4 Wedding Cocktail Tips That Are Unexpected and Inexpensive

Surprising signature drinks make your day even more unique. Craft bartender Tom Richter serves up four ways to get creative with your wedding cocktails—without breaking the bank. Booze on a budget? We'll drink to that!

Photography by: Bryan Gardner
From left: Richter's spins on a <a href="http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/399097/rob-rose"target='_blank'>Rob Rose</a> and <a href="http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/399098/sinners-and-saints"target='_blank'>Sinners and Saints</a>, and <a href="http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/399096/sherry-quina-cobbler"target='_blank'>Sherry-Quina Cobbler</a>.

1. Embrace the Punch Bowl

"Delicious big-batch drinks are becoming more popular, and for good reason. Punches can be made ahead of time, so bar service moves faster, and the bowls they're displayed in can be beautiful. They also help cut costs because you can use less-expensive liquors when you're mixing. For a gin-based punch, for example, go with Gordon's London Dry, Beefeater, or Bombay Regular. Once you add juices and other flavors, you're not going to really taste the spirit much anyway."


2. Set Out Pitchers

"Similarly, anything served from a pitcher is a time-saver. A Collins cocktail is a good bet—it's just gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, and seltzer. Add an extra element like tea, and you have something more interesting. Then garnish with a few different herbs and fruits to make the pitchers look even more enticing sitting on tables." 

Tom Richter is the head bartender at <a href="http://www.dearirving.com/"target='_blank'>Dear Irving</a> in NYC and the founder and creator of <a href="http://www.tomrstonic.com/"target='_blank'>Tomr's Tonic</a>, an artisanal quinine syrup.

3. Create Your Own Blend 

"If you want to serve something stirred where the booze is prominent, such as a Tattletale [scotch, honey, bitters], buy the best scotch you can afford and mix it with a blended one. If you're aiming to serve 100 people three drinks apiece, add two parts top-shelf to one part blended, and you'll need about 20 bottles of the good stuff instead of 30, without tasting the difference."

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4. Go Old School

"Hand-cut ice, well-crafted cocktails, brown spirits like whiskey—all have seen an uptick as people want that Mad Men cocktail-culture experience. For instance, many women's go-to drink now is the Old-Fashioned or Manhattan. With that in mind, offer classics that feel season-appropriate, like a refreshing Cobbler in warm weather, or a spicy Buck cocktail—which is basically your spirit of choice plus ginger beer—on a cool fall evening."


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About the Author

Jaime Buerger

A senior editor at MSW, Jaime edits the planning section of the magazine and writes stories on flowers, home décor, stationery, and more. Since she started, she's learned the difference between buttercream and fondant, what the 4Cs of diamonds really measure, and how to properly address both the outer and inner envelopes of an invitation. She also eats more than her fair share of...


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