As if organising a wedding wasn't enough, what about all the parties either side? Ease the pressure by testing out some purpose-designed tipples – all in the name of research, of course.
1. The Engagement Party
A prelude to the wedding, the engagement party is a relaxed environment for friends and family (many of whom will be meeting for the first time) to celebrate in. Champagne is always a fabulous choice to get celebrations under way, and an elegant twist on a classic glass of champagne is the French 75, a cocktail developed in the 1920s.
MY RECIPE: per serve, 10ml lemon juice, 5ml sugar syrup and 35-40ml gin (to taste). Shake with ice, in a cocktail shaker, then pour into a glass and top with champagne. Traditionally served with a strip of lemon peel, I prefer mine with a thin slice of lemon. Oysters are an elegant and easy choice to have alongside, served simply on a bed of ice or rock salt and finished with a sprinkling of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
2. The Bridal Shower
When the girls get together for a bridal shower, a fun and festive drink like this Rosé Sangria is in order.
MY RECIPE: I make mine with two bottles of rosé, 500ml of soda water, 250ml of lemonade and 100ml of brandy. Have fun adding fruit of your choice – I used sliced oranges, red grapes and halved strawberries, but raspberries or other seasonal berries would also be great. Use chilled ingredients and serve immediately.
3. The Hen's Night
Put on your dancing shoes and party the night away with vibrant Italian Negroni cocktails. They really pack a punch, so an alternative (and equally pretty) option is a tall, thirst-quenching Campari and Soda.
MY RECIPE: For the Negronis, use equal measures of Campari, gin and vermouth and serve with a large ice cube and a strip of fresh orange zest. Alternatively mix one part Campari to two parts soda, with ice and orange to serve.
4. The Night Before
Gather your friends for some last-minute down time before the big day. This is your chance to enjoy a few final, quiet moments sipping on a Matcha Cocktail before the busyness of the wedding day arrives.
MY RECIPE: For each cocktail, mix 1tsp of matcha green tea powder to a paste with 100ml of iced water, add several sprigs of mint, 1tbsp of ginger sugar syrup and 30ml of whiskey. Serve over ice.
5. The Day After
Restore party-weary heads at a next-day gathering by serving up a feisty Bloody Mary alongside a slice of wedding cake for those who may have missed out the day before.
MY RECIPE: Per drink, mix 2 parts vodka to 4 parts tomato juice, then spice to taste with a pinch of celery salt, smoked paprika and ground black pepper. Add a dash of both tabasco and worcestershire sauces and a squeeze of lime. Serve over ice with your choice of garnish – the celery stalk is non-negotiable, but mix it up with a skewer of extras such as gherkins, olives, cherry tomatoes and lime.