Buying a bunch of booze and paying someone to mix and pour it puts a big dent in a wedding budget, but an emerging trend in weddings can help couples cut spending and personalize libations.
The signature drink.
Team up with your bartender and create one or two customized cocktails that represent your taste as a couple. Along with the drinks, you can offer a small array of wine and/or beer or nothing else at all.
Couples can expect to save 20 to 25 percent, says Brenton Milardo, a Tampa, Fla., bartender.
Arielle Smith, 25, is planning the drink menu with her fiance, Todd Funk. They plan to serve two cocktails, a nonalcoholic concoction for the kiddos and beer and wine at their Nov. 23 nuptials.
One specialty drink they have in mind is the Honeymoon, which is cachaca (a sugar-cane rum), lemon or lime juice and honey.
Another possibility is the Funky Monkey, a title the couple came up with as a nod to his last name. This drink – salted caramel vodka, spiced rum and creme de banana – would go nicely with some salty hors d’oeuvres.
Sara Horn, 24, and Michael Smith, 25, of St. Petersburg, Fla., had sangria, beer and soda bottles at their wedding last October. The couple told their bartender they wanted a homemade-tasting sangria.
“We didn’t want to serve bottled wine that you can get anywhere,” Horn said. “We wanted something unique. My husband and I don’t know much about wine, but we love sangria.”
They went with a red sangria containing apricot brandy and cinnamon sticks and a peach sangria containing peach schnapps and mango.
When bartender Milardo, 26, gets married in October, he and his fiancee, Lauren Paranzino, 26, will have two signature drinks: the Lavender Lady and the Don Milardo.
“Our color scheme (purple and silver) dictated our decision,” Milardo said. “We also knew we wanted to have one drink for the ladies and one for the guys.”
The couple researched recipes for purple drinks online.
The Lavender Lady is a violet medley of Absolut Kurant vodka and blueberry syrup mixed with club soda. The Don Milardo contains Patron Silver tequila and a sugar-cane stick or lime for garnish and is served with a hand-rolled cigar.
Besides, guests will never remember that gin and tonic they ordered at your reception. But something like a Funky Monkey? That’ll leave ’em reeling.