Summer is here (supposedly) and inevitably, that also means it’s Wedding Season™. We’ve recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and that got me thinking about some of the things we made for the wedding that I haven’t got around to sharing with you all yet. Last month I divulged my recipe for the first tier of our wedding cake (yep, I made it myself), but other than that this blog has been pretty much wedding-free. Until now. Because I’ve got not one, but three(!) easy recipes for some big batch cocktails, which are absolutely perfect for a wedding/christening/Saturday.
As you will see above, our wedding guests were treated to four different drinks when they arrived for our reception – three of which I will be sharing the recipe for today. The fourth? Cloudy lemonade, which we didn’t make ourselves. Although, if you’re looking for a recipe for something equally as yummy and alcohol-free, check out my mint limeade and peach lemonade recipes. You won’t regret it!
So, first up, we’ve got the most quintessentially British summer wedding drink – Pimm’s. I’m not sure if this is a ‘thing’ in the rest of the world, but in Britain a summer party isn’t an actual party without a jug of Pimm’s. It’s basically a spicy liqueur that 99% of the time gets mixed with lemonade (not cloudy, but the kind that looks like Sprite). It’s also pretty much compulsory to put some chopped fruit, cucumber, and a bit of mint in there too. It’s tradition.
Making a jug of Pimm’s is as easy as filling a jug a quarter way up with Pimm’s No. 1, and then topping up with clear lemonade, some orange wedges, strawberries, cucumber slices, and mint. And ice too, of course. I’ll give you the proper measurements in the recipe below, but to be honest, if you’e anything like me then you’ve probably made it dozens of times before.
Plus, it tells you on the back of the bottle.
Love Pimm’s a bit too much? Then you’re also going love the Pimm’s Cupcakes I shared last month.
This one’s a bit of a weird one, because somehow combining three things that I don’t really care for manages to create a delicious cocktail. It’s mixology magic. See also: Long Island Iced Tea.
So, we’ve got grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and vodka. And that’s it. I like to add some wedges of fresh lime in there too, because it creates the best colour combination in cocktail history. I get such heart-eyes for pale pink and green in a glass:
And yes, gold paper straws are compulsory for all weddings.
I don’t know why, but every time I say the name of this cocktail in my head, I pronounce it Mos-COW, rather than Mosc-OH. All those American TV binges are finally affecting my brain.
This is one of my wife’s favourite cocktails, because of all the ginger beer. It’s a sort of gingery Mojito, but with vodka instead of rum, and no sugar. Okay, so not much like a Mojito at all. But if you are a Mojito fan (and who isn’t) then chances are you’re going to love this drink just as much (and these Mojito cupcakes, obvs).
Plus, the fact that more often than not a Moscow Mule comes served in a cute little copper mug is a plus.
Yeah, I had to buy some for this blog post. What a hardship.
At our wedding they were served in a tall glass, just like the other drinks, because the budget didn’t stretch to a hundred copper mugs, as sad as that is. But, served with ice, a slice of lime, a sprig of mint, and a cute straw or stirrer, they will definitely prove to be a hit.
Don’t want to splash out on a load of copper mugs? Then I am all about copper straws at the moment. You can get paper ones or metal ones, perfect for whatever budget.
How Much Do We Need?
As you’ll see from the photo at the very top of this post, we served these cocktails in big drinks dispensers. In fact, at the time of writing this you can still get the same ones as us, from John Lewis. They hold about 12 litres each, meaning we had about 48 litres of drink on tap for the hour and a half our guests were milling about drinking cocktails and eating ice cream.
Bearing in mind that we had about 75 day guests, this worked out at just over half a litre each (or two glasses), and was pretty much spot on. It was a warm day, but if it had been hotter than I expect this wouldn’t have been quite enough to keep people happy.
DIY Big Batch Cocktails
If you’re going to be making your own wedding drinks like we did, it’s definitely best to keep things as simple as possible. Choose cocktails that have three or less ingredients, and can easily be thrown together into a pitcher or drink dispenser and mixed together. You don’t want anything that requires effort. Therefore, how ever much you want them, please avoid Mojitos.
Make sure you have something non-alcoholic available too. We went for some cloudy lemonade, which was perfect for the summer wedding vibe. Don’t make your own lemonade – the store bought stuff is great, especially when jazzed up with some lemon wedges, ice, and a fancy straw. You could also try making mocktails instead (both a Sea Breeze and Moscow Mule would be just as great without the vodka).
Pre-chop any fruit you’re going to be adding to the mix either the night before (and keep in the fridge) or get someone else to do it on the wedding morning. We didn’t add the ice to the drinks dispensers, and instead put it in the glasses. This meant that the drinks didn’t get watered down before being served, and also meant that the guests actually had the ice in their glasses whilst drinking it.
- 250ml (1 cup) Pimm's No. 1
- 600ml (2½ cups) clear lemonade (approx.)
- 6 strawberries, halved
- 1 orange, chopped into wedges
- ¼ cucumber, sliced
- Fresh mint sprigs
- 200ml (¾ cup) vodka
- 475ml (2 cups) grapefruit juice
- 250ml (1 cup) cranberry juice
- 2 limes, chopped into wedges
- 250ml (1 cup) vodka
- 125ml (½ cup) lime juice
- 500ml (2 cups) ginger beer
- 2 limes, chopped into wedges
- Fresh mint sprigs
- Pour the Pimm's No.1 into a 1 litre jug or pitcher. Add the chopped fruit, cucumber slices, and ice, and fill to the top with lemonade (about 600ml). Give the jug a good stir, and serve in tall glasses with a straw and mint sprig garnish.
- Pour the vodka, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice into a 1 litre jug or pitcher. Give the cocktail a good stir, and add lime wedges and ice. Serve in tall glasses with cute straws.
- Pour the vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer into a 1 litre jug or pitcher. Give the cocktail a stir, and add the lime wedges and ice. Serve in copper mugs or tall glasses, with mint sprigs.
I also think that the peach lemonade you made would be perfect. I do feel that I could have made the drinks jars look really fancy given the time – and they were supposed to have cut fruit in all of them!. Probably we would have had time if we hadn’t also made all of our wedding lunch, our cake, decorated our venue, prepped and set up our bar, done all our own stationery, made a ceremony video, etc, etc…
People love a Moscow Mule on a hot day!
Thanks you so much for this ! My wife and I are throwing a big party for 70 people and we found this very helpful. I have a question about the Pimmi prep please . You mentioning using Clear Lemonade . Could ou maybe share what you used ? The challenge is that I live in Germany and you either get 100% direct juice from a Lemon or a lemon flavored soda like Sprite. Thanks !
Hello 🙂 Lemon flavoured soda like Sprite is exactly what you need to use. I think that Sprite is actually lemon-lime flavoured (which would be fine) but if you can find a soda that is just lemon flavoured that would be even better! We just used our UK supermarket own-brand lemonade. Hopefully that helps, and good luck with your party!
Connie Moore says
How far in advance can you make the sea breeze?
Do you have big batch recipes for winter parties?
I would say the morning of the wedding or party is fine, the night before might be pushing it.
I haven’t got any winter cocktail recipes – but once I’m back blogging again I will keep it in mind ?
Why should we avoid mojitos? Care to explain please?
Hi Marina. Mojitos usually require crushing up fresh mint leaves in the glass, and therefore don’t translate very well to being made ahead of time in a pitcher. Also, too many mint leaves in a drinks dispenser like we used could cause the tap to get blocked up.
If you are set on mojitos, you could adapt a recipe to skip out the fresh mint and instead add a mint simple syrup (google ‘mint simple syrup’ for loads of recipes). Hope that clears things up a little!
Cathy Byrne says
Thank You,, I’m going to make these for day two of our daughter’s wedding on 6th July.
We are hosting it at home in the garden and are expecting 100 people so these are ideal.
Any further tips gratefully welcomed!
I hope the wedding was a success Cathy!
Aisha Ellis says
These look yummy!
May I know what is clear lemonade? Just regular lemonade?
Clear lemonade is fizzy and looks like Sprite. Cloudy lemonade is yellow and usually not fizzy (the type that kids make and sell on a lemonade stand). Hope that helps!