drink is neither too tart nor too sweet and the lemon is more of a light flavor than the heavy overwhelming one you can get from powdered mixes.

Cons: We placed this as #5, not out of a dislike for the drink at all, but rather because we loved the others so much more. Still, a possible con could be a need for a stronger lemon flavor if you love lemons and lemonade or a con could be the lemon flavor in general if you are someone who doesn't enjoy a strong lemon presence to food and drinks.

4. Traditional Bellini

-1 oz Peach Puree
-Champagne (to top)
-Peach Wedge(for garnish)

Steps: Put the peach puree in the bottom of the champagne flute first. Slowly pour the champagne over the puree-we recommend doing this over a sink as the champagne will most like bubble and froth over the edge of the glass. Very gently stir the two together to try to incorporate the puree into the champagne and then garnish with a peach wedge. Happy bubbly!

Pros: The peach mixed with the light bubbles of the champagne are a wonderful treat to any occasion. We think this is perfect for toasting and will definitely provide your guests with that extra feeling of elegance and class. Also, we used Prosecco, a slightly less expensive sparkling wine for our champagne and loved it just as much.
Cons: The thicker consistency of the peach puree doesn't mix too well with the champagne and we found the melding of the flavors didn't really occur until we reached the second half of the glass.

3. Raspberry Bellini

-1 oz Peach Puree
-Splash of Raspberry Syrup
-Champagne (to top)
-Peach Wedge & Whole Raspberry (for garnish)

Steps: Just like the Traditional Bellini, put the peach puree in the bottom of the champagne flute first. Slowly pour the champagne over the puree-we recommend doing this over a sink as the champagne will most like bubble and froth over the edge of the glass. Add the splash of raspberry syrup, a little goes a long way. Very gently stir the drink to try to incorporate the puree into the champagne and then drop in a peach wedge and whole raspberry.
Pros: This is a little sweeter than the Traditional Bellini and the simple addition of the raspberry syrup amps up the flavor and makes us love it more. This is still perfect for toasting to the bride and groom and the fruitiness mixed with the bubbles is a light and fun way to sip the summer.
Cons: If you're not the biggest fan Champagne and the bubbles that go with it, this may not be the signature drink for you.

2. Blackberry Fizz

-2 oz Vodka
-Muddled blackberries
-1 oz Raspberry Syrup
-Seltzer Water (to top)
-Blackberry and Crushed Mint Leaf (garnish)

Steps: Muddle or crush the blackberries just enough to release their juices and create a loose paste-like texture. Place the ice in an 8 oz glass. Put vodka, blackberries, and raspberry syrup in a shaker and shake well, then pour over the ice. Garnish with a crushed mint leaf and whole blackberry and savor!
Pros: This drink is refreshing and still has the fizz of the previous two. We love the light touch of mint from the crushed mint leaf, because it brings an extra pop of freshness to the flavor.
Cons: Some people may find the seeds from the blackberries to be unpleasant while sipping on the cocktail. We recommend serving the drink with a straw to help to avoid any of these extra bits floating around.

1. Raspberry Lemonade

-2 oz Vodka
-1 oz Lemon Juice
-1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
-Raspberry & Lemon Slice (garnish)

Steps: Place ice in a 8 oz glass. Pour vodka, lemon juice, and raspberry syrup in shaker and shake until mixed well. Pour this mixture over the ice and toss in a whole raspberry and a lemon slice for garnish. Mmm mmm good!
Pros: Definitely one of our favorites! The flavors in this drink are so crisp and just sweet enough to make the mixture taste like there's no alcohol in it. This is just a little bit sweeter than the #2 pick, so if your taste buds enjoy a little more sugar, this will definitely be your drink!
Cons: What cons? This drink is just sweet enough and has so much great flavor, we couldn't find a con!

Cutesy signs announcing the drinks names or frames holding your stories and the significance of the drinks are two super cute ways to display to guests what the beverages are and why you've chosen them. You can also name the drinks by less generic ones than what we came up with, such as "His & Hers," "Something Blue," "Blushing Bride," or "Sunset Celebration." Also, have paper straws available for Southern Chic or Burlap & Lace themed weddings, they fit perfectly with mason jar glasses and the classic country look.

For all of the drinks above, we used fresh homemade simple syrups. The lemon simple syrup was made using only the lemon rinds in order to provide the drink with a stronger flavor without all the extra moisture of the juice, which was instead used in the mixes. The raspberry syrup was made with whole raspberries that we later strained out to make the sweet and smooth finished product. Contrarily, the peach puree was made from slightly sweetened peaches that were heated and reduced to pulp, which was then pureed into a smooth jam-like consistency. We recommend always using fresh juices and simple syrups made from real in-season fruit. We feel that the fresher your ingredients, the better the taste will be, because the juices and syrups are less processed and will leave less of a coating on your tongue. If you don't want to worry about making your own syrups or juicing the fruit yourself, check with your caterer about ordering what you need from them and just have them put it at the bar during set up.

If you decide to go with one or more of these drinks for your wedding, we recommend having your bartender do a run through so both of you are comfortable with the expectations and results.

We hope you enjoyed these "Signature Summer Cocktails" and that you'll check back in a few months when we bring you our Fall version. Until then, happy mixing!

By Katie

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