Supermarkets, restaurants and cafes have been quick to adapt their menus to suit the new generation of health-conscious consumers, and why should wedding catering be any different? Newspapers and trade magazines have been quick to label ‘Low and No Alcohol’ as a key trend for 2017. Let’s look at how and why you should incorporate teetotal luxury into your wedding day with mocktails and soft drink options.
Thanks to a recent trend towards healthier living, up to a fifth of your wedding guests will statistically be teetotal (based on the UK national figure). That’s before you take those who are pregnant, driving or underage into consideration. Furthermore, whereas the under-thirties used to consume the most alcohol per capita in the UK, recent studies have shown the complete reversal of this trend. So, don’t be surprised if the best man reaches for a Shirley Temple to calm his nerves before his big speech.
Cocktails for All
Aside from catering to guests’ healthier lifestyles, there is another major reason for offering tasty and well-presented non-alcoholic drinks at your wedding.
Nobody wants to be the ‘odd one out’, and non-alcoholic cocktails, or ‘mocktails’, are perfect for making your teetotal guests feel included. Gone are the days when options were limited to water or a soft drink. Cocktail bars, hotels and restaurants around the world are formulating artisan mocktail menus to cater to the health-conscious.
On top of this, dedicated mocktail bars in cities such as London are boosting the trend. Many also offer sugar and additive-free options, as well as stunning presentation. Alcohol-free spirits are sometimes added for a ‘realistic’ taste, and the prices are staggeringly similar to alcoholic cocktails.
The success of these bars would suggest that non-drinkers still want to drink something ‘special’ at an occasion such as a wedding. We think a signature mocktail served at your reception or cocktail hour can add a personal touch to your drinks service. It also provides an interesting option to non-drinkers and children, crucial if you want your wedding to stand out amongst the crowd.
Here are some of our favourite mocktail recipes should you choose to ditch the booze at your wedding:
- 500ml Apple Juice
- 50ml Elderflower Cordial
- 500ml Ginger Ale
- 150ml Soda Water (Approx)
- Slice of Apple
- Sprig of Mint
Mix all the ingredients in a jug and serve over ice, garnishing with mint and apple.
Virgin Moscow Mule
- 30ml Lime Juice
- 90ml Ginger Beer
- 40ml Soda
- 1 tbsp Sugar Syrup
Simply add the ingredients to a glass full of ice and stir.
- 200g Frozen Raspberries (Plus Extra for Garnish)
- 3 Unwaxed Lemons, Roughly Chopped
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp of Liquid Stevia Sweetener
- Sparkling or Still Water to Serve
Put the raspberries, lemons and sweetener in a blender with 400ml water. Blitz until smooth, then push though a sieve, pressing hard to squeeze as much liquid through as possible. Serve 1 part Raspberry Lemonade diluted with 2 parts sparkling or still water, plenty of ice and a few extra raspberries to garnish.
- 5 – 6 Sprigs of Fresh Mint
- 1/2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- Juice of Half a Lime
- Crushed Ice
Muddle the mint with the lime juice, sugar and a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a tall glass over more ice and top up with soda.
Other Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas
If a mocktail isn’t right for your wedding you could consider investing in some interesting botanical fizzy drinks (see Cawston Press or Fentimans’). These are a cheaper but still thoughtful option and work especially well for an outdoor summer wedding. Serve them on ice in their cans, preferably in a quirky receptacle (current Pinterest favourites include bathtubs and wheelbarrows).
Iced teas also work well and have proven popular at American weddings. Serve in glass milk bottles with straws or from large glass drinks dispensers for guests to help themselves.
For ultimate discretion, brands such as Kopparberg and Beck’s offer alcohol-free versions of their well-known drinks. Whilst not as personal or creative as a mocktail, this would be perfect for smaller weddings or in cases where you’re not sure how the non-alcoholic options will fare.
Non-Alcoholic Drink Pairing
Leading fine-dining restaurants (including Noma in Copenhagen, four times voted the best restaurant in the world) have recently led the way in offering a non-alcoholic drinks pairing option to go alongside tasting menus.
Most couples opt for wines which complement their food choices, so why should non-drinkers be left out? Make like the Michelin chefs and offer a fresh juice pairing, or serve non-alcoholic red and white wine to suit the menu.
Recent years have seen wine alternatives made with verjuice (unripened grape juice) and beetroot or elderflower to give a realistic dryness and aftertaste. Low-alcohol wines are, of course, also an option.
Social media has boosted the popularity of ‘build-your-own’ stations at weddings across the globe (but particularly in the U.S.). We’ve seen ice cream sundae bars, hot chocolate stations and even mashed potato bars – but we think a DIY mocktail bar could trump them all. This would be especially fun for children and families. You could also provide spirits (supervised by a member of staff, of course) creating a shared experience for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.
Fun ingredients could include:
- Lemon and lime slices
- Maraschino cherries
- Elderflower cordial
- Mango puree
- Edible flowers
- Crushed ice
All served, of course, with lemonade, fresh fruit, juice and cocktail umbrellas.
For more ideas read Wedding Reception Drinks – Impressive Soft Drink Options.
Guest post by Julie Gray of Bovingdons
Lemonade Shack: Amanda Karen Photography
Drinks Station: Blumenthal Photography
All other Images from Pixabay