Thursday, March 18, 2010

Non-Alcoholic Wedding Reception?

There is a new trend, one I am fully embracing at my own wedding, and am seeing more and more of my clients doing… the Mocktail Hour! So many couples are now opting for nonalcoholic receptions.

There reasons range from cost, to consideration of alcoholic relatives, to religion, to even legal issues with drivers leaving the reception. Don't worry about your reason for skipping the alcohol, and don't drag your guests in either. "We decided it wasn't necessary" is a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Just because you are not serving alcohol does not mean your reception is limited to the same old soda or ice tea. Although sparkling cider makes a perfectly good substitute for the toasts, I advise being a bit more creative at the beverage table. The best way to avoid looking like you are "cutting costs," is to incorporate it thoughtfully into the theme and décor of your reception.

During my research I have found some really fun ideas, as well as some great tips and recipes to share!

For toasts instead of plain sparkling cider try my personal favorite, the blushing bride.

This drink is lovely served in a martini glass.

5 oz sparkling cider
splash of grenadine
splash of lime juice

Fill glass with sparkling cider and add grenadine and lime juice. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Warm them up! Try an espresso bar: lattes, cappuccino, mochas, and more. For a fall or winter wedding hot cider with cinnamon sticks, hot tea, a hot chocolate bar with marshmallows, whipped cream and various toppings.

Try something fun: A lemonade bar with different flavors or an Italian Soda bar.

And then of course there are my favorite, the mocktails! If there is a bold and predominant color at your reception, perhaps hire a bartender to create and serve a mocktail in a matching tone. These drinks look amazing and taste so great you wont miss the alcohol. Some popular ingredients include pomegranate, Concord grape, pear, grapefruit, blood orange, and herbs like sage, rosemary, basil, and cilantro.

Tony Abou-Ganim, the mocktail guru has an amazing recipe for wild-berry mojito made with fresh fruit and mint: In a 12-ounce glass, muddle 8 to 12 mint leaves, one-and-a-half ounces of mint syrup, a handful of mixed berries, and the juice of one lime. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir until it is reduced by a third. Spritz with soda water and stir.
 Liquid Architecture’s alcohol-free wild raspberry mojito

Or try a hibiscus soda by filling a glass with two ounces of hibiscus syrup (one part tea combined with one part sugar) and topping it off with soda water and a lime wedge.


 on the house

You can also go more traditional, with a lime rickey—the “drinking man’s nonalcoholic drink.” In a tall glass, combine three quarters of an ounce of lime juice with one ounce of simple syrup and top it with club soda; garnish with a lime peel.

istock photos

How about the Virgin Sangria?
Your favorite fruits (I used red delicious apples, oranges, plums, and peaches), sliced artistically
3/4 C homemade grenadine (Pomegranate syrup)
4 C 100% Cranberry Juice
4 C Ginger Ale, cold
The day before you wish to serve this sangria do the following:
In a large bowl place sliced fruits, cover with the cranberry juice and the pomegranate syrup.
Refrigerate overnight. Also have the ginger ale cooling in the fridge.
At service:
In an attractive serving pitcher add ice and the 4 cups of ginger ale.
To this add fruit chunks and the soaking liquid. Serve and enjoy.

Now for all you who are looking for a traditional southern drink without the kick to it, try the Virgin Mint Julep.

1 ounce lime juice (or juice of 1/2 lime)

1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce raspberry flavored syrup
club soda, to fill glass
4 crushed mint leaves

1. Combine all ingredients except club soda in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake well.
2. Strain into collins glass. Add club soda and stir gently.
3. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

not an L.A. mocktail by code_martial 

Ugo Italian Bar in Culver City presents an array of juicy virgin cocktails you can easily duplicate.
• Bubbly Bellini: Peach Bellini, grenadine and club soda
• Gingerly: Cranberry juice, orange juice and ginger ale
• The Grenadini: Grenadine, orange juice and pineapple juice
• Pomegranate Palmer: Iced tea, lemonade and pomegranate juice
• Spring Fever: Lemon juice, apple juice, blood orange juice and mango

There are so many great options, so just because you aren’t interested in tying one on does not mean you are stuck with ice tea or soda!


  1. Great idea! I think we will be doing this at our wedding.

  2. It's really impossible to throw Non- alcoholic wedding. But still there are many people who strictly don't serve drinks to their guest. Well, i attended a wedding at Seattle venues which was wedding of vegan. It was nice though.