A few weeks back I was asked to design a couple of signature cocktails for two intimate dinners hosted by the innovative wedding registry site Zola.com in the luxurious Parachute Hotel in Venice Beach.
Because the theme of these dinners was inspired by LOOOOOVE, and with names like Honeymoon in Havana and La La Love, I thought these cocktails would be perfect to share right before Valentine’s Day to get y’alll in the mood…
For our first dinner with wedding industry insiders, we made a vodka based gimlet with hibiscus syrup and elderflower liqueur and a ginger-y take on a mojito.
For the Garden Party Gimlet, we used Our/Los Angeles Vodka as its base and made a hibiscus syrup to give it an especially vibrant fuchsia hue. The addition of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur added warm floral notes, and in keeping with the flowery theme, we topped this all off with edible blossoms.
Shake all ingredients until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with edible flowers.
The Honeymoon in Havana cocktail was inspired by the ever popular mojito.
Because we designed these cocktails with a wedding in mind, we wanted to elevate the traditional mojito recipe by swapping out sugar as the sweetener with BBAF fave Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur and using sparkling wine in place of club soda.
You’ll need a light, clean rum like Don Q Cristal for the base of this drink and fresh lime and mint are key!
In a small Collins glass muddle lime juice and 2 mint leaves. Add ice, rum, ginger liqueur and sparkling wine. Stir with straw and garnish with mint.
For the second intimate Zola dinner, we created cocktails for recently engaged bloggers and social media influencers.
These were both simple but delicious cocktails with some added flourishes like edible glitter and orchid garnishes.
The Stars in the Garden, while fairly simple – with pink grapefruit juice, St-Germain and sparkling wine, was an instant hit.
In an ice-filled shaker add 1/2 tsp edible glitter, pink grapefruit juice and St-Germain. Shake until well chilled and strain into a coupe glass. Top off with sparkling wine and place about 2 dozen tiny edible stars on top.
The La La Love is probably the most Valentines-y cocktail of the bunch. With this drink we brought back Our/Los Angeles Vodka, hibiscus syrup and edible flowers.
We used fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice (plucked from a friend’s tree just the day before!) and topped this all off with club soda. This is like a refreshing boozy hibiscus lemonade. Also perfect for a summer wedding!
But it’s the orchid garnish that really sexes this drink right up. When looking for edible flowers for this event, I was surprised by how many grocery stores actually carry an assortment of edible blossoms in their produce department. Apparently, these can also be very good in salad greens!
La La Love
2 oz Our/Los Angeles Vodka
1/2 oz Hibiscus Syrup*
1/2 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
Garnish: Edible Orchid
In an ice-filled shaker add vodka, syrup and lemon juice and shake until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and top with soda. Stir with straw and garnish with orchid.
* Hibiscus Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
Tbsp lime zest
Pinch of salt to taste
Combine sugar, water and hibiscus over med-high heat in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. With the heat off, let steep for another 20 minutes. Add lime zest and pinch of salt. Double strain through wire mesh and let cool. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Unmarked photos by Katie Gibbs Photo, all others by Bit by a Fox.