Signature Cocktails: 8 Simple Big-Hit Cocktails

There are several reasons why Signature Cocktails are an excellent idea to serve at your wedding: (1) It gives the newlyweds a chance to offer something fun and exciting to their guests that they normally wouldn’t try, (2) a short list of pre-determined cocktails will help speed up the ordering process and reduce the possibility of a growing line – especially for larger receptions and during the “rush times” immediately after the ceremony or before the drink-in-hand toast, (3) buying the ingredients for two cocktails is a whole lot cheaper than buying all of the spirits, mixers, garnishes, and glassware types for a full bar, and (4) hitting the town or working on your at-home bartending is a great pre-wedding date night to try out new cocktails – and gives you both a break from the stress of planning your wedding.

When brainstorming ideas, we wanted to put together a list that would be versatile for a variety guest preferences, easy to make for any skill level, used budget-friendly ingredients, while still being a tasty and balanced cocktail. We’ve put together a short list of 8 of our favorite cocktails that are determined to be a hit with your guests – some are our personal originals that you’re more than welcome to steal, and some are time-tested simple classics.

Not serving liquor? Don’t worry, we’ve added a few beer and champagne cocktails too!

1. Caipirinha – a cocktail rapidly growing in popularity in the United States, it is Brazil’s national drink, and a perfect cocktail for anyone who loves a well-made daiquiri, margarita, mojito, or any other refreshingly semi-tart drink. Although growing in popularity stateside, it is definitely a cocktail that is under-the-radar for many. Made with cachaça (a slightly smokey sugarcane spirit similar to rum), fresh lime, and sugar. Simple and easy – and definitely one of our favorites. Stick with the classic recipe, or experiment with many of the different riffs.
– via Esquire

2. New York Sour – not only is this a beautiful cocktail, but it also is a perfect twist on the not-very-original whiskey sour. A perfect combo of a fruit-forward red wine, the citrus tart, sweetness of simple syrup, and everything we love about a good bourbon or rye whiskey. Plus, it’ll probably help use up the bottles of red wine you may have over-bought for your outdoor, summer wedding. A big hit with any whiskey lover and a versatile drink for any type of weather or time of day.
– via Wine Enthusiast


3. The Genesis – this is one of our absolute favorites, and also one of our original cocktails. We love this cocktail because it is so easy to drink and easy to make. A rosemary-lemon simple syrup can either be the star with the neutral-flavor of vodka, or a perfect pair with a good gin or even whiskey. Very simple to make, while still holding a level of complexity. Pre-make the simple syrup with the included recipe or purchase any of our pre-batched syrups HERE if using our bartending services, or are local to the Pacific Northwest. By far, one of our most popular cocktails that we serve on a regular basis. Plus, if you have any non-drinkers or children, this also makes a delicious mocktail and gives them a fun option to feel included.
– via Kitsap Bartending Services / The Bustender


4. Grapefruit Shandy – a twist on the classic beer cocktail. This is a perfect way to add some variety to your menu, especially if you’d prefer not to serve liquor at your event. It’s almost too easy, but this recipe bumps it up a notch with fresh grapefruit, your favorite IPA (bonus points for a citrusy IPA), lemon-lime soda, and a couple drops of Bitterman’s Hopped Grapefruit Bitters. Although you can stick with the classic lager and Sprite 50/50 mix, we like this combination best. It is also fairly low in ABV (alcohol by volume), so it is a perfect option for a long-haul day or for guests who want to partake without going overboard. Not an IPA fan? Try it with your favorite wheat beer (hefeweizen or belgian white).
– via Kegworks


5. Cuba LibreOK, we get it. A rum and coke garnished with a lime is far from creative – especially if you have Tom Cruise tending bar, but it is still a classic for a reason – it’s delicious and easy! However, if you put a spin on it, by pouring rum directly into a miniature glass Coca-Cola bottle it definitely makes for a fun and whimsical presentation. Simply open an ice-cold bottle, top with your favorite rum, and garnish with a lime wedge and you have one of the most picture-worthy cocktail line-up we’ve seen. When we saw this idea after a longer-than-we-will-admit Pinterest binge, we knew it just had to be shared. If you’d like, switch it up with your favorite whiskey! Either way, this will only work and be cute with one of the miniature glass bottles, and not one of your run-of-the-mill plastic bottles. The mini cans will also work in a pinch. Find the bottles online HERE.
– via Pinterest


6. The Nor’easter – although this is technically a classic fall-season drink, we think it is perfect all year long. It is one of our go-to’s when suggesting a drink that will be popular with a large variety of drinkers – even the people who aren’t typically in love with whiskey (especially rye whiskey). Although you can’t cheap out and go with the fake “pancake” maple syrup, you don’t need a whole lot, so you won’t need to buy much. Costco is a great resource and their in-house brand of real maple syrup is a perfect, inexpensive option. Add some rye whiskey, ginger beer, fresh lime juice, and a dash of maple syrup and you have one of the most popular drinks we serve. Watching guests’ reaction of their first skeptical sip is one of our favorite things to do – the look of “Oh great, this guy is trying to punk me” to slowly lifting it to their lips, and the look of wide-eyed shock and smile when they realize a hidden camera isn’t about to pop out from the corner will never get old to us.
– via Kitsap Bartending Services / The Bustender

7. Lavendar-Vanilla Champagne Cocktail – another shameless plug for our flavored syrups that you can order through us – or if you’d like to make your own, there are plenty of great lavendar-vanilla simple syrup recipes that you can pre-make and bottle to give an added dimension to a simple bubbly offering. We like to use prosecco or cava as a typically-less-expensive option to champagne but any will work perfectly. Simply add 1 ounce of the flavored syrup to any flute and top with your favorite bubbly and garnish with a twist of lemon. NOTE: If you choose to make the syrup on your own, we suggest doubling the lavendar and vanilla to what we see in most recipes to give it a more condensed taste without taking up space in the glass – which means more champagne – and also add the peel of a lemon to give it a citrus kick.

This is a great option for a fun toast option or a signature cocktail if you are not offering liquor. However, if you’d like to add an extra kick, add up to an ounce of a floral gin like The Botanist. Another great option for non-drinkers by creating a lavendar-vanilla fizz by adding club soda for the bubbles.
– via Kitsap Bartending Services / The Bustender


8. Pear and Mango Collins – admittedly, pear is one of our favorites and we can’t get enough of it – so we try to find as many ways to incorporate it into a lot of our cocktails, whether it be pear vodka or pear brandy – and this is one that is a great option for a warm, summer wedding. If you don’t have mango puree handy, or don’t care for it, add a little orange or pineapple juice with a splash of apple to give it a sweet and refreshing twist.
– via Absolut

Do you have another suggestion for a Signature Cocktail? Let us know because we’d love to try it!

Kitsap Bartending Services

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