Friday, December 3, 2010

International Inspired Drinks - Bring Some Culture into Your Reception

Drinks are equally as important as the food offerings at a wedding reception and can often times help set the tone; think bottles of cold beer in a wash basin at casual backyard BBQs or expensive champagne at a formal black tie affair.  They can also help couples honor their heritages.  Offering cultural signature cocktails invites people to take part in customs of the bride and groom without being subjected to exotic or “it takes some getting used to” cuisine.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Here is a list of some popular international drinks as well as some long forgotten favorites that would be good additions to any wedding drink menu.

Caipirinha - Brazil
The caipirinha is a national cocktail of Brazil, and is enjoyed in restaurants, bars, and many households throughout the country. Once almost unknown outside Brazil, the drink has become more popular and more widely available in recent years, in large part due to the rising availability of first-rate brands of cachaça, Brazil’s national liquor similar to rum. A Caipirinha is fairly easy to make and only requires a few ingredients: limes, Cachaca or rum, superfine sugar and crushed ice.  Here is a great step by step recipe

Sangria - Spain, Latin America
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Sangría is the classic Spanish accompaniment to summertime meals and a an excellent choice for a hot summertime wedding. I actually had Sangria at my wedding made by my husband on our wedding day. It was rather warm and the sweet wine, fresh fruit and cold ice were a refreshing and delicious way to cool off.  Sangria is relatively easy to make, wine, fruit and a spritzer, although a bit time consuming. Sangria style is up to your taste, traditional with red wine or Sangria Blanco made with white wine. Any combination of fruit will work, peachs, pineapple, oranges, apples and even strawberries.  The great thing about Sangria is you sort of throw it all together, pour over ice and enjoy.  Here' s a recipe to get 
you started but creating your own recipe as you go along makes this your very own wedding drink.

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Irish Coffee - Ireland
Originating in Ireland in the 1940’s, Irish coffee is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream. The coffee is drunk through the cream. The original recipe explicitly uses cream that has not been whipped, although whipped cream is often used. Irish coffee may be considered a variation on the hot toddy.  The coffee cocktail is an excellent choice for evening receptions taking place in colder months.  Here are four recipes to try.

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Asian Inspired Red Lotus
In the Red Lotus cocktail the distinct flavor of lychee is accented with the lighter taste of cranberry. It's an interesting play of flavors that is both intensely sweet and delicately refreshing. The lychee is native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien in southern China and is the most renowned of a group of edible fruits of the soapberry family

Here is a quick easy recipe and info on Lycee.

Singapore Sling
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Developed in Singapore at Raffles' Long Bar in the early 1900's by barman Ngiam Tong Boon , the Singapore Sling is a smooth, slow, sweet cocktail.  The cocktail, whose original recipe has since been lost, was first slung either before 1910 or in 1915 (depending who you believe). It was likely called the Straits Sling at first, but by the 1930s, the name changed to one more befitting the drink’s origin. Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book lists a recipe under both monikers, with the Singapore Sling containing only gin, lemon juice, cherry brandy and soda water. The Straits version looks more like the Sling we know today.
It’s said that the cocktail was intended for women; hence the pinky color. However, Charles H. Baker Jr., upon his fourth round of the mix, noted in his Gentleman’s Companion, that the Singapore Sling was a “delicious, slow-acting, insidious thing,” so it can’t be only the fairer sex who partook. (Credit

Mojito - Cuba
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Cuba is the birthplace of the Mojito, although the exact origin of this classic cocktail is the subject of debate.  Cuba's answer to the mint julep, this drink is perfect for a hot summertime wedding. Mojitos have been around since at least the mid-1800s.  Traditionally made of five ingredients: white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime, sparkling water and mint. Its combination of sweetness, refreshing citrus and mint flavors are intended to complement the potent kick of the rum. Try this mojito recipe.

Some historians contend that African slaves who worked in the Cuban sugar cane fields during the 19th century were instrumental in the cocktail's origin. Guarapo, the sugar cane juice often used in Mojitos,  was a popular drink amongst the slaves who helped coin the name of the sweet nectar. There are several theories behind the origin of the name Mojito; one such theory holds that name relates to mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime and used to flavour dishes.  Another theory is that the name Mojito is simply a derivative of mojadito, Spanish for "a little wet", or simply the diminutive of "mojado" 
(Credit: Wikipedia)
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Pineapple Spice Drink - Ghana
Pineapple Spice Drink is a traditional Ghanaian recipe for a classic drink of pineapple, cloves and ginger infused in boiling water before being strained and chilled.  This is a nice non-alcoholic fruity drink with a slight clover kick.  Add rum to spice it up. Try this recipe and let me know. 

Rum Punch - Caribbean
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Depending on whom you believe, planter's punch was either created by the wife of a Jamaican plantation owner, or at the Planter Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Regardless, this fruity punch has become a popular beverage to serve to guests throughout the Caribbean. Recipes vary widely, but they all contain rum, lime juice and a sweetener or other fruit juices.
Now found on most major Caribbean islands, this punch is refreshing and fruity without being too heavy on the alcohol.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Mimosa - Paris or England?
An oldie but goodie, this is a cocktail-like drink composed of equal parts champagne (or other sparkling wine) and thoroughly chilled orange juice. It is traditionally served in a tall champagne flute with a morning brunch, or to guests at late morning weddings.

The origins of the mimosa are somewhat murky. Allegedly, the drink was invented at the Paris Ritz in 1925, although it bears a striking similarity to another cocktail, the Buck's Fizz, which was introduced in England in 1921, and named after the club in which is was first served. The Buck's Fizz is also traditionally made with champagne and orange juice, although grenadine is sometimes added as well. The name introduced in 1925 comes from the flowers of the mimosa plant, which are yellow and appear slightly frothy from a distance. In Britain, the mixture of orange juice and champagne is still referred to as a Buck's Fizz, while the term mimosa is used in the United States and in most of Europe. (Credit:

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Limoncello - Italy
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy.  True Limoncello is made in Sorrento, from lemons whose trees overlook the Mediterranean.  It is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner palette cleanser. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramic and limoncello production. This tradition has been carried into other parts of Italy.

One of my girlfriend used Limoncello instead of champagne for their wedding toast as a way to pay homage to her new husband's heritage. It was good...too good. 

I had a lot of help putting this together, various internet sources including Wikipedia, and

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