This past weekend my fiancé and I were very lucky to be hosting a special guest. My future father in law (his dad) came to New Orleans for a business trip and we excitedly took him up on his offer to take us out to dinner. I asked my fiancé, “Where should we go”? We finally agreed to go to Arnaud’s, a place I’ve been eager to try but had not yet had the pleasure of visiting. I had heard much about Arnaud’s famed dishes and incredible service so I went with much anticipation. The food was awesome!

Are you wondering why am I giving you a restaurant review? I am an event planner after all, and not a food critic. Arnaud’s is famously known for giving a grand show tableside for customers. That is what draws people in to their location. Flambéing bananas foster before your very eyes—what could be better?

In addition to their bananas foster, Arnaud’s serves an after dinner cocktail that is just as impressive and perhaps a touch more dangerous.  The café brûlot is a coffee based drink that must been seen to be believed. The waiter prepares it right in front of you pouring lit brandy over an entire orange rind studded with cloves. What entertainment! It definitely hit the spot as well. This got me to thinking, “wouldn’t it be awesome to have this as one of our signature drinks at our wedding.” My fiancé and I love coffee and there was something spectacular about it that left you amazed. Which brings me to this blog….4 signature drinks that give your guests a little entertainment for the 4 different seasons. Whether it be on fire or it just hits the spot, this unique experience with your guest will have them talking about your wedding for years.

Now there is a drink for every season and for every season, a drink. Spring is when the earth reawakens and the air smells of blossoming flowers. And when it comes to spring, nothing shines like gin. Every sip of a martini on a warm April’s evening comes with a sigh of relief. Your cares seem to slide right off of your shoulders and waft away into the sunset. Some people find gin to be bitter or off-putting but, well…they’re just wrong. Gin is western culture bottled. So when you serve gin at your wedding, it’s best served in a traditional preparation. The gimlet is a can’t miss drink for your spring wedding. Lime and gin were fated to come together and your guests will know just how refined your taste is with every sip.

Gimlet

The Gimlet

2 oz Plymouth Gin

1 oz simple syrup

1 oz fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients over ice and stir vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe or serve on the rocks. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Many drinks can make the claim of being emblematic of summer: the mojito, the margarita, and the mint julep have certainly fueled some of my best summer nights! Mmm…mojitos. They’re the perfect choice for summer in my book. But for your wedding, consider a molecular gastronomic spin on the classic cocktail better matches the spirit of your grand day.

newlywed with cotton candy

Cotton Candy Mojito

2 oz white rum

1.5 oz fresh lime juice

6 mint leaves

Cotton candy

Add lime juice and mint leaves to your mixing glass. Muddle mint leaves. Add rum and ice, stir until chilled. Place a tuft of cotton candy in your service glass and strain cocktail over the cotton candy. Watch as the drink melts the cotton candy away! Traditionally the mojito is served over ice with club soda, but they would take away from the cotton candy in this drink so serve this drink up.

What flavors come to mind when you think of fall? For me it’s apples, cinnamon, clove, and all things warm and toasty.  Ok, yes the excitement in me is screaming out to mention pumpkin spice! But spiced apple cider is much more evocative of childhood and comfort. Make it appropriate for Halloween with some dry ice to give it a smoke on the water effect!

Apple Cider Martini with Dry Ice

Spooky Apple Cider Martini

1.5 oz gold rum

1 oz brandy

1 oz apple cider

¼ oz maple syrup

¼ oz fresh lemon juice

dry ice

Add all ingredients except dry ice to shaker and shake with wet ice. Fill serving glass with a little dry ice. Don’t overdo it! Dry ice is dangerous to ingest. Strain drink over the dry ice and serve. This recipe is an adaptation of the northwood with the addition of dry ice.

I can agree with the old expression de gustibus non est disputandum (in matters of taste, there can be no disputes) in any number of things, but NOT when it comes to s’mores. S’mores are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! And even though I don’t like cold weather and winter, I will begrudgingly accept the season because it’s peak s’mores season. A hot drink featuring a toasted marshmallow on top is perfect for a winter wedding.

S'mores Cocktail

S’mores Cocktail

2 oz chocolate vodka

2 oz Three Olives S’mores vodka

1 oz toasted marshmallow syrup

chocolate syrup

graham crackers

marshmallows

kitchen torch

Combine chocolate vodka, s’mores vodka, and marshmallow syrup in cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir until chilled. Squeeze out chocolate syrup onto a plate. Crush graham crackers to fine pieces. Dip serving glass into chocolate syrup and then into crushed graham cracker, much like rimming a margarita with salt. Strain drink into serving glass. Toast 2 or 3 marshmallows on a skewer, garnish, and serve.

No matter the season of you wedding, serve a dramatic signature drink to your guests. Enjoy!

P.S. Here’s an extra drink recipe if you want something extra special at your wedding. My fiancé invented it one night when I asked him to surprise me.

Honey Pants Cocktail

Honey Pants

2 oz Hendrick’s gin

1 oz St. Germaine

1 oz honey

Juice from ½ lemon

2 dashes of peychaurd bitters

Combine over ice and shake. Strain into a coupe. Serve with a lemon twist garnish.

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