‘Tis the season! Summer isn’t just for weddings — it’s prime engagement season, to — which means there will be plenty of engagement parties this fall.
We spoke to Lynnette Marrero, New York City-based Mixologist and consultant with DrinksAt6, to get her expert opinion on how to get engagement party cocktails right this season. Lynnette is also a co-founder of Speed Rack, a global female bartender competition that raises funds for breast cancer research.
Read on for Lynnette’s tips!
Use your drink menu to show off your personality. “Until the wedding day, this is the first time when it’s really all about the union of the couple and the fact that these two individuals are coming together. It’s really a celebration of who they are. It’s a little more casual, and more about what they like.”
Start things off with a punch. “Serve a welcome punch, and give it a fun name or twist that has something to do with the couple, and tells the story of who they are. Hawaiian punch is great if they’re getting married in Hawaii — you can serve it with an orchid garnish. Drink dispensers are also great because they’re easy, and easy to maintain. Guests can serve themselves. Spice things up a bit with your own ice molds or special garnishes.”
Stay true to your vibe. “If you’re a laid back couple doing a casual and comfortable engagement party, you might want something with bourbon served in cute little mason jars. If you want a classic brunch, you might be looking at classic wines and sparkling wines. Or, if it’s a surprise party, pay homage to the couple and serve a drink they both love.”
Don’t forget non-alcoholic options. “When you have a varied group of individuals, you want to make sure you have a lighter cocktail and some kind of mocktail, too, for those who would rather not drink but still want to have something fun to sip on.”
Stock the bar. “Make sure you have a bunch of really good mixers on hand, so you have a range of what people like. Elevate your bar for a broad crowd and give it a customized feel with really nice, high quality mixers. You might consider buying something local, that pays tribute to the couple’s hometown. Or just have several fresh squeezed juices on hand.”
Don’t forget the finger food! “Finger foods and snacks are the best things to go with cocktails. A nice meat and cheese board goes really well with spirits — things that have a nice acidity to it complement cocktails nicely. It’s also not an accident that cocktail nuts exist in bars. They’re nice and filling, easy to eat and the saltiness complements the sweetness of cocktails. You could also have fun with something like customized deviled eggs or a bacon or jerky tasting — something that honors the couple’s taste.”
Need a few great cocktails for an upcoming engagement party? Take a look at Lynnette’s top suggestions, below:
1 1/2 oz Ketel One Oranje
1/2 oz raspberry liquor
1/2 oz pomegranate juice
Top with Stellina di Notte Prosecco
Garnish with and orange twist and a dried rosebud
1 1/2 oz Tanqueray No 10 Gin
3/4 oz lemon Juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Top with Stellina di Notte Prosecco
Blushing Bride Punch
1 1/2 pints Bulleit Bourbon
1/2 pint Creme de peche (peach liqueur)
1 pint Almond Tea*
1/2 pint Prosecco
Garnish with fresh fruits.
**Peel zest from 8 lemons and combine with 1 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Press out air and seal. Rub zest and sugar together to release oils. Leave at room temperature until sugar dissolves, about 6 hours. Strain, pressing on zest. Makes ⅓ cup.
*Brew tea twice as strong as directed
Place all ingredients in a cocktail dispenser. Float fresh fruits on top.
Honeymoon in Capri Punch
1 pint Stellina di Notte Prosecco
1 pint grapefruit juice
1 pint Tanqueray No 10 Gin
1/2 pint aperol italian liqueur
1/2 cup sugar dissolved
1 pint Perrier Sparkling water
Mix in a punch bowl. Add large piece of hard frozen ice. Garnish with raspberries, sliced strawberries, and sliced oranges. Add sparkling wine and sparking water just before serving.