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Party Starters: Local Wedding Cocktails & Small Bites

Celebrate good times with inventive eats and modern drinks in three popular flavor profiles: floral, herbal, and citrus.

-FLORAL-

The Eats: “These small bites are straight-forward food fashion,” says Culinary Crafts Executive Chef Greg H. Reith. “Modernist mountain west food is my signature, and these are fine examples of that.” He says these flavorful, floral-inspired delicacies—mint spice shrimp in a petite paprika pot and rose-pomegranate gelato in pink pizzelle waffle cones, both accented with edible pansies—are designed to stimulate dialog, interest, and intrigue. “The food should be fun, full of a range of colors, and sit simply and delicately on its own.”

The Drinks: Shaken, stirred, and poured by Nina Pearson of Jack Rose Caravan—the new-to-the-scene mobile bar she runs with her hubby Devin—these flowery pink cocktails taste as delightful as they look. Clink glasses with a classic-with-a-twist champagne or wine cocktail like The Hummingbird, made with pink champagne, St-Germain, club soda, and a flower garnish or the Pink Moon, made with rosé wine, gin, or vodka; lemon juice; egg white; and simple syrup and garnished with blackberries.

The Hummingbird 
2 oz pink champagne
1 1/2 oz St.Germain
1 oz club soda
Garnish with an organic flower

Pink Moon
2 oz gin or vodka
1 oz lemon juice
1 egg white
1 oz rosé wine
1/2 oz simple syrup
Garnish with blackberries

Wood table and plate, Diamond Rental. Calligraphy cards, Dear Ondine. Glassware, Anthropologie. Flowers and all other props, Saucy & Kitsch.

ICE, ICE BABY
Event and prop stylist Lauren Brady of Saucy & Kitsch made these festive, flower ice cubes for our photo shoot, and you can make them, too, for a wedding, engagement party, or bridal shower. Read Brady’s instructions below:

Floral Ice Cube How-To

Ingredients:
  • Medium to large silicone ice cube trays
  • Distilled water
  • Edible organic flowers
Instructions:
  1. For clear ice, use distilled water that has been boiled and then cooled.
  2. Use only edible flowers, preferably organic, such as phlox, pansies, violets, and roses. Clean and trim the blooms.
  3. For the perfect floral ice cube, you must work in layers. Add the flowers facing down and fill water a quarter of the way, then freeze till hardened. Recommended 24 hours between layers. Once hard, fill another quarter of the way with the same distilled water (chilled), then freeze until hardened. Repeat process to the top of tray. (If you do not wait for layers to harden, your flowers will float and freeze in the middle of the cube.)

-HERBAL-

The Eats: “For weddings, these are exciting pairings because of the theatre and discovery of their presentation,” says Reith. “I look to feed the visual appetite as much as the physical. But you still need to crush it with one bite!” Crush it he does, with marjoram crostini with split pea and fava purée pea-shoot salad with extra virgin olive oil and thinly sliced elephant’s garlic, and basil latke boats with fermented plum sauce and sliced chile.

The Drinks: Serve your guests one of summer’s coolest beverages: the beer cocktail. Pearson’s take on the trendy drink is this fruity Pineapple Gin Fizz made with gin, lemon juice, rosemary, pineapple, and topped with an IPA; she likes Epic Brewing’s Sour IPA and Uinta Brewing’s Flamigose, a German-style Gose beer made with pineapple. Or, take a cue from South America and whip up Chile’s signature sip: the Pisco Sour. We love Pearson’s pretty purple version made with pisco, lime juice, egg white, lavender syrup, and a lavender garnish.

Pineapple Gin Fiz
3 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
Rosemary
Pineapple
Top with local IPA beer

Lavender Pisco Sour
3 oz pisco
1 oz lime juice
1 egg white
lavender syrup
Garnish with fresh lavender

Wood table and plate, Diamond Rental. Calligraphy coaster, Dear Ondine. Glassware, Blue Bird Vintage Rentals and Crate & Barrel. All other props, Saucy & Kitsch.

Small bites are the way we are eating now; diners prefer a multitude of tastes rather than one single plate. —Mary Crafts, CEO and President, Culinary Crafts

-CITRUS-

The Eats: “The benefit of tapas, small plates, and passed hors d’oeuvres is that chefs and wedding planners can really go anywhere and everywhere in terms of colors and flavors, essentially pleasing everyone,” says Reith. Here, he made fresh panna cotta with citrus sucre and lavender, and scallop ceviche shooters with smoked lemon zest and dry vermouth.

The Drinks: A tangy twist on the classic copper-mugged Moscow Mule, Pearson’s Grapefruit Mules are made with vodka, grapefruit and lime juices, ginger beer, and topped with a slice of grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary. Offer a toast to Park City’s mining past with the Gold Rush cocktail; Pearson used Bourbon, honey, and lemon juice for this version and garnished the glass with an orange peel.

Grapefruit Mule
2 oz vodka
2 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz lime juice
3 oz ginger beer
Garnish with grapefruit slice and rosemary sprig

Gold Rush
2 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz honey
3/4 oz lemon juice
Garnish with an orange peel

Wood table and glassware, Diamond Rental. Calligraphy drink flag, Dear Ondine. Plates and all other props, Saucy & Kitsch.

MIX MASTER
Excite and entertain imbibers and teetotalers alike when Jack Rose Caravan rolls up to your event. Nina (pictured above) and Devin Pearson’s darling caravan-style mobile bar, completely retrofitted by the recently wed duo, is available to rent for celebrations throughout Utah. You supply the booze, they supply the rest. Choose signature sips from their cocktail menu (Nina recommends a selection of two or three cocktails plus beer, wine, and bubbly) or request a specialty drink or nonalcoholic options like Italian sodas and fresh limeade to be served at your event.