Summer Events. Lawn Tents, bright colors, loads of flowers, and heat…lots and lots of heat. How do you get your guests to ignore the heat and have a great time? Tents help and fans can keep the air circulating, but the number one way to keep guests cool and having fun is ice.

Yes, Ice.

Preferably in a glass.

Ice. In a glass. Swimming in a delicious summer concoction.

(You get it, right? We aren’t really talking about ice….we are talking about beverages. Adult beverages.)

Whether a family reunion, corporate picnic, birthday celebration, renewal of vows, or a summer wedding, it’s the “fancier” concoctions that become memorable.

Beverage Fun-Factor

Times have changed. The infamous punch bowls of yore are often replaced with a designer beverage created by an experienced mixologist just for that one event. Put aside Tom Collins, tell the Margaritas to go do the Macarena, ship the Manhattans back to New York, and send the Cosmos back into orbit – this is the era of the Signature Drink.

The idea is to dazzle your guests by featuring a mixed beverage specifically designed for your occasion. It takes time and testing to get it just right. You want the flavor profiles to blend well with the rest of your event. For example, if your event is an open-air birthday party with an Irish theme, then an orange pumpkin pie daiquiri may be out of season and clash with the event color scheme. A Guinness flavored green ice cream float on the other hand…that may have your guests raving till the Top of the Morning.

A few decades ago signature drinks were limited to mixing the staples of the liquor and spirit world with different combinations of juices, fruit, and sodas. For a while, bars were exploding with stick, fruity mixes: Tequila Sunrise, Sex on the Beach, Fuzzy Navels…probably created more diabetes than hangovers.

Today, event hosts and their caterer, bartender, and/or mixologist have a mind boggling amount of permutations due to the market’s explosion in flavored spirits. Smirnoff alone has over 60 flavored varieties of Vodka. Including one called “Fluffed Marshmallow”. It’s not difficult to imagine pouring small shots into a chocolate glazed shot glasses and serving “S’more’s Shots” during your annual summer camp-out. See how easy it is?

Get Creative

Designing your signature drink can be incredibly fun (especially the tasting and testing part). Ideally, you can capture the essence of your event in one small glass. Have you ever overheard someone asking a friend “What was that drink we had at so-and-so’s party last week? It was so good”. People may forget a bland buffet, but they will forever remember a beverage that blew their mind.

Here are some general guides to designing your very own signature drinks:

  • Do you need an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version? Be mindful of your guests. Do you have a family friendly event, or an event with a lot of non-drinkers? Plan accordingly.
  • What is the theme of your event? Keep your signature beverage aligned to your overall theme. Throwing a corporate event with a pirate theme, then a rum based drink served in miniature round rum bottles could be a huge hit.
  • What do your guests like – are they a beer drinking bunch? Wine Lovers? Whiskey shooters? Always cater to your audience and use their preferences as the base of your creation.
  • What are your cooling and serving options? Keep in mind your venue, cooling resources, and serving options. A signature drink that needs to be served and consumed quickly (before ingredients blend), may not be ideal for a 80 person birthday toast libation that needs to be prepped in advance.
  • How will you serve your signature drink? Tall glass? Shot Glass? Flower Shaped Flutes? Get creative, but consider costs and serving methods.   A Glass Slipper toast may sound enchanting for your Cinderella Wedding, but if you’re serving staff can only serve one or two at a time, it’s going to take a while before 200 guests get their toast beverage in hand.
  • What is the color scheme? Yes, of course you should match the event colors. Why not? A good bartender or mixologist will have dozens of ways to transform your beverage into a gorgeous centerpiece of delicious beauty. Colors can be uniform, swirled, and even layered. Have fun with it.

A signature beverage can be just the thing to elevate your gathering from a great summer event to a grand event! Whether you hire a mixologist, dabble into experimenting on your own, or raid Pinterest for cocktail ideas, the goal is to create a signature beverage that is in sync with the theme of your event. Remember, you get extra points in “coolness” if you match the color palette of your event!

If you need recommendations for a bartender, mixologist, or need help with the entire event, we’ll be happy to speak with you and determine how we can help you have a Grand Event!

A message from Grand Events – always, always, always follow all applicable Federal, State, and local laws regarding the transportation and consumption of alcoholic beverages. As a host, make sure to understand your liability for serving alcohol, and when consuming alcohol always drink responsibly.