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The Best Cocktails for Your Wedding Reception - Nine Easy-to-Make Drinks

Aside from the usual drinks like champagne, wine, and beer though, many couples opt for cocktails, even at the reception. Cocktails have come back into favour and, just like Prosecco, they’re often more popular with guests, and more cost-effective for the hosts, so they really are a win/win.

Your wedding day is a celebration and although not all celebrations need alcohol – many couples do choose to have it! A good party in the UK usually features some alcoholic drinks, and weddings are renowned for it. How else would you get to see your Uncle John on the dance floor singing to ‘Come On Eileen’?

Aside from the usual drinks like champagne, wine, and beer though, many couples opt for cocktails, even at the reception. Cocktails have come back into favour and, just like Prosecco, they’re often more popular with guests, and more cost-effective for the hosts, so they really are a win/win.

If you’re planning your own wedding or just researching ideas, here are nine of the most popular cocktails that we see, based on glass hire for weddings and other events.


Gin cocktails

Gin is back in a big way. Gin bars are popping up everywhere and gin tastings are now very much ‘a thing’ with young and old alike. Previously the drink left for grandma and pilots, gin and tonic is now hugely popular. Thanks to flavoured gins, the cocktail scene has exploded with gin.

According to some firm favourites are:

  • Tom Collins
  • French 75
  • Aviation
  • Gin Gimlet
  • Gin Martini
  • Clover Club
  • Classic Gin Fizz
  • Negroni
  • Southside
  • Perfect G&T

Get ready to load up those gin glasses for your reception.


Champagne cocktail

Champagne is so synonymous with celebrations. The French wine region made a very good PR job of that. Smashed on the side of boats, popped and shaken after the Grand Prix, and of course sipped at weddings all over the world, champagne is a about a proper celebration.

Even considered a cocktail with it? A champagne cocktail is a brilliant alternative to straight fizz and because you can mask the original flavour, you can get away with using sparkling wine, too.

How to make a champagne cocktail:

  • Take one white sugar cube.
  • Add two dashes of Angosturo Bitters.
  • Add 20ml of cognac or brandy.
  • And then fill with enough champagne/fizz to fill the glass.

Pro tip: Pour the fizz very slowly over the ingredients as the sugar sets the fizz into action and can be very VERY messy!


Gin Martini

One thing to be careful with when you’re choosing reception drinks is that they’re not too ‘out there’. You need to cater for a large mix of people, remember. As much fun as a Wedding Cake Martini sounds, it’s possibly not for everyone.

The classic Gin Martini is a safe bet though. The martini glasses look really spectacular on arrival too.

How to make a Gin Martini:

  • One shot of gin.
  • ½ shot of Dry Martini.
  • One - three olives or some lemon twist.

Shaken, not stirred. Obviously, Mr Bond.


The Mojito

Most weddings take place in the summertime and (all being well) this will mean a wedding reception in the sunshine. A great way to quench the thirst of your guests is with a tall cocktail and the Bacardi-led Mojito is a great choice here.

With mint leaves and tonnes of ice the texture and wow factor really set your reception alight, too.

How to make a classic Mojito:

  • Take the juice from one lime
  • Add a tsp of granulated sugar
  • Mash with a small handful of mint (add an extra sprig for garnish)
  • Pour in 60ml white rum
  • Top up your tumbler glass with soda water, to taste

This is a great party starter particularly in the summer months, and you can always use less Bacardi if you’re worried about the heavy drinkers or long receptions.


Pimms and lemonade

Looking for a cost-effective reception? Pimms is ideal. This gin-based drink is a winner for many with the added bonus of fruit and cucumber to serve making it look amazing, too.

Pimms and lemonade won’t cost you the earth and will go a lot further than you think, too. Simply make up some jugs and pour.

How to make a jug of Pimms and lemonade:

  • Add ice to your 2 pint jug to about a ¼ of the way up
  • Pour in around 400 ml of Pimms No. 1
  • Add 1200ml of lemonade
  • Add in chopped up strawberries, cucumber, orange, and chopped up mint.

It’s easier to make jugs and pour into your tumblers and you can make a lot more a lot quicker, too.


Mulled wine

Of course, not all weddings happen in the summer and thanks to the great prices you can get for out-of-season weddings in the colder months, we’re seeing weddings right up to Christmas and even in between then and new year.

A perfect winter warmer cocktail for a winter wedding is mulled wine. Hire a water boiler and fill with all the ingredients for a simple, but wonderfully wintery and festive-smelling reception drink. And who doesn’t love mulled wine?!

How to make mulled wine:

  • Pour in one or more bottles of red wine (adjust the below quantities accordingly)

And then for each bottle you use, add:

  • 60g/2oz demerara sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • Push some cloves into the skins of the orange
  • 1 litre of orange juice
  • 1 litre of lemonade
  • 1 dried bay leaf.

Bring to the boil and leave simmering as you serve. You’ll need to hire a mulled wine glass with a handle for this, as the drink will obviously be hot. Serve with mince pies for an extra festive treat.


And then after dark…

Naturally you’ll want to offer cocktails in the evening too, so here are some that are more suited to the evening than the daytime and reception drinks. These can be served at the bar or offered as aperitifs during the speeches.

Here are three of our favourites…



This is a popular Italian cocktail that’s made with gin and Campari. It’s considered a digestif that’s best served after the meal. It’s not for everyone, so certainly not a choice for the reception where you may prefer to choose an aperitif.

How to make a Negroni:

  • 1 oz. dry gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Martini Rosso
  • And then add all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Pour into a small tumbler and garnish with a twist of orange peel.


Aperol Spritz

Another classic Italian cocktail is the Aperol Spritz. Using the very Italian Aperol and adding in some fizz, this is a stylish evening drink that adds some real colour to your event.

Here’s how to make an Aperol Spritz:

What you’ll need:

  • Ice
  • 100ml of Aperol
  • 150ml of prosecco
  • Some soda to top up the glass.

How to make it:

  • Add couple of cubes of ice to your glass
  • Add 50 ml of Aperol
  • Pour enough processo to cover the ice
  • Then top up with soda or more prosecco!

This is best served in a large Primeur wine glass.


Espresso Martini

Need a pick-me-up after a long day of celebrating? This merge of caffeine and alcohol is a real winner for many. It also looks the business in a martini glass with a coffee bean floating on the top!

How to make an Espresso Martini:


  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • Some ice
  • 100ml vodka
  • 50ml espresso coffee
  • 50ml Kahlua
  • Four coffee beans.

How to make it:

  • Pop the caster sugar in a small pan and heat until it becomes a syrup.
  • Allow it to chill.
  • Once cold, pour 1 tbsp into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.
  • Add the vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur and then shake until the outside of the cocktail shaker gets icy cold!

Pour into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with some coffee beans.



And there you have it.  A starting point to help you decide what drinks you could have at your wedding.

Of course, there’s a lot more to a wedding than just the drinks. We’ve created a large guide to creating your own wedding reception here, so do take a look.

If you need help hiring glasses for your wedding, please do get in touch.

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