We’d like to Welcome Cin Cin to Rock My Wedding this afternoon. They are here to talk to you all about wedding day drinks. Cin Cin are based in the South East and offer a mobile Italian catering service for weddings and events, serving bubbles and nubble from their gorgeous vintage Fiat van.

We wanted to put together a really comprehensive guide for you as to how you calculate how much alcohol you need at your wedding and to drill down what the best type of wedding day drinks are to cater for all of your guests. Let us help you define great taste combinations and different options for all budgets including bulk buying booze for your wedding day.

Matching wines & cocktails to food & canapés – the Italian way

David at Cin Cin: Choosing and pairing wines with food can be daunting, especially for the most important day of all, your wedding day. The aim is to try to balance the basic components of both the food and wine so that they complement, rather than overpower one another.

Many wine styles evolved to complement the cuisine of its region. This is very true of Italian food and wine which are strongly connected to each of its individual regions. But the main thing to remember is that matching food and wine is all about personal taste and enjoyment. If you and your fiancée like a particular combination – then that is the one for you.

To help you choose wines and cocktails that will give you and your guests the most enjoyment on your big day, here are a few recommendations and tips from my wedding experiences with Cin Cin.

Welcome Drinks

At Cin Cin, we specialise in ‘Bubbles & Nibbles’, pairing Prosecco with Italian cured meats and cheeses for guests to enjoy following your ceremony and prior to the wedding breakfast so that your guests don’t go hungry while you have your photos and the main meal is set up.

Prosecco originates from the North East of Italy where light cured meats such as Porchetta and Proscuitto di Parma, and most Italian goat’s cheeses are made. So for delicate canapés, try the light bubbles of a Frizzante Prosecco such as, Di Paolo with its subtle notes of apple, pear and ginger.

For heavier or spicy canapés, look for a sparkling wine that refreshes your palate with some tingly bubbles like an Asti sparkling wine from Piedmonte. A superb example is the Araldica which is fresh and juicy and will whet your guests’ appetites for the wedding breakfast.

Bellinis are a fun, refreshing and easy cocktail option to serve your wedding guests. Fruit purees are available online in easy pour bags and fruit liqueurs are available from most drink merchants. All you need is a half shot each of fruit puree and its equivalent liqueur, add a splash of Prosecco to the flute to loosen the puree with a stirrer and then top up with Prosecco. Peach, pear or strawberry are a hit in summer months with pomegranate, blood orange or apple working best for cooler evenings especially when warmed with spiced like cinnamon and star anise.

Wedding Breakfast

I am often asked for advice on how to match wines with the wedding breakfast menu of two courses or more. While it does really come down to personal taste, some matches work so well that they are a good rule of thumb:

Beef For steaks or rare roast beef, look for a powerful tannic red wine such as Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino. For meatballs or tomato-based dishes, Dolcetto or Barbera wines work very well.

Fish Pinot Grigio is a fantastic and reliable choice for fish. If you are serving shellfish, consider Prosecco or even better, a fresh crisp Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Tuscany such as the Castello di Montauto which is rich and creamy with a faint herbal aroma.

Lamb Barbaresco has a smaller output than Barolo but this means you get the best Nebbiolo grapes. It goes very well with lamb and the family-run estate at Cascina Morassino make a fantastic and elegant example.

Pork Barbera or Pinot Grigio both balance well with the lighter tastes that go with, roast or braised pork.

Game Birds If you are serving guinea fowl, wood pigeon or pheasant, try a Valpolicella such as the Cent’Anni Valpolicella Ripasso which has a velvety, cherry finish.

BBQ For the feeling of a fantastic Mediterranean BBQ of grilled meats and vegetables being enjoyed in the sunshine, pair up with a Rose like the Sentina Pinot Grigio Rose which has notes of strawberry and red berries.

Speeches & Toasts

The most practical option for toasting the speeches is to serve the sparkling wine used for the pre-dinner drinks on arrival. This makes it easier to plan your quantities and you may get a discount with the supplier for the bulk order.

The Araldica Asti Spumante recommended above is a great choice for toasts but if you want to treat your guests and create a bit of theatre when charging their glasses, you could serve the Modella Prosecco Spumante Magnum which is a superb, crisp and frothy Prosecco in stunning magnum bottles that give the look of luxury at an affordable price!

How much wine do I need to order?

The big question! Let’s break this down into a few basic rules which should make this easier and less stressful.

– One bottle of wine = 5 serves

– One case of wine = 12 bottles (so 60 serves per case)

– One 750ml bottle of spirits or liqueur = 30 standard shots (25ml each)

– One bottle of beer = 1 serve

– Allow 2 glasses of sparkling wine per guest for welcome drinks, 1 per guest for toasts.

– If serving only beer and wine, plan for 20% beer, 80% wine.

– For a full bar, allow 20% spirits, 15% beer, 65% wine.

A safe approach is to allow for 1 serve per guest per hour of the reception. Some guests will drink more, some will drink less but this should be more than enough. All wine should be ordered on ‘sale or return’ so that you can take back unopened cases to your wine merchant if you have any leftovers.

So for 100 guests for a ceremony at 3 pm and reception ending at midnight (7 hours of service of alcohol) allow 700 serves to be applied as:

– 140 beers (20%)

– 560 serves of wine (80%) which is 112 bottles so order 10 cases for 120 bottles to be safe.

The wine order should be split between sparkling, white and red according to the choices you have made for your menu.

I hope this helps demystify some of the choices for wines and cocktails on your wedding day but of course, if you have any questions at all, get in touch via our website.

And all of the wines listed are available through Sussex wine merchants, Hennings.

Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

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