01.10.11 by Shirley
New York-Inspired Wedding Day Cocktails
Meet Sasha Petraske, the mixologist credited with the resurgence of the speakeasy menu. He shares two recipes for his-and-hers (much-needed) matrimonial drinks. Cue the Proud Mary, this reception will rock.
You’re getting married and everything from the guest list to the honeymoon has been planned … except for one thing: signature cocktails. You spent months planning a picture-perfect day, and theoretically years nabbing “the one”, so why serve drinks you’d find on a spring break bar menu — after all, this ain’t Vegas and she’s no mail order bride. We went to mixologist Sasha Petraske of Long Island City’s Dutch Kills Bar for the scoop:
what are the most important things to think about when customizing cocktails for brides and grooms?
Sasha Petraske: It’s very important that cocktails served at weddings be something accessible to a large variety of people. It’s also important to consider that it can be made in batches off-site and then transported to the event without trouble. For example, a martini isn’t great unless you have the capacity to make them icy cold. You don’t want to compromise quality, so have a few specialized cocktails and that’s enough.
Generally speaking, champagne cocktails work great — they are long, tall and beautiful, and not too overpowering or alcoholic in taste. A Strawberry 75 would be easy to put together and prep ahead, you could even put the garnish inside the glass instead of on the rim: drop ice and a strawberry into a tall glass, shake gin, lemon juice and simple syrup with strawberries, strain into glass and top with champagne, it’s gorgeous in the spring or summer.
what questions would you ask a bride you are customizing a cocktail for?
I’d find out what her cocktail is, and then not necessarily make that one, but create several drinks based on that, incorporating and thinking about the party décor, the location, whether the event is indoors or outdoors, etc. and set up a tasting for the bride to choose her favorite.
and for the groom?
I’d want to balance the overall wedding menu, so would ask him similar questions, and then try and create a menu for the entire event that included one light spirit and one dark spirit, for example. Gin and whisky are the safest bet for large groups, and as the menu increases, you can increase the selection — don’t mix and offer just 3 vodka drinks, or 3 rum drinks, try and keep the spirits offered further apart.
for the classic New York couple, a NYC ad executive marrying a fashionable free-spirited writer — Mad Men meets Sex and the City — are there updated twists on classic cocktails that you’d recommend?
For a 3-martini lunch type of guy, I’d suggest an Trinity: 1/3 gin, 1/3 sweet vermouth, 1/3 dry vermouth, garnished with a lemon twist. It drinks much more easily than a martini, with lower alcohol content and it looks pretty. You can pre-mix it before the event and keep it chilled in a freezer until serving.
For her, I’d choose a Fruit Cup, like Pimm’s. They appeal to a lot of people, there’s almost nobody who doesn’t like a Pimm’s cup. In a highball, wedge round slices of orange, lime and cucumber into the glass, add 2 ounces Pimm’s then fill with ice. Add 7-Up, cucumber garnish and a straw, as they are ordered.
seems like the bride and groom cocktails are all about the guests, rather than the couple …
Yes, and a virgin cocktail is a must. They should be given equal billing at weddings. You can basically make a virgin version of any cocktail that is fruit-based by removing alcohol and doubling citrus and sweet elements. Virgin mojitos are great, also virgin brambles work well.