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Creative custom cocktails add a splash of personality to receptions

Left to Right: Mint Julip, Pointsetta,Roses in May, Pumpkin Pie Martini, Vodka Sunrise/Sunset, Mojito.
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Left to Right: Mint Julip, Pointsetta,Roses in May, Pumpkin Pie Martini, Vodka Sunrise/Sunset, Mojito.
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The color that defined Elaina and Vincent Renda's June 23, 2012 wedding was guava.

The bridesmaids were dressed in gowns tinted the vibrant pink shade of the luscious tropical fruit; the groomsmen's vests, the Gerbera daisies and the roses were chosen to match, and the couple's signature drink, the Guavatini, was custom-created to do so too.

The drink, which Elaina described as a fruity, cosmo-like creation, rushed in a deep pink stream along an ice luge beveled with the couple's initials, before cascading into waiting glasses at their reception, held at Mallozzi's Ballroom in Schenectady.

More and more couples are using custom drinks to add an extra splash of originality to their big day, said Jay Larkin, an instructor for Schenectady County Community College's School of Hotel Culinary Arts and Tourism. Larkin teaches a mixology course and bar tends at weddings throughout the Capital Region.

Signature drinks are typically created in concert with a wedding planner and bartender, he said. Some are discussed well prior to the big day and are advertised with detailed signage during the reception, while others are concocted on the spot.

"Anything to set apart someone's day further and make it something that lingers in the guests' minds is the drive behind it," Larkin said.

Signature drinks might be chosen to match a color palette or to please the bride and groom's palates.

Seasonality is another factor that typically comes into play, Larkin noted.

"In springtime and warmer weather, you want lighter drinks," he said. One of his warm weather wedding favorites is "Roses in May," a crisp combination of champagne, triple sec and cranberry juice.

"From a color standpoint, it's magnificent, and from a taste standpoint, it's very refreshing. It's got the subtle sweetness of the triple sec added in there as well," he said.

Colder months call for heartier libations. One of Larkin's popular fall wedding concoctions is the Pumpkin Pie Martini, a mouth-watering mingling of vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, milk and pumpkin pie spice, topped with a dusting of cinnamon.

"It's got a wonderful visual component in the frothiness that's created, as well as the color, because you don't see many drinks that have that vibrant an orange hue to it," he said.



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