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Shake instead of Sparkle?

July 18, 2011 by John Collingwood

This is a little piece I wrote for Wedding Sugar about cocktails at weddings and how they can be improved dramatically.

There are not many things in the world that can instantly transport you back in time. A cocktail is one of them. How is this possible? In my eyes, a cocktail is a catalyst, it propels you back to a point in your life where you will have been in the company of loved ones…may it be your partner, friends or family. It may bring back memories of your first date, the first holiday you had together on a tropical paradise. The beautiful thing is that these are your own memories and what better way to share them, than on the most important day of your life.

I love everything that surrounds a cocktail, from the way it is presented, the aromas that drift up from it, to the taste that tickles your mouth with bursts of perfectly complimented flavours

So why is it when you go to a wedding, the drinks on offer do not reflect the effort you have made on everything else. The thousands of pounds spent on the venue, the flowers, the ‘perfect dress’ that makes you feel and look like a princess, the beautiful food, that you deliberated for hours about what is the perfect menu and don’t forget to mention the invites and table plan!!!

But for whatever reason drinks are sometimes overlooked.

Yes you want the champagne for the toast, but how awesome would it be when guests arrive you have designed a cocktail menu that encapsulates your love for one another. The special times in your lives that can be perfectly recreated in a beautifully bespoke cocktail.

My principle is based around the first bite is in the eye, i.e. if it looks delicious, then it will taste delicious, but I like to tease all the other senses, as these combine together to create a total sensory experience.

But what cocktail I create is purely down to you…! I just need a few hints, such as whether you like your drink to be long / short, what spirits, if you like any particular fruit to be included etc or whether it is to replicate a particular moment. Once I have this wish list then I can simply work my magic and develop something truly personal to you.

For example my amazing Sis, Clare, got married a couple of years ago and asked whether I could create some delicious cocktails for their afternoon reception. They were not to strong, but have a beautiful flavour to them, encapsulating the wonderful Northumbria countryside, where they now lived.

This is what I came up with,

Collingwood Fizz

50ml Martini Bianco
50ml Fresh Apple Juice
5ml Apple & Ginger Cordial
5ml Elderflower Cordial
10 Blueberries
4 Lemon Squeezes
Top with Soda
Lemon zest Garnish

The great thing about Vermouth is that is it very aromatic and flavoursome. It is normally around 15% abv, so for every cocktail you make, the guests will be drinking the equivalent of about 1/3 glass of wine. Therefore it is a perfect base for an afternoon cocktail, whereby guests will not ‘peak’ to early and enjoy the festivities responsibly.

Let me introduce myself…my name is John Collingwood and I am the founder of Want to Impress, who’s mission is to bring beautifully made and bespoke cocktails to any event. We have a fabulous team of extremely talented mixologists and no matter what your cocktail wishes, we will make them come true

Therefore I would like you lovely folk to send me a brief, outlining what kind of drinks you would like served and the first person who does so…will get a wedding menu designed for free! (RRP £325)

So don’t be a stranger get in touch and you could have drinks that look like this being served on your big day.

John