The ceremony is over, vows have been made and rings exchanged, the bride’s gown applauded, and floral arrangements admired.
The much-anticipated wedding breakfast is yet to come, with its wine-paired courses and champagne for toasting, but first, guests can relax and enjoy an informal cocktail hour with a selection of drinks to help get the celebrations underway.
This classic pairing of fresh orange juice and fizz (prosecco works just as well as champagne here) is a savvy choice for several reasons: it’s quick and easy to serve, sets a suitably celebratory tone and, with the recommended ratio of two parts juice to one part champers, is a blessedly light aperitif for those who want to pace their intake throughout the day.
A skilled bar team will be able to whip up a fruit cup tailored to your own taste. Gin, orange curaçao and vermouth usually form the base, with the soda component provided by lemonade, ginger ale or even cola. Alternatively, you can blend Pimm’s No. 1 Cup with lemonade, adding lots of sliced lemons, oranges and strawberries, together with bunches of mint before serving.
A variation on the classic Tom Collins cocktail, this adapted recipe pairs a shot of gin with lemon juice, sugar syrup and elderflower liqueur before topping with soda water and serving over ice in a highball glass, garnished with a ribbon of cucumber. It’s wonderfully fresh and summery wedding drink.
Along the same lines as the Elderflower Collins, the Mojito swaps gin for rum, lemon for lime and cucumber for mint, to offer a Cuban take on a summer refresher. Here, lime slices are muddled with sugar syrup and mint leaves and added to a highball glass filled with ice, before stirring in the rum and topping with soda water.
A gin fizz with a fruity kick! For the Bramble Fizz, the gin is partnered with a shot of blackberry (crème de mûre) or Chambord black raspberry liqueur and shaken with lemon juice, sugar syrup and ice, before topping with soda water and serving over crushed ice.
All of these tasty cocktails can be prepared in quantity, ahead of time (adding any fizzy element just before serving) for flexibility. They can also be offered as mocktails by simply removing the spirit element or substituting soda water/lemonade for champagne.