Cuisine & Cocktails: Sophisticated Sipping

The only words as important as “I do” at a wedding celebration are “the bar is open.”
 In a city where cocktail culture reigns supreme, a celebratory reception is a golden opportunity for  couples to showcase their creative spirits. Here, a few tips on how to give your libation-loving friends and family an especially memorable cocktail experience.

Savory Cocktails

An emphasis on sweet sips can sometimes be a touch too much for a party going on into the wee hours. For a fun twist, Quinn Richard, owner of Cocktail+Creative, suggests adding a savory element to your lineup. “For people who are more adventurous and want to wow their guests, we’re suggesting a lot of classic cocktails with a savory twist.” Richard notes the popularity of ideas like smoked rosemary Old Fashioneds and apple brandy milk punch. “They’re just a little different and an interesting way to go as a play on the classic cocktail. It takes the cocktail service into a more modern direction.”

Edible Flowers and Herbs

While most cocktails already offer visual appeal, Richard remarks that adding an edible flower provides an additional artistic component. “Instead of preserving the flower in the ice, we like to add it to the actual cocktail,” said Richard. “There are particular flowers that have a hint of spice or even a chocolate taste that can really kick up the palate profile.” Recalling a recent creation of tarragon-infused Limoncello, Richard believes that additions like petals and herbs have crowd appeal because of the organic nature of the ingredients. “Not only do these little touches enhance the flavor, they give you the beauty you’re looking for and make each sip an experience.”

Cocktail Customization

Couples are also coming up with creative ways to add their personalized stamp to the festivities.
Tony Abadie, General Manager for QED Hospitality at the Pontchartrain Hotel, has seen this done in a number of ways. “Drinks with frothy tops provide great opportunity for personalization,” said Abadie. “Using a stencil and a spray bottle of bitters, you can decorate the drink itself with a custom design. Couples can use their monogram, interlocking rings, or just about any design to fit the glass.”

Meagan Cook, Director of Catering & Conference Services at the Windsor Court Hotel, has seen couples take it even further, adding their logo to the actual cocktail garnish. “One fun thing we have done for a few receptions is bring in custom printed fruit garnishes,” said Cook. “We are able to get a variety of citrus with monograms, sayings and wedding hashtags printed on them, so that when a guest is served their drink, their lime wedge sits on the edge of the cocktail with whatever fun logo the couple has selected. The photo opportunities are really a blast with those.”

The Last Drop

Instead of last call, the bride and groom are also ending the evening on fun notes for their departure drinks and go cups. “One of our favorite things to introduce at a reception is our roaming cordial cart,” said Cook. “Equipped with cordials like Grand Marnier, Baileys, Sambuca, Chambord, rare whiskey, scotch, among others, the cart is sent around the room to guests in need of refreshment.”

Finally, to truly end the night with a bang, Cook suggests a classic flambé presentation. “Café Brulot is always popular. And a show-stopper.”


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