Today's stressful economic environment may be just the time you really want to treat your event attendees to a relaxing night of cocktails and conversation—yet it may also be just the time you can't afford to. After all, the cost of serving alcohol at your events can get pretty high.
A great way to cut drink costs at your receptions and parties is to serve one or two signature cocktails rather than stocking a full open bar. It's sophisticated, memorable and affordable!
Not sure what to make your event's signature cocktail? Check out some of Food & Wine magazine's top 20 summer cocktails, then, make sure to read my tips for how to pick the right drink to match your event!
Strawberries bring a sweet, refreshing twist to these mojitos, from Joaquin Simo of NYC's Death & Company.
Muddle 8 lemon wedges with 4 whole strawberries and 24 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add ice cubes and 8 ounces gold or aged rum, 3 ounces fresh lemon juice, and 2 ounces prepared sugarcane syrup and shake well. Strain into crushed ice-filled glasses and garnish with strawberry halves and mint sprigs.
From bartenders Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric at New York restaurant Macao Trading Co. comes this twist on Portuguese white port and tonic.
Combine 2 ounces white port and a dash of lime juice in a wineglass with ice. Add 2 ounces tonic water. Garnish with 1 slice of cucumber or bitter melon and 2 slices of seedless green grapes.
Bartender Katie Loeb at Philadelphia restaurant Chick's Cafe & Wine Bar was inspired to create this drink by a slice a rhubarb pie.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 2 ounces white rhum agricole, a West Indian rum, with 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur, 1 ounce fresh pink grapefruit juice, 3/4 ounce rhubarb syrup, and 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
From Duggan McDonnell, bartender at San Francisco restaurant Cantina, this classic caipirinha recipe takes a West Coast twist with the addition of Orange Muscat from Quady Winery in Madera, California.
Muddle 6 lime wedges with 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar. Add 16 ounces Cachaca, 4 ounces Orange Muscat and 4 ounces simple syrup and stir. Add ice, stir again and strain into ice-filled glasses.
Spice & Ice
Bartender Adam Seger heats up the summer at Chicago restaurant Nacional 27 by coating the rim of the drink's glass with a seven spice blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, clove, star anise, cardamom pods, Sichuan peppercorns and sugar.
Combine 6 ounces blanco tequila, 5 ounces mango puree or nectar, 5 ounces fresh lime juice, finely grated zest of 1 lime, 4 ounces ginger-habanero syrup, and 4 cups of ice in a blender until smooth. Garnish rimmed glasses with lime wheels.
Read Food & Wine's complete list of the 20 best summer drinks.