A signature cocktail is a great way to personalize an engagement party, bachelorette bash, wedding shower, or wedding—which is why experts suggest a taste test (no argument here!) to find the perfect match. “The goal is to create a drink that’s flavorful and beautiful,” says Paolo Patitucci, lead bartender at The Shore Club in Turks & Caicos. He advises coming up with a unique moniker for your cocktail, to make it a little extra memorable. “I’ve had couples name drinks in honor of their dogs or even after their favorite travel destinations!”
Here, we asked top bartenders and drink specialists for the one cocktail that’s always a hit at weddings. They responded with suggestions ranging from bubbly champagne and gin infusions to colorful jalapeno drinks and unique rum blends. The good news: we’ve included their easy-to-create recipes so you, your partner, family, and friends can road-test these cocktails at home before the big day. Cheers!
“This twist on the classic Aperol spritz makes for a refreshing sip at any wedding because it’s both fizzy, thanks to the sparkling wine, and fresh, compliments of the herbal-flavored green chartreuse and strawberries.
— Joe Pierson, Bartender, Thompson Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Ingredients: 1 oz Vodka, .5 oz Lemon Juice, .25 oz Green Chartreuse, 2 oz Sparkling Wine, 4-6 Strawberries, Thyme How to: Puree the strawberries in a blender and pour over ice in a balloon glass. In a shaker, add the vodka, lemon juice, chartreuse, shake, top with the sparkling wine and garnish with thyme.
The Best Address
“This delicious mix of strawberry and elderflower creates the perfect refreshing cocktail. This is my favorite drink for weddings because, with only three ingredients, it’s easy to prepare and serve.”
— Daniel Ritacco, Director of Food & Beverage, The St. Regis New York, New York City
Ingredients: 2 oz Strawberry Flavored Vodka, 1 oz St Germaine, 4 oz Club Soda, Lemon How to: Pour the vodka and St Germaine into a rocks glass with ice, stir, top with club soda, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Chili Passion Martini
"This smooth cocktail has a unique sweet and savory blend of passionfruit and spice. It’s also eye-catching at a wedding as it’s topped with chili pepper and whole chili flakes.”
— Hakan Balkuvvar, Beverage Manager, Wine Director, and Head Sommelier, The Setai, Miami Beach, Florida
Ingredients: .5 oz. Chili and Lemongrass-Infused Vodka, 2 oz. Passion Fruit Rum, 1 oz. Passion Fruit Puree, 1 oz. Cranberry Juice, .5 oz. Ginger Syrup, Chili Flakes, Chili How to: Mix all the ingredients in a blender with ice, pour into a martini glass and garnish with chili pepper and chili flakes.
Spicy Cucumber Margarita
“The cucumber and honey make this a light and refreshing wedding drink yet it still packs a punch with the pepper-flavored tequila.”
— Michael Taggart, Bartender, Hotel AKA Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts
Ingredients: 2 oz Jalapeño Infused Tequila, 0.5 oz Honey, 0.5 oz Lime Juice, 1 tbsp Chopped Cucumbers, Jalapeno How to: Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker, shake, garnish with a slice of cucumber and jalapeño.
“This refreshing cocktail is made with mezcal and cucumber juice and can be easily transformed into a non-alcoholic offering by simply switching out the mezcal for lapsang souchong tea.”
— Christiaan Rollich, Bar Chef, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, Arizona
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz Mezcal, ½ oz Cucumber Juice, ½ oz Cilantro, Cucumber, Mint, Cumin, and Caraway Seeds How to: Add the mezcal, cucumber juice, and cilantro in a shaker, shake, pour into an old fashioned glass rimmed in cumin and caraway seeds and garnish with a cucumber ribbon and mint.
Blood Orange Margarita
“This refreshing twist on a margarita is always popular with wedding guests, thanks to the subtly sweet and tart blood orange flavor profile. Plus, it’s equally picturesque.”
— Manuel Anguiano, Bartender, San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito, California
Ingredients: 2 oz Blanco Tequila, 1 oz Orange Liqueur, 2 oz Sweet and Sour, ¾ oz Blood Orange Puree, Lime Wedge How to: Combine all the ingredients and some ice in a shaker, shake, pour into a salt and sugar rimmed tumbler glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
“This rum cocktail is savory and green with a whisper of heat thanks to the jalapeno pepper. Bright and acid-driven, it lends itself to the jovial and bubbly nature of a wedding.”
—Adam Witherspoon, Beverage Director, Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ingredients: 2 oz Brazilian Rum, .75 oz Lime Juice, .75 oz Pineapple Juice, .75 Mango Puree, 3 Slices Jalapeno Pepper, Lime How to: Add all the ingredients to a shaker, shake, strain into a lowball glass, and garnish with a lime wedge.
Blackberry Bourbon Smash
“This spirit’s fruity notes marry well with the bourbon so the cocktail isn’t overwhelming. Plus, the pink romantic color entices wedding guests to pull out their phones and take photos!”
—Felicia Smith, Bartender, Hotel Distil, Louisville, Kentucky
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Lime, 1 oz Ginger Simple Syrup, 3 oz Club Soda, Blackberries How to: Place all the ingredients into a shaker, shake, strain into a flute, and top with the club soda and berries.
“The mild yet sweet white rum pairs beautifully with zesty orange and oaky bourbon flavors, making this cocktail a crowd favorite at any wedding.”
— Vinny Conciani, Mixologist, The Dominick, New York City
Ingredients: 1 oz White Rum, 1 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Lime juice, 3 oz Orange Juice, ½ oz Sugar Syrup, ½ oz Grenadine, 2 Dashes Orange bitters, Orange, and Raspberries How to: Pour all the ingredients into a shaker, shake, strain over ice in a tumbler or highball glass and garnish with an orange slice and raspberries.
The Much To-Do
“This four-ingredient cocktail combines the sweet flavors of a margarita and a lemon drop while also showcasing some tart notes, making it a great wedding choice any time of the year.”
— Lydia Rodriguez, Bartender, Kimpton Palladian Hotel in Seattle, Washington
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Tequila, 1 oz Crème de Mûre, .5 oz Agave, .75 oz Lemon How to: Rim a Nick and Nora glass in sugar, then combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Through a strainer, pour contents into a coupe glass and garnish with a flower of your choosing.
“This classic wedding drink puts an elevated spin on the popular gin and tonic cocktail - its zippy citrus lemon flavor adds a refreshing fruitiness to the champagne and gin.”
— Mercedes Cowper, Food & Beverage Manager, Sommelier, InterContinental the Willard, Washington D.C.
Ingredients: 2 oz Champagne, 1 oz Gin, ½ oz Lemon Juice, ½ oz Simple Syrup, Lemon. How to: Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker, add ice, and shake. Double strain into a flute, top with champagne, and garnish with a lemon twist.
“A margarita-style cocktail makes for a great signature drink - this one is the fairest of them all with crisp and refreshing elements like cucumber syrup and lime juice.”
— Chris Amirault, Head Mixologist, The Maybourne Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, California
Ingredients: 1 oz Tequila, 1 oz Empirical Soka, 1 oz Lime Juice, .75 oz Cucumber Syrup, 1 dash Sansho Pepper, Cucumber How to make: Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake, strain over a block of ice and garnish with a cucumber ribbon.
“This colorful cocktail substitutes traditional red sangria with pinot grigio and contains serrano pepper to give it an edge.”
— Peter Smith, Director of Beverage & Food, Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Indian Wells, California
Ingredients: 750 ml Pinot Grigio, 50 ml Agave Nectar, ½ a Serrano Pepper, 250 ml Bourbon, 500 ml White Cranberry Juice, 30 ml Diced Strawberry, 30 ml Diced Pineapple, 30 ml Blueberries, 10 Cilantro Sprigs. How to: Add all the ingredients along with three cups of ice to a carafe, stir, pour into a tall glass and garnish with the cilantro sprigs.
Blood Orange Mule
“Blood orange juice adds just the right amount of sweetness without the extra acidity, providing a refreshing drink. Brides gravitate to this cocktail because of its gorgeous pink color.”
— Liz Ramirez, Beverage Manager, Crossroads Hotel, Kansas City, Kansas
Ingredients: 1 oz Vodka, 1 oz Blood Orange Juice, .5 oz Lime Juice, .5 oz Simple Syrup, Ginger Beer, Mint Sprig How to: Mix all the ingredients in a shaker, pour into a collins glass over ice, top with a dash of ginger beer and garnish with a dehydrated orange slice and lavender sprig.
This espresso cocktail has a smooth taste—slightly sweet but with a salty side due to the caramel—like having a drink, coffee, and dessert all in one. Plus, the deep, rich color looks beautiful in a martini glass.”
— Michaël Martinez, Food and Beverage Manager, Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa, St. Barts
Ingredients: 50 ml Vodka, 50 ml Fresh Espresso, 25 ml Kahlua, 10 ml Salted caramel syrup, Coffee beans, Caramel Crisp How to: Place all the ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake, pour into a martini glass and garnish with coffee beans and caramel crisp.
“There’s no warmer welcome at a wedding than a refreshing, colorful rum drink — guaranteed to get guests in a great mood. Sweet and tangy with a subtle punch, this recipe allows couples to put their own stamp on it, for example, they can switch out the pineapple juice for passion fruit juice or something similar.”
— Donavan Victor, Mixologist, Sandals Royal Bahamian, Nassau Bahamas
Ingredients: ¼ cup Dark Rum, ¼ cup White Rum, ½ cup Grenadine, 1 cup Orange Juice, 1 cup Pineapple Juice, ¼ cup Lime Juice, Dash of Bitters, Orange, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry How to: Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and serve over ice, garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
Spritz Down The Aisle
“This bitter yet sweet classic cocktail is a great option for those looking for more than just a basic glass of prosecco. The refreshing citrus notes make it a perfect choice whether you’re serving it with hors d’oeuvres or a wedding cake.”
— Cassidy Worthington, Bartender, The Barn On The Pemi, Plymouth, New Hampshire
Ingredients: 4 oz Prosecco, 2 oz Aperol, 0.5 oz Soda Water, Orange Slice. How to: Pour the Aperol over ice, followed by the prosecco and splash of soda water, stir, then garnish with the orange slice.
Prickly Pear Margarita
"This cocktail provides an adventurous twist on a margarita by using prickly pear syrup for a fruity finish. Plus, its vibrant reddish hue is always a show stopper at weddings.”
— Juan Ascencio, Mixologist, JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona
Ingredients: 1 oz Tequila, 0.5 oz Triple Sec, 2 oz Sweet and Sour Mix, 0.5 oz Lime Juice, ½ shot Prickly Pear Syrup, 2 tbsp of Tajin, Lime How to: Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker, shake, strain over ice into a salt and Tajin-rimmed rocks glass and garnish with lime.
“This fruity cocktail has both a sweet and tart edge thanks to the clementine, honey, and lemon juice. It’s topped with bubbles, making it the perfect choice for a wedding.”
— Jason Hedges, Director of Beverage, Kimpton Eventi LTH, New York City
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Gin, .75 oz Clementine Juice, .5 oz Honey Syrup, .5 oz Lemon Juice, Sparkling Wine How to: Place ingredients in a shaker, shake, strain into a flute, top with bubbly.
“I love this Caribbean-inspired cocktail because it’s bitter yet sweet, giving it the gluttony taste of candy.”
— Tom Lefevre, Bar Manager, Manapany, St. Barts
Ingredients: 0.6 oz Gin, 0.6 oz Chambord Liquor, 0.6 oz Italicus Liquor, 0.6 oz Strawberry Puree, 0.6 oz Lime Juice, Dried Strawberries How to: Pour all the ingredients into a shaker, shake, double strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with dried strawberries.
All Night Long
"The sweet raspberry demerara and the tangy lemon citrus notes balance the dry gin and champagne making it the perfect celebratory cocktail.”
— Maren Nelson, Lead Bartender, Halcyon, Cherry Creek, Colorado
Ingredients: 1 oz Vodka, .5 oz Lemon Juice, .5 oz Raspberry Demerara Syrup, Champagne. How to: Combine the vodka, demerara syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker, add ice, shake, strain into a flute, and top with champagne.
"Not only is this cocktail refreshing - with its pop of pomegranate and sparkling rose - but its pink color makes for a visually appealing wedding drink."
— James Sibiga, Bartender, Mountain Shadows Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona
Ingredients: 1 oz Vodka, .5 oz Pomegranate Syrup, .5 oz, Lemon Juice, Lemon, Sparkling Rosé How to: Combine the vodka, pomegranate syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice, strain into a flute, top with the sparkling rose and garnish with a mint sprig and lemon twist.
"This upgraded version of the classic Cape Cod still has a bit of tart thanks to the cranberry juice but the addition of ginger ale gives it some wedding bubbles.”
— Richard Serrano, Lead Bartender, Westdrift, Manhattan Beach, California
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Vodka, 3 oz Ginger Ale, 2 oz Cranberry Juice, Lime How to: Fill a highball glass with ice, add a squeeze of lime followed by the vodka and cranberry juice. Top with ginger ale, stir, and garnish with lime.
“This classic gin cocktail packs a punch with just the right amount of champagne. The elegant edible glitter and flowers make it the perfect wedding cocktail.”
— Katie Dandridge, Bartender, The Jefferson, Washington, D.C.
Ingredients: 1 oz Gin, .5 oz, Simple Syrup and Citric Powder (equal mix), 3 oz Dry Champagne, Edible Glitter, and Flowers How to: Pour the gin and simple syrup and citric powder into a shaker with ice, shake, strain into a coupe glass, top with champagne and garnish with edible glitter and flowers.
Elite Old Fashioned
“The sweet demerara syrup balances out the bourbon to create a smooth sip while the golden hue makes it an aesthetically pleasing wedding cocktail.”
— Thomas Finley, bartender, L’Auberge Del Mar, Del Mar, California
Ingredients: 2 oz Bourbon, ¼ oz Demerara Syrup, 2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry, Orange Twist How to: Combine all the ingredients in a shaker, shake, pour into an old fashioned glass over a large cube of ice and garnish with a cherry and orange twist.
“This bourbon cocktail was inspired by a salad—pairing strawberries with basil and ginger—making this drink especially refreshing and flavorful.”
— Badr El Khessassi, Bartender/Mixologist, Nemacolin, Farmington, Pennsylvania
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Bourbon, .25 oz Falernum, .75 oz Lemon Juice, .5 oz Basil Simple Syrup, 2 Strawberries, Lemon How to: In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients and ice, shake, strain over ice in a big rocks glass, garnish with sliced strawberries, a lemon peel and the flower of your choosing.
La Dame Rose
“The sweetness of the berries and honey combine with the sparkling white wine and cranberry juice to create a drink that looks as elegant as it tastes.”
— Jorge Centeno, Chief Spirits Officer, Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois
Ingredients: 2 oz Prosecco, 1.5 oz Non-Alcoholic Dry White Wine, .05 oz Ginger Liqueur, .05 oz Cranberry Juice, 0.5 Lemon Juice, 0.5 Honey, 5 Seasonal Berries, Fresh Mint, Seasonal Flowers How to: In a mixing jar, add the white wine, ginger liqueur, cranberry and lemon juice, berries and two scoops of ice. Stir, pour into a wine glass, top with prosecco, and garnish with a seasonal flower and fresh mint.
Chicory Old Fashioned
"I love to take a classic cocktail and create a modern twist. With this play on an old fashioned, the vanilla in the bourbon and the amaro complement each other, making this drink appealing to both non-bourbon and bourbon drinkers alike.”—Marco Rocabado, Bartender, InterContinental Washington D.C.
— The Wharf, Washington, D.C.
Ingredients: 2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Wine Syrup, ¼ oz Chicory Coffee, ¼ oz Amaro, 5 Dashes of Orange Bitter How to: Combine ingredients in a shaker, shake, pour over a large ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.
“This tropical-inspired cocktail is light and fruity, perfect for a wedding any time of the year.
— Brad Stueber, Bartender, Wailea Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz White Rum, 3 ¼ oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, ¼ oz Pineapple Juice, 1 oz Mango Purée, 1 oz Lime Juice. How to: Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, pour over ice in a hurricane glass and garnish with pineapple and an orchid.
Top of the Mark Old Fashioned
“The versatile taste of the orange and the boldness of the bourbon makes for a perfectly crafted cocktail for wedding guests to enjoy.”
— Phil Amidon, Director of Food & Beverage, InterContinental Mark Hopkins, San Francisco, California
Ingredients: 2 oz Bourbon, ¼ oz Simple Syrup, 3 dashes of Bitters, 1 Orange Slice, 2-3 Luxardo Maraschino Cherries How to: Add the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice, stir, pour into a rocks glass over a large ice cube and garnish with a skewer of cherries and an orange peel.
Grapefruit Basil Martini
“This is a visually stunning cocktail built around freshly picked ingredients like hand-squeezed grapefruit and hand-picked basil leaves, making it a great choice for a wedding.”
— Rob Aspaas, Director of Cocktails, Tommy Bahama
Ingredients: 2 ½ oz Vodka or Gin, 1 ¼ oz Grapefruit Juice, ½ oz Simple Syrup, 2 Basil Leaves How to: Combine all the ingredients and one basil leaf into a shaker with ice, shake, strain into a chilled martini glass over a slice of grapefruit and garnish with the remaining leaf.
Queen of Flowers
“With its beautiful pink hue and edible flowers, this drink is the perfect mix of elegant and tropical. It’s popular among wedding guests because it’s so Instagrammable.”
— Paolo Patitucci, Beverage Manager and Expert Mixolgist, The Shore Club, Turks & Caicos
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz Vodka, ½ oz Italicus Italian Bergamot Liquor, 1 oz Lime Juice, 1 ¾ oz Pink Cranberry Juice, ¾ oz Simple Roses Syrup, 1 Egg White, Edible Dehydrated Rose Petals. How to: Combine all the ingredients in a shaker, shake, strain into a martini coupe glass, and garnish with edible dehydrated rose petals.
“This is a take on the classic Paper Plane cocktail, with its pretty pink color and fruity taste. I love that it isn’t overly sweet thanks to the equal parts of all its ingredients.”
— Kennan Urker, Bartender, Virgin Hotels Dallas, Dallas, Texas
Ingredients: .75 oz Bourbon, .75 oz Amaro Nonino, .75 oz Aperol, .75 oz Lemon Juice, Lemon How to: Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake, strain into a salt-dipped coupe glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
“The crisp, clean taste of tequila along with the invigorating watermelon flavor make for a delicious balance between strong and refreshing, perfect for a wedding.”
— Juan Sanchez, Beverage Director, Alila Marea Beach Resort, Encinitas, California
Ingredients: .5 oz Tequila, .25 oz Aperol, 1 oz Watermelon Juice, .25 oz Lemon Juice, Sparkling Wine, Lemon How to: Add the tequila, Aperol, watermelon and lemon juice into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake, double strain into a champagne flute, top with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.
The Dewberry French 75
“This classic cocktail has been reimagined by replacing the gin with an elevated cognac. The outcome is a drink that is rounder and fuller, perfect for a celebration.”
— Tom Wilmot, Head Bartender, The Dewberry, Charleston, South Carolina
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Cognac, .5 oz Simple Syrup, 3 oz Champagne.5 oz Lemon Juice, Orange How to: Combine the cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice in a shaker, shake, double strain into a champagne flute, top with champagne and garnish with an orange peel.
“This classic cocktail was created in Hollywood in the 1930s and is still a wedding crowd pleaser today. With its grapefruit and honey flavor palette, it’s a smooth introduction to whiskey for those who are sometimes hesitant to try a more spirit-forward cocktail.”
— Connor Gillette, Bar Manager, The Alida, Savannah, Georgia
Ingredients: 1.5 oz Bourbon, 1.5 oz Grapefruit Juice, .5 oz Honey Syrup How to: Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Raydel’s Mi Corazon
"This is a refreshing take on a margarita that uses mezcal and passionfruit – with the latter balancing out the roasted flavor of the mezcal."
— Raydel Blanco, Bartender, The Conrad, Washington, D.C.
Ingredients: 2 oz Illegal Mezcal, .5 oz passion fruit, .75 oz lime juice, .75 oz agave syrup How to: Pour all the ingredients into a shaker, shake, strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
Living in Lavender
“This drink has a great flavor balance - you can taste the vodka, lavender, and lemon but no one ingredient overpowers the other, which checks the wedding drink box. It also has a beautiful purple hue that looks stunning in guests’ hands.”
— Justin Rankin, Beverage Director, The Kimpton Cardinal, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Ingredients: 2 oz Vodka, 1 oz Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup, 1 oz Lemon Juice, Lavender Sprig How to: Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a sprig.