A Wedding: Signature Cocktails

From the Archives (posted July 19, 2010):  We know we have reposted a bit lately (life has been a bit busy), but we thought we should show you this one more time for the following two reasons:

  1. These two winter cocktails would be a perfect addition to the holidays!
  2. The wedding we wrote about in this post is coming up this Saturday!  Yep, thats right, this Saturday, November 27, 2010, my best friend Erin will be walking down the aisle! And yes, we will all be enjoying the winter rum punch (shown below) later that evening.

{on that note, congratulations Erin and Jim, we wish you a lifetime of happiness, friendship and love}

Plus, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to wish all of those who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy!


When I was asked quite a few months ago to be the Maid of Honor at my best friend’s wedding, I just could not be more .. well, honored.  We have had lots of fun looking for dresses, flowers, decorations and much more, but I must say one of the tastiest jobs as the Maid of Honor has been helping my dear friend and her future husband to choose a signature cocktail to serve at their wedding reception!  Now, we must admit, these two drink recipes are more fitting for the winter, but as Erin and Jim’s wedding will be at the end of November and we know you appreciate a good cocktail any time of the year, we thought we would tell you about the winners.

Our advice – bookmark this for when it starts to get a little chilly outside, it will be worth the wait!

Armed with rum, triple sec, vanilla cognac, pears and many more ingredients Erin and Jim showed up on our doorstep ready to get to work and test our their picks for a signature cocktail.  I believe somewhere between the door knock and the shakers coming out at least one of us quoted “it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it!”

If you want to see more about our day of sampling winter cocktails, check out Art Without Pretense, where Erin shares her thoughts of the day and talks about our process of recipe testing and taking photos for this very post.

After making each drink, two went straight to the top.  The first, was a pear vanilla sparkler made by muddling ripe pears into a mixture of lemon juice, vanilla cognac (Navan), light rum and a bit of honey syrup for a touch of sweetness then finished with some champagne.  This, was my favorite, the aroma was incredible … in fact, I would go as far to say that the aroma from that drink should be considered for perfumes, candles and any other possible fragrance used by or around me!  The taste was just as lovely, slightly sweet from the vanilla and honey, but leveled out with a nice punch of rum and sparkle from the champagne.  While this one was quite the hit, trying to imagine a bartender making these for over 100 guests at a wedding was a little difficult, so it won’t actually be at the wedding … however, it may make an appearance at a pre-wedding festivity or two and will certainly be enjoyed in our condo this winter!

The real winner of the day, was a winter punch packed with apple cider, lemon juice, maple syrup, orange liqueur and light rum.  It definitely looked the part, can be made in advance and was absolutely delicious!  We served it cold, but I would imagine a warmed version of this would be divine.

Don’t forget to check out Art Without Pretense, where Erin shows how Adam and I recipe test (in other words, make a huge mess in our kitchen), take photos (in other words, give each other the silent treatment when we are not getting the shot we want) and blog.

Recipes as seen on Theknot.com

1.0 from 1 reviews
A Wedding: Signature Cocktails
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Here are a couple of great cocktails for any wedding. How to make honey Syrup: In a small saucepan add equal parts of honey and water, bring to a simmer until the honey has melted into the water then allow to cool.
Created By:
Yield: 1
You Will Need
Pear Vanilla Sparkler
  • 1/4 of a ripe pear, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • 1/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Navan (vanilla cognac)
  • 1/2 oz. Light Rum
  • 2 oz. Champagne
Winter Rum Punch
  • 2 parts light rum
  • 1 part apple cider
  • 1 part Orange liqueur (Benedictine was also suggested, this would present a sweet and spicy flavor instead of orange)
  • 1/2 part maple syrup
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
Pear Vanilla Sparkler
  1. In the bottom of a shaker, muddle the pear in the honey syrup and lemon juice. Add the Navan, rum and stir briefly with ice. Strain into a chilled champagne flute or martini glass and finish with Champagne. Garnish with a couple slices of pear.
Winter Rum Punch
  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker (or punch bowl if preparing a large batch). Add ice when ready to serve, and stir well then pour into high ball or wine glasses. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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29 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Philip November 26, 2014, 12:28 pm

    I am looking to make this recipe today as it sounds perfect but I have some questions…

    What orange liqueur did you use?

    What type of maple syrup did you use?


    • Joanne November 26, 2014, 2:16 pm

      I believe we used Grand Marnier. For the maple syrup, we use real syrup. Usually we have a bottle from Trader Joe’s in our fridge.

  • Stephanie November 24, 2014, 6:06 pm

    Because I found the Winter Rum punch to be too strong for my taste and the orange liquor to be a bit overbearing I made a few modifications.

    I used a shot glass as a measure of volume:

    2 parts apple cider
    1 part 40% rum, I used 10cane rum which is between light/dark, but either or would work. Spiced rum would even work well.
    1/2 part “maple” syrup
    1/2 part fresh lemon juice
    1 part fresh squeezed orange juice
    *Topped it off with a handful of ice and a Cinnamon stick to garnish. Delish and affordable 🙂

    Thank you for your recipe though! I am not a craft drink maker so without it I wouldn’t have been able to make it and modify it to my taste 🙂 -Steph

  • Stephanielemus80@yahoo.com November 24, 2014, 5:35 pm

    Did I do something wrong? I made the Winter Rum Punch according to your recipe but it tastes too strong. I added 2 extra parts of apple cider, plus ice to even it out, but it is still a little much. I used a cognacs based orange liquor called Bauchant which is 60% alcohol vs Grand Marnier which is 80%. The light rum I used is 10Cane which is 40% alcohol. Any suggestions?

    Thanks! -Steph

    • Joanne November 26, 2014, 2:36 pm

      Hi Steph, Sorry the punch was too strong. Next time, try adding more apple cider.

  • acutegrl December 15, 2013, 7:28 pm

    Yuck. I’m not sure how the winter rum punch has any positive reviews. I made this for a large holiday party at my home and not one person liked it. It tastes like a drunk waffle.

    • Joanne December 16, 2013, 12:34 pm

      Sorry no one liked it!

    • allison November 16, 2014, 3:44 pm

      Did you use maple syrup or “maple flavored” syrup?

      • Joanne November 26, 2014, 2:58 pm

        We used real maple syrup.

  • Melissa November 22, 2013, 4:39 pm

    What is honey syrup? Can I just substitute homey?

    • Adam November 25, 2013, 3:40 pm

      Here’s how to make honey syrup (it is basically simple syrup made with honey instead of sugar). In a small saucepan add equal parts of honey and water, bring to a simmer until the honey has melted into the water then allow to cool. If you’d prefer, try just using honey — you might want to add a little then taste before adding more.

  • Jennifer Marston Cox December 5, 2010, 1:13 am

    I attended this wedding and this punch was the best! I can not wait to re-create at home! Thanks!

    • inspiredtaste December 9, 2010, 1:01 pm

      Thanks Jennifer!

  • Stay-At-Home-Chef November 26, 2010, 1:10 pm

    Wow these cocktails look amazing! Will be whipping up a batch of each this weekend to enjoy with friends…thanks for sharing the recipes.

  • Trudy ~ veggie num num July 20, 2010, 8:26 pm

    Heading out on a winter weekend escape with friends soon and the Rum punch sounds absolutely perfect for an evening by the fire.. thank you for sharing.

    • inspiredtaste July 21, 2010, 8:03 am

      Trudy: Wow, we are right in the middle of summer here, a cool winter day with a fireplace sounds lovely right about now 🙂

      Enjoy that punch … if you get a chance, try it warmed.


  • Sophia July 20, 2010, 10:51 am

    Wow, great job here. Awesome picture too! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living’s Summertime Sipper Contest! It looks delicious!

  • Peter July 20, 2010, 10:10 am

    Wow that’s quite a difference between Benedictine and orange liqueur in the punch. Did you try both versions because they aren’t interchangable at all. Drinks sound great though.

    • inspiredtaste July 20, 2010, 3:37 pm

      Hi Peter,

      We actually only tried this with orange liqueur, not Benedictine. This recipe was found on theknot.com by my friend (she is the one getting married).

      You have a great point, they really are not similar in flavor – our only thought is that they were assuming by “orange liqueur” one would use Grand Marnier, which has a cognac base, Benedictine also has a cognac base. Even so, they are still, as you pointed out, very different flavors. Benedictine is sweet, herb-y and spicy in flavor with notes of vanilla, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg.

      Considering that the recipe was for a winter cocktail, we actually believe both would work very well, but generate slightly different tastes in the end, but we have not tried the recipe with Benedictine yet, so we will have to update you when we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Kristen July 20, 2010, 8:55 am

    Wow – that does sound like a great job for a maid of honor. Pretty rough 🙂
    I can’t wait to try these!

  • Erin July 19, 2010, 9:28 am

    The pictures look great guys! Makes me want to brew up a batch of the pear sparklers right now…but I’ll wait for a more acceptable drinking time!


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