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Shaken or Stirred – A Signature Cocktail for Each Season

Couples are adding very personalized touches to all aspects of their wedding celebration these days, and that can include creating a signature cocktail.

A signature cocktail provides a peek into your personality! In addition to our standard bar package, you may choose to offer a specialty cocktail that pairs with the flavors of the evening. We’ll help you by creating a cocktail that will highlight the menu or any aspect of your event you’d like featured in a drink. If you’d like to offer an alcohol-free option, we can also create unique “mocktails” to bring your theme to life!

Here are examples of a signature cocktail for each season, including recipes and directions in case you’d like to make these drinks on your own! We’ve asked our expert caterers to help us by sharing suggestions of a perfect food pairing for each.


Winter – Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour

Imagine a crisp chill in the air, the crackling warmth of the fireplaces in the Hearth Room, and being surrounded by the love of family and friends while sipping a fun seasonal cocktail! May we suggest a cinnamon maple whiskey sour?

Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour

1 ½ oz bourbon
1-2 oz fresh lemon juice

¾ oz maple syrup

Pinch of cinnamon

Add 3-4 ice cubes to a cocktail shaker. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of cinnamon, securely close the shaker, and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain the ingredients into a lowball glass over 2-3 fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon peel and cinnamon stick.

Head Chef Dana Spandet of Tall Guy and a Grill suggested some mouth-watering matches to this cold-weather mixer. “Rich, warm flavors are the perfect pairing with a good whiskey cocktail! I’d recommend both our Japanese pumpkin ravioli with candied pecans, brown butter, and sage, as well as our crisp crostini topped with gorgonzola and charred pear chutney as the perfect companions to a maple-accented whiskey sour,” Dana said.

Spring – Basil Gimlet

Who doesn’t love the fresh smell of spring air, the season bursting with new buds on trees, and the possibility of outdoor ceremonies, dinners, and cocktail hours? Celebrate spring with the tang of fresh lime, and the herbal taste of muddled basil leaves. Our basil gimlet will tantalize your guests’ taste buds and warm their hearts during your spring wedding celebration!

Basil Gimlet

5 fresh basil leaves
1 ½ oz gin

1 oz fresh lime juice

½ oz simple syrup

Muddle basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and ice, securely fasten the top, and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of basil.

Candy Curley from Chef Jack’s shared thoughts on a great complement to the basil gimlet. “When I think of a basil gimlet, it reminds me of my garden and a sunny afternoon. Therefore, I think the perfect pairing is Chef Jack’s grilled steak panzella salad with shaved fennel. What fresh flavors and a great spring combo!” Candy said.


Summer – Lemonade Blueberry Vodka Spritz

Warm-weather months in Wisconsin are some peoples’ favorites! The blue waters of Lake Michigan, the breeze among the trees… and how about a bubbly lemon blueberry cocktail to cool off? Our lemonade blueberry vodka spritz is a breezy light, not-too-sweet, not-too-tart cocktail for summer.

Lemonade Blueberry Vodka Spritz

10 blueberries

4-5 mint leaves

2 oz vodka

4 oz club soda

½ oz simple syrup

Splash of lemonade

Muddle together the blueberries, mint, simple syrup, and lemonade. Strain into a highball glass with 2-3 ice cubes. Add vodka and stir together, and then top with club soda. Garnish with lemon and mint.

Chef Hadley from Shully’s found a delightful pairing in passed appetizers for your summer wedding. “Our blueberry skewered with brie and mint drizzled with lavender honey is the right answer for your summer appetizer. Creamy brie cheese will cut through the vodka’s tang, pairing beautifully with mint and blueberry garnish. Finish with sweet floral honey to round the simple flavors in this cocktail’s palate,” Hadley said.

Fall – Apple Cider Brandy Old Fashioned

Mother nature’s jewel-colored palate holds the spotlight in autumn with the trees changing colors and leaves falling, gently changing the landscape of our property as it prepares for cooler months. While at the Center, get out your camera for some amazing photographs. When planning your celebration, you’ll want to bring autumnal flavors to life. Take a tried-and-true Wisconsin favorite, like an old-fashioned cocktail, and kick in some seasonal flavor with apples, ginger, and citrus!

Apple Cider Brandy Old Fashioned

1 tsp brown sugar

5 dashes of bitters

Splash of water

1 ½ oz brandy

1 ½ oz apple cider

Splash of grenadine syrup

Ginger ale

Add the brown sugar, bitters, and a splash of water to an old-fashioned glass and dissolve in the glass. Add the brandy, apple cider, and splash of grenadine and stir to combine. Add 2-3 ice cubes, and then top with ginger ale. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Mike Bardizian of Saz’s Hospitality Group would bring favorite fall flavors to life with thyme and fontina in a tartlet form – a scrumptious combination. For an entrée, Saz’s recommends the roasted butternut squash medallions off their new George/Madcap Menu. This masterpiece includes the butternut squash medallions, caramelized apples, toasted pepitas, poached cranberries, and chevre.

“Typical brandies lack acid and strength, while the apple cider adds tartness and slight acidity – pairing it with the medallions lets the caramelized apple notes and toasted pepitas really pull through. Butternut squash pairs well with brandies in general, because it allows the ‘sweet caramel’ tasting notes come out,” Mike said.

Now you’re ready to pair amazing cocktails with a thought-provoking menu of complementary flavors from one of our caterer partners. Whether your event is a wedding or other special occasion, creating a personalized experience for your guests is a wonderful way to make it memorable. We can help you plan the details that will bring your event to life. With specialty cocktails and a menu that tells your story in a creative, fun way, you will treasure your experience for years to come.