Summer weddings call for one thing — delicious and refreshing cocktails! As steamy July turns to sweltering August, your friends and family will appreciate a cool signature drink during your cocktail hour and reception.
To nail the perfect signature cocktail, think of these important elements when selecting your custom libations: Choose creative cocktails that speak to you and your groom — go with your favorite drink, flavor, or color so your picks feel special. Do you love sweets while your husband-to-be favors sour? Then pick one of each for guests to sample. Also consider the ingredient list. You'll likely have only a few bartenders, and a cocktail with a lengthy recipe will certainly create a line at the bar.
Here are five fun custom drinks for a summer wedding to help inspire your own cocktail menu!
Watermelon Punch (above): Watermelon is practically the unofficial fruit of summer, so use the juicy melon as your base for a crowd-pleasing cocktail. Garnish with fresh fruit or rim each glass with green sugar, seen above, for a festive accent. And since this recipe is best to make in bulk, it's perfect for a large wedding.
*Ingredients (makes 12 drinks):
1 oblong seedless watermelon, about 8 pounds
3 cups vodka of your choice
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups club soda
Fresh mint and lime slices for an optional garnish*
Photo: Alea Moore Photography
Blood Orange Sangria: What says summer more than bright and bold citrus? This unique take on classic sangria is the perfect make-ahead cocktail, meaning your caterer can mix a big batch and serve guests without any wait. Plus, it's one of the few cocktails that actually gets better over time, so prepping this drink is a breeze.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
6 blood oranges
2 bottles of pinot grigio
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup brandy
12 ounces of stawberries, sliced
1 pint of raspberries
1 apple, chopped*
Photo: Dave Robbins Photography
Cucumber Margaritas: Fresh and mild cucumber is the perfect flavor for a warm summer night. And really, who doesn't love a margarita? This is one of our favorite picks for a destination wedding, but your guests will love this unexpected yet delicious combo at any reception. Serve on the rocks or blended with ice to keep guests cool all evening long.
*Ingredients (makes one pitcher)
3 cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño, sliced*
Photo: Christian Oth Studio
Elderflower White Cosmopolitans: This modern take on the classic cosmopolitan is sure to wow your guests. We love the combo of sweet-and-sour mix of St-Germain and tart white cranberry juice. Also clear cocktails are a win near your white wedding dress, so you can sip freely throughout the reception.
*Ingredients (serves 1)
1/4 cup vodka
2 tablespoons St-Germain elderflower liqueur
2 tablespoons white cranberry juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Edible flowers for garnish*
Photo: Trinity Wheeler Photography
Pomegranate Spritzer: Pomegranate and prosecco come together in a deliciously bubbly mix in this bright spritzer. And since this cocktail isn't overly sweet, it's the perfect pairing for a more sugary cocktail.
*Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails)
1/4 cup vodka
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
A scoop of crushed ice
1/4 cup prosecco
A squeeze of lemon*