Raise a Glass Like a Local
There’s no place like home, right? Here’s how to show off your favorite state with a wedding reception that features stand-out local wines, beers and spirits.
A Pretty Presentation
Shine the spotlight on local labels by finding fun ways to make them an active part of your big day’s events, says Christopher Chan, professional sommelier and host of Seattle-based Happy Hour Radio show. He suggests starting the reception with a “Wine Tasting Bar.” Select two each of your state’s best white and red wines and pair them with trays of hors d’oeuvres.
For suds-lovers, Chan recommends hosting a microbrew station. Fill tubs with ice and a variety of local brews that range from bright, hoppy pale ales to dark, malty porters.
As for spirits, prepare a build-your-own bar that features a local vodka or gin along with a variety of mixers like fresh juices and specialty sodas.
“If you opt for station-style dinner service, another way to highlight one or all of these beverages is to pair each table with the wine, beer or cocktail that suits that particular cuisine best,” says Jessica Pennington, owner and lead planner for Stella Event Design in St. Joseph, Michigan.
Your caterer will likely have advice about which regional beverages are the best match for the food being served, but if you are able to procure your own alcohol and you really want to go local, chat with the folks at an area wine shop, Chan says. Not only do these vino aficionados have insider knowledge on delicious wines at affordable prices, they can often weigh in on other local offerings.
If you really want to show off some higher-end bottles but also have a limited budget, the answer is portion control, says Chan. Feature that favorite spirit in a specialty cocktail and, when guests are seated, have waiters pour small glasses of wine and beer as a special treat to kick off dinner. Or go with Pennington’s sweet tip: Stick with cheaper products in the bar, but offer a really great local dessert wine with the cake for a flavor combination that guests won’t soon forget.
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