I am obsessed with cocktails. Not only do I love concocting them in my spare time, but I love collecting old cocktail recipe books, going to tastings, and sampling the creations of my local mixologists in New York City. I was surprised to learn that many of our American cocktail traditions are mirrored on the other side of the pond, and to spectacular results. With such an affair like the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle rapidly approaching, I find myself incredibly curious as to what sort of royal wedding cocktails will be served at the grand event. Will it be traditional British gin, or will they go wild and throw in some American essentials like bourbon or moonshine?
Only time will tell what's served on the big day, but if we're going by past parties, there will be plenty of champagne, loads of gin, and a variety of spirits from around the world. No expense will be spared for these two love birds, and the drinks will flow all night long. After diligently scouring vintage cocktail books like that of the Savoy Hotel in London, examining the party planner's cocktail style, and considering the season and the bride and groom, I've compiled a list of cocktails that might mimic some of those that will be passed about at the royal reception.
Cherry Soda Punch
This cocktail that I created a few years ago has all the hits of spring. Fresh mint, ripe cherries, and the ever-present British cocktail ingredient, gin. If you're in the states, a Michigan red sweet cherry works well, but the U.K. has many cherry varieties that often pop up in their cocktails.
- 10 cherries
- 3 ounces Tito’s vodka
- 1/2 ounce limoncello
- 1 ounce Beefeater or Hendricks gin
- 4 ounces ginger ale
- squeeze of one lemon
- sprig of mint
Pit the cherries and muddle them with the limoncello in the bottom of a cocktail shaker by mashing them with the back of a wooden spoon. Add other liquors and lemon juice and shake well — no ice. Pour ginger ale over ice in two rocks glasses, and add liquor and cherries into equal parts in both glasses. Garnish with more lemon, cherries, and mint.
- 2/3 ounce Dry Gin
- 1/4 ounce Grenadine
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- White of I Egg
Combine ingredients and shake very briskly. Strain into a wine glass.
You can't hit up a British bar in the springtime without seeing one of these drinks featured. The tart berries and lemon juice combined with the herby gin will almost assuredly be served at the royal wedding, if only because of its ubiquity in British culture. I've managed a fair mimic breaking it down into ounces for us Yankees.
- 2 ounces of Plymouth gin
- the juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- 3 tablespoons of creme de mure or Chambord
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour over crushed ice, adding a few blackberries and a lemon wheel.
Fig & Citron Champagne Cocktail
We know that the royal chef, Mark Flanagan is trying to design a classy, seasonal affair for the couple, as per The Standard, and that includes making generous use of vast champagne stores in the royal cellars. This drink, the fig and citron champagne cocktail that I created, hits on all of these points as well as tipping the hat at the British traditional wedding fruit cake. (Bonus points awarded for not being a fruit cake.)
- 5 figs, sliced
- 1 lemon or lime, sliced in half
- 1 lemon or lime sliced for garnish
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 3 ounces of gin (ice cold)
- 10 ounces of champagne
Bring the water and sugar to a boil on medium, and once the sugar is dissolved, add the sliced figs and lime or lemon. Simmer on low for 20 minutes and then let cool completely. Pour 2 tablespoons of the fig simple syrup and a few of the figs in each of the two flutes. Add 1.5 ounces of gin to each flute, top with champagne, and stir.
Chances are, if there's even a hint of warmth in the air in the U.K., someone is holding the classic Pimm's cup cocktail. Made with lemonade and the slightly sweet Pimm's #1, this drink is as British as driving on the wrong side of the street.
- slices of cucumber, lemon, and berries
- 2/3 cup Pimm's #1 (It's not a high proof alcohol like vodka)
- 1/2 cup sparkling lemonade like Lorina or San Pellegrino
- sprig of mint
Stir all ingredients in a glass with ice. Preferably serve with a British accent.
Classic Gin & Tonic
Are you really at a British wedding if you didn't have at least two gin and tonics? True story, I think I had five at my brother's wedding. I regretted so much in the morning.
The classic calls for one part gin to one part tonic, but you can go as high as 1:3 gin to tonic. Or, in the case of my late, great aunt, a few ounces of London Dry gin, twist of lime, splash of tonic. A glance of tonic, if you will. She lived to be over 90, so I'd say she's onto something.
The Gin Fizz
This cocktail is only suitable to order at fancy events unless you want your local barkeep to hate you so hard he pours lime juice in your sidecar the next time you go in. It's a complex drink made with orange blossom essence and egg white, and it requires two different shaking sequences to perfect. But if you're at home and looking for a royally fit drink, give it a try.