The summer temperatures have barely dropped, but now that the calendar has switched to September, fall is suddenly everywhere you look. Along with the premature Halloween decorations,
America’s love for all-things-pumpkin is out in full force. If pumpkin yogurt-dipped pretzels aren’t your thing and you can’t imagine your snobby new sister-in-law reaching for a pumpkin spice Oreo at your reception, don’t fret!
You can still work pumpkins into your wedding without stepping into uncertain territory and without overdoing it. Get even the grumpiest guests in the fall spirit by adding a pumpkin-flavored twist to the most classic cocktails.
Everyone loves a martini—and let’s be honest: if they say they don’t, they probably haven’t had one before. Grab your guests’ interest with the Pumpkin Spice Martini. Mix one shot of vanilla-flavored vodka with one shot of Bailey’s and one shot of your favorite pumpkin-flavored liqueur. Pour over ice into a cocktail shaker, shake, and strain. Add a dash of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon for the final touches.
Tired of the pumpkin spice trend already? Opt for a more familial flavor and offer Pumpkin Pie Martinis instead. Combine 1/3 cup of milk with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree and shake. Add in one shot each of vanilla-flavored vodka and creme de cacao, a few ice cubes, and shake some more. Before you strain your martini, coat your glass rim with honey and dip it into a pile of crushed graham cracker crumbs.
For those rare folks who aren’t mesmerized by martinis, offer Martha Stewart’s festive twist on a margarita. Put 1/2 ounce lime juice, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin marmalade, 3/4 ounce of Grand Marnier, 1/4 ounce tequila, and 1/2 an egg white in your shaker and shake well. A sugar and cinnamon rim will complete the drink and if you’re looking for garnish, consider an orange slice.
Martinis and margaritas are one thing, but you have to broaden your horizons if you want to deliver a fall drink your guests will remember long after the last drop is gone.
The Dude may not approve of this particular recipe, but that doesn’t mean your dude won’t! Add an autumn twist to any White Russian by mixing one ounce of pumpkin-flavored vodka with one ounce of Kahlua and one ounce of cream. Simply shake, strain, and serve.
If you’re afraid some of your guests will be too shy to branch out and try your festive cocktails, make sure you include a Pumpkin Old-Fashioned on that drink list—this ensures no one can argue that your drinks are too fancy for their generation! Combine one shot of whiskey with 1/2 ounce of Grand Marnier, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, and one ounce of maple syrup. Shake and strain over ice, adding a sprig of rosemary or an orange peel for garnish.
Now that we’ve run through the basics, are you ready to really wow your wedding guests? Consider serving pumpkin nog to end your special day on a cozy note. There are a lot of different ways to prepare nog, and it’s often better done in batches rather than single servings, so be sure to talk to your bartender about your specific wishes before you assume it’s an easy drink to whip up without notice.
Don’t back down if you don’t have a bartender to bounce ideas off of and you’re itching to try this extra-festive nog for yourself. (Just make sure your bridal party is ready to be your guinea pig, since it makes 10 servings!) Blend one can of pumpkin puree, one pint of softened vanilla ice cream, and 4 cups of milk with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground mace. Pour out your individual servings and add to each one shot of rum, a scoop of whipped cream, and a pinch of nutmeg.
It’s sad but true; not everyone loves the pumpkin-palooza that takes over once fall kicks in. But those who do have a taste for pumpkin flavors will be thrilled by your seasonal cocktail offerings. If you want to push the bar even further, talk to your caterer about creating your own personal pumpkin drink for the occasion. After all, you can improve almost any beverage by adding a splash of pumpkin and a cinnamon stick. It doesn’t hurt to have a little fun with it—sometimes the most delicious drinks come from the most unexpected combinations!