Wedding Cocktail Hour Q&A
SPONSORED BY: Pier 22 Catering & Events
Experts: Austin Harlow, Pier 22 Restaurant Manager & Certified Level 2 Sommelier
Ngoc Phan, Pier 22 Catering & Events Manager
Everything you need to know about specialty drinks.
Q: Why do you think that we are beginning to see more specialty cocktails at weddings, bridal showers and other events?
A: Austin - I feel that we are seeing the emergence of craft cocktails in special events, especially in weddings because people really want to individualize the guest's experience, so we have an extra special drink for an extra special day.
Q: Is it a good idea to have a cocktail hour?
A: Ngoc - The reason to have a cocktail reception before the actual reception is because your guests are basically going to need to recoup from having this beautiful, amazing ceremony. It's a time for mingling! Most wedding receptions are sit down affairs.
A lot of times receptions are basically family reunions. People haven't seen each other for years and years, and this is the catch-up time. Yes, there is a rehearsal dinner and that sort of thing, but a traditional reception is a real moment of joining together.
Q: Do signature cocktails add to the overall ambiance of the wedding?
A: Austin - As people are becoming more aware, you know, on social media of all the different, crazy creations that we can make--why not make an extra special one on a special day.
A: Ngoc - In regards to the aesthetic of a great specialty cocktail, it's fantastic to pick one that's great in color that has a beautiful garnish.
Q: What drinks top the list?
A: Austin - I have a take on a traditional Mint Julip. Use Angel's Envy bourbon, a touch of simple syrup, a little bit of muddled lemon and mint. Shake it up real nice, get the ice all crushed up for you and then top it with just a touch of soda to add a little bit of bubbly to it.
I also have my Pineapple Sour - a touch of Aperol, a touch of a craft vermouth, a little bit of pineapple juice and of course I have an Eastern style gin. It's the perfect drink after a ceremony.
Q: How does a couple choose a specialty cocktail?
A: Ngoc - The main thing is we have to keep it simple enough to where the bar is going to be able to take really good care of all of your guests very quickly and it should be a drink that everyone is going to be able to enjoy.
Q: How does a specialty cocktail add to the experience of a wedding?
A: Ngoc - A specialty cocktail actually adds an additional feature because at a lot of these weddings you have special circus acts or cigar rolling. This is another component of individualizing your wedding while adding something special for your guests.
A: Austin - It's definitely an elevated experience.