We tasked master mixologist Nicolas Oâ€™Connor of Manhattanâ€™s Apotheke Lounge with crafting rosy cocktails that are irresistible to gourmands and beer guzzlers alike. From left: Fresh blueberries meet vodka and ginger in a Pink Manther. Though it also contains watermelon, our vodka Coconut Castaway gets its ruby color from prickly cactus pear. A riff on the classic vodka fizz, the Blushing IngĂ©nue combines strawberries, vodka, ginger, bitters, and egg whites, which create the concoctionâ€™s frothy top.
When this icy, foamy frappe is poured into glasses, it separates into layers that intensify in flavor from top to bottom. A cloud of cotton candy gives a jolt of sweetness when stirred into the drink. You or your caterer can buy cotton candy premade or use a machine to make it. These are ideal after dinner at warm-weather weddings; they'd also be stars at the cocktail hour, even without alcohol.
Serve the ultimate country-club libation: gimlets. Swap out vodka and Rose's lime juice for cucumber gin, fresh lime, and simple syrup tinged with mint, and then serve with tea sandwiches. Polka-dot napkins in a shade that matches the drink pack a coordinating graphic punch.
For this delicious and refreshing rose punch, use a big rose from Spain or South America, like Bodega Inurrieta's Mediodia Rosado from Navarra, Spain. Made from 100 percent garnacha grape, this wine has bold, ripe flavors of strawberries and raspberries, as well as heady aromas of rose petals, and makes for a wonderful base for practically any mixed drink, including our rose punch, concocted from sparkling lemonade, Chambord, raspberries, pineapple, and, of course, rose wine.
The name of this classic drink makes it quite fitting for a wedding. A mix of apple brandy, Benedictine (an herb-and-spice-based spirit originally made by monks), and lemon juice, it's shaken over ice and served in martini glasses. Garnish with fruit leather cut into a crescent shape; serve with printed cocktail napkins or coasters.
Carrying your colors through to the drinks and food is unexpected and elevates simple refreshments to wedding fare. A display set up either at the reception -- or before it -- lets guests help themselves. Mint limeade and pink lemonade in glass containers are identified with computer-printed labels, attached to ribbon with double-sided tape.
Offer your guests a signature drink that takes its cue from the season. Made with citrus-flavored vodka and triple sec, these citrus martinis celebrate winter, when citrus fruits are at their peak -- although their color and light flavor would make them refreshing in the summer, as well.
Give signature drinks proper fanfare by flagging them with colorful swizzle sticks. The flourishes are a breeze to make: With gardening shears, trim a wooden skewer so it is a few inches taller than the glass you'll put it in. Cut a 9-inch length of 15-millimeter grosgrain ribbon. Fold in half and make a loose knot. Slip knot over skewer and tighten. Notch ribbon ends.