Cocktail Color Story

Creating a sip experience to please ‘palettes’



Providing your booze-free partygoers something hip to sip.

Those who choose not to imbibe can still have a mocktail experience that looks, tastes and feels celebratory. Alex Vines, mixologist for Bonfire Events + Catering, suggests going all in on the aesthetic. “Because the alcoholic component is absent, you should have as much fun as possible with t shese drinks; get creative with different color combinations and go overboard with garnishes,” said Vines, giving examples like club soda with a flavored syrup in a wine goblet topped with cucumber, berries and mint leaves. “The keys to a good mocktail are taste and presentation. If it doesn’t taste good, then what’s the point?” 

Selecting signature wedding colors is Nuptials 101. But considering a color story that extends all the way from your peonies to your Pimm’s Cups takes your festivities to an exciting next level. When planning your bar selection, creating custom cocktails or considering sips that correlate to a color theme is sure to be a hue hit with your guests.  

Quinn Richard, owner of Cocktail + Creative, sees a color-forward cocktail approach as a way to elevate the guest experience. “You’re creating a sensory experience that will make your wedding different from anyone else’s,” said Richard, who suggests having a shared conversation with your florist and caterer to achieve the best overall look. “The nuance of the drink color palette and the flowers and the menu all coming together is the beautiful part.” 

He reminds that a colorful cocktail won’t get the reaction you want if it doesn’t have flavor appeal. “Your focus is on color, yes, but you’ll want to have a unique flavor profile so your guests can experience something completely original at the same time.”

Richard suggests fresh fruit juices for a splash of color and inventive ideas like an orange carrot Ramos Gin Fizz, green matcha margarita or a crimson beet-infused Manhattan. “That’s where the fun comes in. You start with a creative and bold idea and then wow the guests with the flavor.”

Braithe Tidwell, wine and beverage director at Brennan’s, encourages you to play on color and tonal themes while incorporating New Orleans classics. “We find that local cocktails are a great way to spark conversation amongst guests,” said Tidwell, suggesting a darker Old Fashioned or richer Sazerac for winter and a light, bright French 75 for spring. “Anytime you can tie in local, seasonal, cultural or colorful concepts into all the parts of your event you create a really memorable experience and share a true sense of place.”

Sarah Hall, president of Joel Catering & Special Events, contends that you don’t have to break the bank to achieve a coordinated aesthetic with your beverage service. 

 “If you can’t go all out with customized cocktails, you could do something simple like an eye-catching bar cart to play up the visual energy,” said Hall, who provides additional ideas like galvanized bins filled with mini cans of champagne or wine, as well as bottles of local beer with labels to match your color theme.  

She also suggests larger format concepts displayed in glass beverage dispensers atop the bar for impact, like a rosé sangria with fresh fruit surrounded by floral accents and greenery. “A drink doesn’t have to be for every single one of your guests and a pretty drink in a pretty color with simple styling isn’t going to break your budget.”

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