1. Choose a single signature cocktail. One is perfect; three, perhaps nearing the limit. After that, the choices get too complicated and time-consuming. If your wedding is themed, a few more signature choices are appropriate. For example, serve whiskey sours, mai tais, Tom Collinses, and Manhattans at a Rat Pack shindig.
2. Let the bartenders pour. Self-serving is incredibly problematic. There’s the possibility of a real mess.
3. Keep the cocktails to cocktail hour. This kind of focus will ensure more consistency on the bartenders’ part and less chance of running out of ingredients. People grow tired of drinking the same cocktail after a few rounds. It’s better to keep the experience memorable.
4. Caterers aren’t always amenable to making specialized drinks; many use cheaper alcohol or have staff unaccustomed to unusual setups. Find a caterer who will make drinks you like and let you taste them pre-wedding, or bartenders who work in conjunction with caterers. The best on offer: Jason Kosmas’s own Cocktail Conceptions, Cuffs & Buttons, and Contemporary Cocktails.
5. Be prepared to pay. If a custom bar is a priority, sacrifice the chocolate fountain for a killer lychee martini. It’s not such a tragedy; chocolate isn’t known for its dance-enhancing effects.