Your wedding reception drinks are as important as the food. If you select well, your drinks should compliment the food served, and make for a stylish and memorable wedding.
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There are three main drinks at any wedding: the first reception drink, which is often Champagne or Bucks Fizz and usually served with small canapés before the wedding breakfast; the drink used to toast the happy couple, which is usually Champagne or a sparkling wine, and the wines to accompany the wedding breakfast and reception.
When it comes to the all important toasting of the bride and groom, (that’s raising a glass of bubbly to their health, not warming them by the fire!) producing a true bottle of Champagne will certainly leave a lasting impression on your guests. There are different styles of Champagne: ranging from Brut, which is very dry, to Demi Sec, which has a sweeter taste, and vintage labels, made from grapes of one specific year. To earn the right to have the word “champagne” on the bottle, however, it must be entirely produced from the Champagne region of Northern France. There are other options of course, and many sparkling wines are an excellent alternative and are also easier on your wallet. Some of the best quality sparkling wines come from Australia (Tasmania and Yarra Valley), New Zealand, California and even England. Look out also for sparkling wines that are made by Champagne companies such as Mumm and Chandon, or for an English one try South Ridge. Push the boat out and go for a big bottle of bubbly such as a magnificent ‘magnum’ which holds 2 bottles in one, or a ‘jeroboam’ which holds an impressive 4!
Serve your guests Champagne cocktails, or the more common Bucks Fizz which is made from Champagne and orange juice. A Kir Royale always looks super stylish; it’s a pretty mix of Champagne and Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) – the ideal alcoholic accessory to a wedding with a red colour scheme. A warm mulled wine is the perfect answer to a winter wedding.
Fun summer mixers such as Pimms No. 1 filled with the usual orange, lemon, cucumber, apple and mint are always a real winner for drinking in the sunshine. The aptly named ‘Passion Pimms No. 6’ is a wedding drink to remember, adding crushed ice, vodka and the flesh and juice of a passion fruit to the Pimms for a sweet and tasty drink that packs a punch.
For something different go for a funky cocktail like the refreshing rum-based lemon and mint tasting Mojito or create your own signature cocktail for your wedding using your favourite drinks mixed with your fiance’s favourites (unless he only drinks lager and you’re a red wine girl – that’s a recipe for disaster)! You could experiment with a few favourite tastes and give it a name to remember – your guests will love trying something you’ve created!
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.