Ideas for simple "signature" cocktails for a party?
August 12, 2013 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Ideas for simple "signature" cocktails for a party?

A business associate and I are throwing a huge anniversary party for our respective companies - about 400 guests, tons of fabulous event sponsors, etc. It's in a big industrial chic space with a modern club vibe in a major city. The guests are almost all from the special events industry: sophisticated, chic and hip. Probably 60% women, most guests between 25-45 with probably an average age of 35.

We're looking to offer two "signature" cocktails in addition to our (sponsored) local brews and wines. I believe we're leaning toward a vodka-based drink for one, and either gin- or champagne-based for the other. However, there are a few caveats:

(1) We don't know exactly how experienced and savvy the bartenders will be, as their services were donated by a staffing company - I'm not expecting expert mixologists, though maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

(2) We are paying out-of-pocket for the liquor and any mixers, so we'd like to keep the drinks as simple and easily-replicated as possible. No terribly exotic fruits/herbs/mixers please.

(3) No idea if this matters, but our event "colors" are chartreuse, lime and similar shades of green.

(4) The bar will already be offering microbrews, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet, pinot noir, soft drinks, sparkling and still water, and a local smoothie company will be serving alcoholic daiquiris (rum) and non-alcoholic smoothies separately from the bar.

Any suggestions, especially those with recipes, would be very welcome! Thanks so much!
posted by justonegirl to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

Vodka, lime, and ginger beer. They're normally served in copper mugs, but they definitely don't have to be.

They're super good, refreshing, and somehow feel cool to me.
posted by too bad you're not me at 7:01 PM on August 12, 2013 [7 favorites]

Other than the green colors, do you have a theme?
posted by radioamy at 7:01 PM on August 12, 2013

If you don't know how good the bartenders will be, I'm a fan of drinks that have equal ratios for all ingredients. Negronis are good (equal amounts gin, campari, sweet vermouth), as are sidecars (equal amounts brandy/cognac, lemon juice, triple sec). Both could also be made in batches and poured from pitchers, making service even easier. On a different note, if you want something sparkly, it's hard to go wrong with a French 75 (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and topped with sparkling wine. Here's a recipe). With that one, you could do the gin/lemon bit in advance and add the sparkling wine for each person.
posted by Schismatic at 7:02 PM on August 12, 2013

I was at a wedding once where they served pink lemonade that you could have spiked or virgin. Since your color is green, what about limeade?
posted by radioamy at 7:02 PM on August 12, 2013

Kit Royale for a champagne cocktail. Yummy, old-school and elegant. Easy too. Chambourd or a berry liquor and lemon twist. You can use a cheapie champaign. Get a case of Cooks.

A Madras, Sea Breeze or Bay Breeze are MY favorite vodka drinks. Fruit juices keep them from being over imbibed.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:02 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Champagne cocktails are generally comically easy to make, consisting of champers + a dash of some kind of liquor/liqueur/aperitif. here are some ideas. I'm quite partial to bellinis myself (though not, strictly speaking chamapagne). Mimosas are also hard to beat.

You could easily experiment with a few. If you want to stick with green, you could try a midori and champagne mixer. Stay away from creme de menthe!
posted by smoke at 7:03 PM on August 12, 2013

The St. Germain Cocktail (bubbly, soda water, and elderflower liquor)
posted by mkultra at 7:03 PM on August 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's tequila-based, but the Paloma seems to be a trendy cocktail this summer. I'd use lime juice for salting the rim though (or, not bother. )

The other drink I thought of was a Gimlet, which you could do with gin or vodka.
posted by Fig at 7:05 PM on August 12, 2013

I was at a wedding two nights ago that had a brilliant signature cocktail. Mix lemonade, crushed basil, and a little vodka. Multiply this as large as you need. The bartender at the wedding had literally pitchers and pitchers of this made. Just pour that over ice with a little club soda, done. Delicious, easy, and cost effective.
posted by Piano Raptor at 7:05 PM on August 12, 2013

If chartreuse is a color, then how about a Chartreuse cocktail? The Last Word is equal parts gin, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur (Luxardo) and lime juice. Easy to batch because its equal parts.
posted by slkinsey at 7:06 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

I should add that the way to go if you want to have one or two signature cocktails, you don't have to worry if they are difficult to mix. All you do is batch the cocktail, and then the bar staff simply shakes it out or stirs it to order. Or easier yet, just pours it over ice.
posted by slkinsey at 7:09 PM on August 12, 2013

Check out soda syrups--I like P&H Soda Co, and I think Sonoma Syrup Co has more of a national presence; there are others as well. Find the right ratio and mix it with the base spirit and it's pretty tasty.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:14 PM on August 12, 2013

Second slkinsey. The last word is fantastic, green and delicious.
posted by Carillon at 7:14 PM on August 12, 2013

Last word's are amazing, but for this size of crowd they're going to be a.) really expensive, and b.) possibly a bit strong for this kind of event. Without some proper warning I can see people having three or four of them without realizing their cocktail is basically pure liquor. I made a variant a couple years ago that was basically a last word in a long glass topped off with pineapple juice and seltzer, and while it was delicious I still wouldn't consider wasting chartreuse on this big a crowd.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:27 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gin, lemonade and crushed mint leaves. I'm sure it has a name, but even without one it's fab.
posted by edgeways at 7:27 PM on August 12, 2013

Pimms Cup!
posted by barnone at 7:33 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

), as are sidecars (equal amounts brandy/cognac, lemon juice, triple sec).

I've always made these using the Classic Cocktail Ratio of 2 parts strong, one part sweet, one part sour.

If you swap the brandy for gin, you get the Delilah, which is also good. If you swap the brandy for tequila, you get a margarita. If you swap the brandy for rum (and lemon for lime) you get a daiquiri. If you swap the brandy for bourbon, you get something tasty, whose name I don't know. If you swap the brandy for gin and the lemon for lime, and add a dash or two of angostura bitters, you get a Pegu, which is one of my favorites.

If you swap the triple sec for some other sweet thing, and choose your base carefully, you can get really interesting cocktails. (One current favorite, from the bartender at a local restaurant, is a Thai martini, which is cilantro muddled with lime (for the sour) plus light agave nectar (for the sweet) and vodka, served in a glass rimmed with sugar and cayenne. Not quite 2:1:1 on this as the agave nectar is quite sweet. Very good, although too tricky for your needs.

My parents brought me a rum-based guava berry liqueur from a cruise, and that made a fantastic cocktail 2:1:1 with rum and lime juice. We tried it with gin first, though, and it was nasty. So the base does matter.)
posted by leahwrenn at 7:41 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mojitos! They're easy and tasty and green.
posted by blurker at 7:44 PM on August 12, 2013

Was coming in to recommend French 75 but someone beat me to it. Dead simple to make, tasty as hell, and kiiiiind of goes with your colour scheme.
posted by Pomo at 8:11 PM on August 12, 2013

My favorite green drink is Blue Hawaiian. If you want it simple, then just use Pineapple juice, Blue curacao and coconut rum although I am sure there are more complicated iterations. It is super sweet tropical drink.
posted by Jaelma24 at 8:15 PM on August 12, 2013

Instead of Mimosas, I like pink grapefruit juice & champagne, which I call a pink hibiscus. Add a sprig of mint to any drink for some green.
posted by theora55 at 8:32 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

A vodka lemonade is delightful, refreshing and easy to mix. You can use real lemonade if you don't mind the expense/hassle, but the stuff from concentrate is totally fine for these purposes For extra fanciness, rim glasses with sugar and/or muddle or mix in a few berries or mint sprigs, or use an infused raspberry or other fruit vodka of of your choice.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:07 PM on August 12, 2013

My recent easy favorite is vodka with lemon San Pellegrino. Depending on what else I have on hand, I have thrown in fresh basil, lime slices, or frozen blueberries on different occasions.
posted by JannaK at 3:52 AM on August 13, 2013

If you swap bourbon or rye for the vodka in that Mule recipe way above (vodka, ginger ale/beer, lime juice), you have a Buck, which is an old mixture that reaches all the way back to punches and slings for its inspiration, and since Making a Buck is what business does (or should do), I think it'd be an appropriate choice for celebrating your business' sustained buck-making.
posted by notyou at 7:02 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

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