The drinks you choose for your event are a huge opportunity to tell guests a story about the event itself.
They are a signal to the people drinking them of the tone you seek to set for the event. They can incorporate an event's theme in terms of flavor, color, and presentation. Just as one wouldn't expect to eat barbecue ribs at a black tie dinner, one expects certain styles and quality of drinks according to the scale and tone of a celebration.
Where you really have the opportunity to go deeper and allow your guests to engage with your menu, is when you make a drink personal to you, your company, or the people you are gathering within celebration. Anthropologically speaking, food and drink are far more important to humans than we tend to notice or give credit. But trust us, we see it every day.
Invite your guests to engage with you and learn about you, and you will create a kind of magic intimacy around your celebration. With a little added attention to detail, you can surprise and delight your guests.
Ideas for specialty wedding drinks-
The drink you ordered on your first date.
The cocktail he made you for an anniversary dinner.
The favorite drink of “XYZ” beloved family member, in their memory.
The favorite drink of your favorite TV character.
The drink you always gravitate towards on bar menus, with a seasonal or themed twist of flavor. Example- love Taco Tuesdays? Feature a blackberry sage margarita on the menu for your navy and green color palette wedding .
A drink with a strong connection to the setting, such as a drink made with honey produced by bees from hives on the property of the venue of the event.
A drink whose name references a favorite song lyric or other pop culture reference- Example- its an inside joke that your guilty pleasure favorite song is “If you like Pina Coladas…” so you feature them on your bar menu.
Specializing Your Drink Menu:
Do nothing but change the name of a classic cocktail on your bar menu to something personal, and it will create new memories for your guests around the drink being served, and therefore, create a memorable event in their lives. Name cocktails after your dog, your favorite musicians, your hometowns, etc.
Set up a “garden to glass” drink station with a variety of fruit, herbs, and edible flowers for guests to DIY their own drink to their preferences. Bonus points if they first wander the garden to gather these goods themselves!
Re-flavoring a classic cocktail to incorporate a personal or local flavor is another way to make a lasting impression. Work with our mixologists or your local company to provide a perfectly custom drink to your event.
Have fun with presentation as appropriate to an event's theme, such as adding botanical garnishes at a garden party or adding brightly colored, whimsical and edible fruit stir sticks at a modern, artistic affair. Go beyond the toothpick, the plastic stir stick, the citrus twist. Garnishes are a bold statement and the rim of your glass is prime real estate to tell your event story.
Personalize beer mugs, stir sticks, or coozies with a crest, logo, the event schedule, or an event hashtag you want to spread.
Every element of an event is an opportunity to reinforce theme and create a sense of place.
Whether it is a drink that defines each of you culturally (Caribbean flavors or Indian chai in your cocktail), geographically (southern sweet tea), or playfully (Don's Draper Old Fashioned), guests will appreciate this connection. No where is this more true than in food and drinks, because taste is one of most powerfully imaginative senses. Taste can take us back in time to our best memories, create powerful associations, lift our moods, and wrap us up in a moment so completely that we pause, just to enjoy it and let it linger on our tongues.
The best events are ones that remove us from our everyday lives and transport us into something new- a place that is not fixed, is not able to be visited again. but is created as a collective and hinges on each and every attendee “buying in” to the experience you’re delivering to them. And it can simply begin with a drink.
Photos below were taken by Jennifer Tai of Jenn Tai photography, in cooperation with Carnation Farm & Gardens.