Drinks for the Big Day

Photographs by Greta Rybus
Written by Katy Kelleher


When it comes to wedding cocktails, there are a few things that matter above all else, according to Andrew Volk of the highly praised bar Portland Hunt and Alpine Club. “For a wedding, you want cocktails that look good, that taste good, and drinks that are easy and can please a crowd,”  he advises. “It’s also nice to have seasonal drinks, and to use local Maine ingredients.” To that end, Volk has created eight attractive, easy, and creative cocktails that are sure to make your guests very happy.



This striking drink uses lavender mead to create a soft floral flavor. “It’s a more sophisticated white wine spritzer,” Volk says. Garnish with a fresh sprig of lavender, and you have the perfect cocktail for sipping as the bridal party prepares for the big day.

Ingredients + Directions:

1 oz. Maine Mead Works Lavender Mead

1 1/2 oz. Cocchi Americano

Add to a ten-ounce rocks glass filled with ice. Top with soda. Garnish with a lavender (or rosemary) sprig.




This deceptively light cocktail would pair brilliantly with a late-summer wedding. Strawberry and fennel syrup adds a surprising depth of flavor, and bubbles keep it festive and fun.

Ingredients + Directions:

1/2 oz. Royal Rose Strawberry Fennel Syrup

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Combine in a champagne flute.

Fill with sparkling wine.

Garnish with a strawberry slice or lemon twist.




Nothing says summer quite like fresh watermelon, and thanks to Twenty 2’s High Proof Spirit (an alcohol made specifically for infusions), creating a flavorful cocktail has never been easier. Do your prep ahead of time, and serve as the reception swings into gear.

Ingredients + Directions:

Serves 30. Combine 20 ounce Twenty 2 Vodka’s High Proof Spirit with as much fresh watermelon as possible (about half of a small melon). Let stand for two to four hours. Strain off any solids remaining, trying to retain as much juice as possible.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup hot water.

Combine simple syrup and watermelon spirit with approximately eight ounces fresh lemon juice and 48 ounces soda water.

Serve in a punch bowl with ice and fresh watermelon cubes.




“This is essentially a rum manhattan with a few bubbles on top,” says Volk. The classic cocktail gets new life in this creation, but retains its signature kick, thanks to the Maine-made Rusticator Rum.

Ingredients + Directions:

2 oz. Rusticator Rum

1 oz. sweet vermouth

splash of sparkling wine

Add to a ten ounce-Old Fashioned glass. Fill with ice. Stir. Top with sparkling wine.




“The recipe I use for bloody marys is incredibly simple,” says Volk. Yet, despite the bare-bones approach, this remains his favorite recipe.

Ingredients + Directions:

1 1/2 oz. Back River Gin

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. horseradish (or to taste)

Two turns of a black pepper grinder

1/4 tsp. celery salt

4 dashes Tabasco

4 oz. tomato juice

Add ice and gently combine or stir. Garnish with pickled vegetables, an olive, lime wedge, or anything else that seems appropriate.




Cocktails with beer are trendy right now, and for good reason: they taste fantastic. A slightly more masculine offering, this drink is fresh and light, and thanks to the inclusion of Maine blueberry liquor, it also packs a subtle punch.

Ingredients + Directions:

1 oz. Maine Craft Distilling Blueshine

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz. simple syrup

Allagash White

Combine all ingredients in mixing tin. Shake with ice. Strain into a pint glass filled with fresh ice. Fill with Allagash White.




An easy way to please a crowd is by mixing up a big bowl of fruity, fresh punch. With fresh lemon and blueberry vodka, this is a versatile drink that would be equally tasty no matter the season. For a less alcoholic version, you can swap out the sparkling wine for a bottle of soda water.

Ingredients + Directions:

Serves 12. Peel four lemons, trying to leave as much pith on the fruit as possible. Mix the lemon peels with half a cup of sugar. Muddle and let rest for two to four hours. This creates a lemon-oil infused sugar. Add just enough hot water to dissolve the sugar. Discard the peels. Juice the lemons and combine that juice (approximately 1/4 cup) with 15 ounce Cold River Blueberry vodka. Add one 750 milliliter bottle of chilled sparkling wine. Serve in a punch bowl filled with ice and blueberries.




Cold-weather weddings can be lovely—especially if you have a nice hot drink to warm you up. New England Distilling’s Gunpowder Rye is a new offering from the local company, and it pairs perfectly with sweet, spicy cider.

Ingredients + Directions:

1/2 gallon apple cider

1 1/2 oz. Gunpowder Rye


Heat a half gallon of apple cider with four cinnamon sticks, one star anise pod, and five allspice berries until it almost boils. Pour one and one half ounce of New England Distilling’s Gunpowder Rye into a warmed mug. Top with warm cider.

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