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BY SHARON NAYLOR
The drinks served at weddings have come a long way since the days of beer, wine and classic mixed drinks.
Contonna Peterson, COO of Bartending Unlimited, says: "Right now, the big trend is for signature fruity drinks. We're combining flavors such as a peach nectar and cranberry Bellini, as just one example of the blends of flavors for trendy new drinks."
Another example of Peterson's creations is fresh kiwi juice, Sprite and a hint of apple Pucker with a star-shaped kiwi perched on the edge of the glass. She says that she's using fresh fruits and fresh fruit nectars for the best taste.
Mixologists are creating delectable blends of fruity flavors, which guests love because they are taste combinations they don't experience at other events or make for themselves.
Drink creation is a new artistry, and Peterson says the show of bartenders mixing and shaking these drinks and pouring them out with a flourish makes the drink experience even more spectacular. "Brides and grooms who don't want to do a full bar are choosing to serve a selection of signature drinks," Peterson says, a fact that ties into today's budget concerns for brides and grooms.
A full open bar with unlimited top-shelf liquors can be very expensive. When you design a collection of fruity, bright signature drinks in addition to classic beer and wine, it can look as if you've spent a lot but, in reality, you may have saved money.
These trendy cocktails are most prevalent in bright colors, though paler drinks also may be on the menu. Peterson says many couples are choosing vibrantly colored cocktails to match or coordinate with the color scheme of their wedding.
Peterson advises having drinks made to order. Here's why:
Part of the excitement for guests is seeing the bartenders do the preparing in exciting steps. Muddling and shaking are two of them. Guests get to see the lovely swirl of colors in their glasses as the drink is created.
Guests prefer a fresh drink made just for them. It's the realm of a dive bar to have cocktails premade in a big jug and poured out into a glass.
Made-to-order drinks simply taste best, because premade drinks become diluted.
It's a big trend for brides and grooms to give their signature drinks a personalized name, such as Phoebe's peach and cranberry Bellini, but you can simply list the drinks by their ingredients.
Couples enjoy the fun of giving their drinks names personalized to their love story or favorite things, such as a cocktail named after their alma mater.
Beers and flavorful microbrewed beers--especially microbrews tailored to the season of the wedding, such as a pumpkin beer--are also top trends in wedding drink lists.
Champagne may be offered for the entirety of the event, if that suits your budget, or you might choose to offer a fine Champagne to guests only upon their arrival or for the toast during the reception.