Planning morning or afternoon wedding festivities? Experts say an event that ends before sunset calls for a fresh-as-daybreak drink menu. Here are several ideas to delight your guests in a dazzling daytime setting.
Wyeth Metz, Catering Sales Manager-Wedding Connoisseur at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, suggests starting with a few classics to set the tone for a classic Crescent City affair.
“Brunch time cocktails are ingrained in New Orleans’ culture,” said Metz. “Signature eye openers include the Bloody Mary, champagne mimosa, Bourbon or Brandy Milk Punch, Pimm’s Cup and Sazerac.”
Though Bloody Mary bars are always popular, she suggests also considering alternative DIY bars to surprise partygoers.
“We’ve had some very happy guests enjoy a spiked juice bar featuring gin and vodka bar with fresh-squeezed juices like satsuma, grapefruit, pineapple and lemon.”
“Champagne always feels best in the morning, and fruity champagne cocktails can be a fun alternative choice,” said Daisy Nagy, ambassador and bartender for Salon by Sucré. “I think the French 75 is a perfect drink for anytime of the day, as it features fresh lemon juice, and just a splash of gin or brandy in champagne. Bright effervescence with a bit of a boost to get your day started right.”
From her perspective, Lu Brow, lead bartender at Brennan’s, suggests satsuma mimosas and Sazeracs as successful morning sip suggestions. She also recommends adding fresh garnishes.
“You can help your fresh garnishes to stand out by complementing them with a gorgeous cocktail napkin or cocktail pick,” said Brow. “Keep in mind to use caution with any bright red dark garnish that might easily stain wedding attire. I once saw cocoa dust used to garnish fruit and it went everywhere!”
Brow says it’s wise to have options for attending children and non-drinkers on the invite list, as well.
“It’s important to always offer water, and bottled water with a personalized label or monogram could be very fun,” says Brow. “For children or non-drinkers, or for those needing to cool down from the dance floor, flavored iced tea or mocktails that keep within the theme will always be a hit.”
With conceiving a morning cocktail, Alan Walter, creative director of Loa Bar in the International House Hotel, is a fan of adding prosecco to stonefruit for an alternative Bellini. He also proposes offering tea-infused cocktails and syrups.
“Tea cocktails thrive in a midday setting, especially floral teas like lavender, rose, and chamomile,” said Walter. “They are very friendly with rums and well-suited for formal occasions.”
As New Orleans is known for its “go-cup culture,” Aaron Shaffer of 12 Seasons Catering and Events suggests capitalizing on that city-specific concept and continuing on with the creativity all the way until the guests say their good-byes.
“Destination couples particularly love go-cups,” says Shaffer. “We have done to go alco-balls (spiked snowballs) in the bride’s colors and wedding cake flavor. That would probably make a fun drink bar, too!”