3 Cocktail Books to Create Your Signature Drink

By Melissa Massello

When you're planning your wedding, it seems like there's a never-ending list of things you just "have to do", each of which takes time and focus. It can feel like a lot to take on. But tinkering and taste-testing your way through signature cocktail recipes for your big day is the only "to do" that can help take the edge off the rest of them. It's a great way to reconnect with your betrothed especially when family members might be pulling you in every direction.

We care about you, your mental health, and your marriage just as much as your wedding day. So instead of adding to the potential arguments, we've done the hard work by rounding up three of our favorite cocktail books to guide you toward a recipe that's just as much of a perfect fit for your celebration as you are for each other as a couple.

Crafting a signature cocktail for your big day is about more than just picking something that tastes good (or Instagrams well) -- it can actually enhance the message or experience you're trying to create for your guests, reinforcing big picture things that you value as a couple, like sustainability or local pride, or just highlighting some of your favorite spirits and ingredients. But it doesn't have to be complicated.

As PUNCH editor Megan Krigbaum recently wrote in a piece about 2018 cocktail trends, the fact that "these books are [now] running the gamut from the very precise and complex to the unbelievably simple is just very, very cool." So there's a cocktail out there for every couple, from classic to hyper-trendy. And it's now easier to find the one that is right for you and your big day, from gluten-free spirits to keto happy hours. We've got you!

1. The 12 Bottle Bar
In true ThirstyNest style, this blog-turned-book from a husband and wife mixology team centers around the 12 bottles you need to create a home bar -- seven spirits, one liqueur, two vermouths, and two bitters -- and all the crafty concoctions you can create from those staples. Especially if you're stocking the wedding bar yourself in DIY style, this book can help you whittle down the shopping list and provide both your bartenders and guests with an easy and refined menu of cocktail options.

2. Cocktails for a Crowd
Punch bowl cocktails were de riguer at sophisticated soirees around the world for the first half of the last century, and there's a reason why more and more people (and trendy cocktail bars) are coming back around to embrace these "party-pleasing batches."Wine Enthusiastspirits editor Kara Newman distilled the wisdom from craft cocktail makers around the country into these 42 recipes and "fail-safe" tips for beautifully batched punches and pitcher drinks.

3. Shake
If you've set the date but you're not sure where to start when it comes to weather-appropriate cocktails, then this is your guide -- cleverly divided by seasons so you can skip straight to the farm-to-glass recipes that are right for you. Authors Eric Prum and Josh Williams literally invented the Mason Jar shaker, so there's a bit of Brooklyn hipster-homemaker-host in here for every bride or groom.

What's next? Once you've chosen your signature cocktails -- for her & him or her & her or him & him -- don't forget to make your bar signs! Digital, printable, illustrated custom menus like these from Etsy are affordable, simple and elegant -- not to mention utterly useful for the bar, both framed for the big day and displayed on your home bar forever after.

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