Wine, beer, liquor—all wedding crowd-pleasers. But why serve the same drinks as everyone else? Instead of choosing classic libations for your signature drinks, create unique takes on your favorite cocktails. If you're at a loss for where to start with your fall-inspired signature drink, think about the seasonal flavors you love, then come up with a mix that's as unique as you are. Still need more help? We asked two mixologists to share their favorite flavor combinations for the season here.
Ginger and Nutmeg
Think spicy! This fall duo is found in everything from pumpkin pie and cookies to seasonal coffee blends. "This flavor combo works because it balances the savory spiciness of nutmeg with the sharp, refreshing spiciness of ginger," says Rasa Stirbys Benefico of Birchtree Catering. Play up the flavors with ginger beer, simple syrup, cinnamon, and touch of clove. For a real pop of flavor, mix with whiskey.
Vanilla and Sweet Potato
When it comes to autumn, a warm drink ensures your guest feel cozy. Ask your caterer to create something special with sweet potato-infused liquor (whiskey is a favorite, especially among grooms), suggests Chappall Gage of Susan Gage Caterers. Mix in cinnamon, star-anise, or other warm flavors to make the cocktail especially unique.
Apple and Rosemary
Apple pie, apple picking, apple everything: Is there anything more reminiscent of fall than this fruit? Since apples are often mixed with sweet counterparts like sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup, make your cocktail unique by pairing the fruity flavor with rosemary. "It brings out the botanical and floral notes of good apples," says Benefico. She recommends choosing a wine-based cocktail, a fall-inspired mimosa, or a twist on a classic French 75.
Honey and Orange
"There are lots of flavor nuances to the honey you choose, and the floral notes can be enhanced beautifully by citrus," says Benefico. The key here is balance. Too much of either can make a drink sickly sweet, so she suggests throwing it a pinch of cinnamon to cut that flavor. Try a play on an old-fashioned with simple syrup, orange bitters, and brandy served over ice.
Quince and Sumac
The bright yellow, pear-shaped quince fruit has "all of the best notes of an apple, pear, and pineapple," says Gage. These flavors work well with the musty lemon notes of sumac and a mix of lime. Ask your caterer to create a custom blended cocktail or consider mixing quince syrup with sumac-infused vodka and lime juice.
Fig and Orange
Orange is so in-season it made the list twice, but this time it comes with a figgy twist. Mixing the crisp, clean taste of oranges with the earthier honey and caramel sweetness of figs, you can create a fresh, fun cocktail that will intrigue your guests. Gage likes to use orange peel to bring in bitterness and acid, a nice, flavorful contrast when muddled. Garnish with swirled orange peels.
Pear and Vanilla
Fall is all about fruit. And nothing shows that off quite like the bright, fresh sweetness of ripe pears, says Gage. Here he recommends bringing fresh, pastry notes to your drink with vanilla. Mix this flavor combo with bright, acidic lemon and orgeat (a cooling drink made from elderflower water and either barley or almonds) for sweet marzipan notes. Candied lemon peels also make a sweet garnish.