Serving Up Sensational Cocktails by Food Designer, Peter Callahan

Con Poulos

Some of my most creative food ideas are woven around cocktails. Every wedding needs an excellent variety of beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  At the minimum, full-service cocktail bars should be readily available adequately stocked (not to mention staffed) and waiters should be ready with trays of sparkling water as guests arrive. Adding a signature cocktail or a specialty beverage bar is just the cherry on the bar service sundae. {Above, my Watermelon Margarita; Below, my homemade Grappa shots.}

Phil Kramer

The real key in making any cocktail rock is to use fresh-squeezed or pressed juices, be it from a lime, watermelon, or cranberry. Fresh juice makes the most amazing-tasting and vibrantly colorful drinks, embellished with alcohol or not.  However, it’s often the accessories that bring my drinks to a whole new level. Like a fabulously detailed serving tray lined with herbs, flowers and sugar or a precisely cut watermelon wedge as seen above on my Watermelon Margarita. For many events, the signature drink or specialty bar are inspired by the bridal couple themselves, their interests, a favorite drink they shared while traveling or from a restaurant they enjoy.

Ross Whitaker

My forte with signature cocktail bars is to highlight the ingredients, turning them into a part of the overall decor presentation of the event.  As seen above, one of my absolutely favorite cocktail bar presentations for weddings is a Sgroppino Bar. A long-standing summer cocktail that hails from Venice, Italy, the Sgroppino is a cross between a champagne cocktail and a dessert.  That’s right, this sexy cocktail is made with French champagne or prosecco, an Italian white wine — generally a Dry or Extra Dry sparkling wine — normally made from Glera (“Prosecco”) grapes.  A Sgroppino has a frozen frothiness to it and is fantastic with a little Limoncello Liqueur drizzled over the top!  I like to whisk large batches of Sgroppinos in a large iced copper bowl right in front of wedding guests, the action (and result!) always draws a crowd.  Below, my delicious Mint Martinis are the kind of beverage that when served to guests as the arrive at a wedding on a hot summer day, leaves them refreshed and ready to enjoy the celebration!  Salut! Peter Callahan of Peter Callahan Catering

Ross Whitaker