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10 iconic vintage cocktails you need at your wedding reception

Image from Brides of Oaklahoma

Today's post is all about booze. Gone are the days of just a bottle of white on the table at the wedding breakfast (although that's still welcome, naturally!) Guests are being spoiled with all kinds of delicious libations and brides and grooms are really pushing the boat out when deciding what drinks to choose for their reception. So we're here to help you with our selection of the 10 iconic vintage cocktails you need at your wedding reception. From Side Car and Martini cocktails to Gin Fizz and Long Island Ice Teas, there's something for every palette! Shirley Temple anyone?

1. Old Fashioned

Image from Bev Spot

If anyone watches MadMen, they might well spot this as being Mr Draper's choice tipple but apparently it pre-dates the 1960s and was invented way back in 1800. It's classic, pure American and oozes vintage style. Who wouldn't want to be seen sipping this at the bar?!


A measure of whiskey (single malt is best)

Sugar cube or cocktail syrup to sweeten

A few drops of Angustura bitters

Orange slices

Marachino cherries on the stalk

Plenty of ice!

2. French 75

Image from Chandeliers and Champagne

This little pretty has been popping up at weddings as a 'new' cocktail of choice but actually its vintage credentials are second to none. This prohibition tipple gives a fab twist on the traditional gin cocktail with all sorts of lovely additions such as rhubarb, ginger and elderflower - yum!


125 ml pink gin

60 ml of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

4 tsp sugar

Champagne to top up

3. Shirley Temple

Image from Baker's Table

This summery cocktail is great because it can be both cocktail and mocktail so your abstaining guests (and children) can enjoy participating without looking like they are just drinking a diet coke. Named after the eponymous little Hollywood actress, the original Shirley Temple recipe from the 1930s was made up of a glass of ginger ale on the rocks with a measure of grenadine and occasionally, to add some colour, a dash of orange juice. Today, the ginger ale is swapped for Sprite and to create the cocktail version, vodka or white rum can be added.


Maraschino cherry juice or Grenadine

Sprite of ginger ale

Dash of vodka or white rum (if desired)

Cherries and orange slices to decorate

Pretty as the little madam herself, this layered Shirley Temple recipe can be found over on Butter with a side of Bread.

4. Grasshopper

Image from The Social Sipper

Boozy milkshakes are always worth considering, and for a ceremony in spring or summer, this fun and frivolous cocktail really fits the bill. Sweet, minty, creamy and very 1920s. According to cocktail lore, the drink – dubbed the Grasshopper due to its vibrant green colour – derives from heart of New Orlean's French quarter and was invented by a bar owner called Philip Guichet for a cocktail competition. Well it's a winner in our books!


1 measure of cognac

1 measure of green creme de menthe

1 measure of white creme de cacao

1 1/2 oz of double cream

Chocolate shavings to decorate

5. Sidecar

Image by Erin Kunkel for Country Living

This classic cocktail has also seen a revival with lots of delicious twists to the original recipe but its origins are somewhat murky with reports that it was invented after WWI in a bar in New York, or was it a pub in London? Or maybe it was created at The Ritz in Paris? All the stories agree on one thing; it was named after the sidecar of a motorbike, popular at the time, and contains whiskey, orange liqueor and fresh lemon juice served in a glass with a sugared rim. Whatever the real story, the sidecar makes a refreshing and classic cocktail to offer your guests.


2 tbsp. sugar, for glass rim

1 measure of bourbon

1 measure of fresh lemon juice

1 measure of orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)

Image by Maddie Eisenhart

6. La Paloma

Image by Toby Scott for Sainsbury's Magazine

When you think of Mexican cocktails, the margarita springs to mind but dig a little deeper and you'll find the hidden gem of Mexico; La Paloma. Traditionally, this pretty pink cocktail is served on the rocks and comprises tequila, fresh lime juice and grapefruit-flavoured soda.

Again, this cocktail is shrouded in mystery but one Don Javier Delgado Corona is purported to be its legendary creator. If you're plumping for Mexican style food at your reception, serving La Paloma will elevate you in the vintage style stakes!


1 1/2 shots of white tequila

Juice of half a ruby grape fruit

1/2 shot of agave syrup or sugar syrup

75ml soda water

A squirt of fresh lime juice

7. Tom Collins

Image from Inspired Taste

This iconic cocktail wouldn't look out of place in Joan Holloway's hand at a Manhattan bar after hours, and why not? This gin drink is plenty good! And, if you're bored with Tom, you can always have John too! In fact, there are actually three Collins - John, Tom and uncle Vodka. John contains American whiskey, Tom contains gin and well, uncle Vodka...

Created in 1876 by Jerry Thomas the so-called 'Father of American Mixology' it's a fun sparkling gin and lemon drink served over ice. The recipe for all three Collins is the same: it's a fun cocktail that will keep the dancers dancing all night!


1½ ounces American whiskey (bourbon or rye)

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ simple syrup

4 ounces of soda water

Cherry and orange slice for garnish


8. Bees Knees

Image from Cookie and Kate

Any flapper lover worth her salt will be familiar with this cheeky cocktail! Born during the Prohibition era when bath tub gin was all you could get your hands on, someone decided it might taste better mixed with honey and a squeeze of lemon. And they were right! Bees Knees was invented!


50 ml gin

20 ml lemon juice

1 tbsp. runny honey

Lemon twist, to serve

9. Brandy Alexander

Image from Vikalinka

Creamy, chocolatey, deliciously smooth, this cocktail doubles as a dessert! John Lennon's drink of choice, this silky beverage is a close relation of the Grasshopper and came into being around the early 1900. It enjoyed huge popularity in the 1950s (maybe because they were all milkshake mad) but tailed off again and regained its popularity in the 1970s when creamy cocktails were in fashion, but sadly since then it has all but disappeared. We at Team Vintage Bride think a petition is in order. Bring back the Brandy Alexander!


80ml brandy

50ml sweet sherry

50ml double cream

1 tsp sugar syrup

¼ tsp vanilla bean paste

Nutmeg for dusting

Whipped cream for serving if desired

10. Moonwalk

Image by By Gabriella

This lesser known but absolutely delicious cocktail is so-called because it was invented to commemorate the moon landing in 1969 (Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were said to have quaffed it on their return to earth!) If that doesn't make it an awesome wedding cocktail, I don't know what will! Maybe the delicious combination of citrus and rose with some gorgeous fizz? We're sold!


1 measure of fresh grapefruit juice

1 measure of orange liqueur

3 drops of rose water

Top with champagne or sparkling wine

So there you have it...what cocktails would you like to showcase at your wedding? Are you creating your very own or would a fabulous vintage version like these be a good fit? To finish off, here's some vintage cocktail inspired images. Enjoy!

Credits: Madmen shoot over on Hey Wedding Lady; Speakeasy wedding from Chic Vintage Brides; Madmen styled bridal shoot by The Blusherettes; 1920s vow renewal over on Deco Weddings; 1920s wedding on Confetti Daydreams and Madmen styled bridal shoot by The Blusherettes

#vintageweddings #vintagecocktails #weddingreceptionideas #1920scocktails #madmeninspo #vintagedrinks

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