The Secret to a Perfect Moscow Mule Cocktail

bride with moscow muleEven though the Moscow Mule cocktail first became popular in the 1940s and was the “it drink” for many years, it eventually lost its popularity. However, the Moscow Mule has made a comeback in a big way!

Soooo, you may be wondering  what’s the “secret” that is mentioned in my title. Well here it is… The “secret” to making the perfect Moscow Mule is the copper mug that has been associated with the cocktail since its inception. While the Moscow Mule is a delicious combination of vodka mixed with fizzy ginger beer (non-alcoholic) and tart lime, the use of a copper mug makes this great cocktail even better!

One reason the copper mug is such a great complement to the Moscow Mule is that copper becomes cool very quickly and your yummy cocktail will be extra-frosty! Just keep your hands away from the wall of the mug and it will stay icy cold.

And not only does the copper mug keep your cocktail perfectly chilled, it also makes a great presentation. And after all, when it comes to cocktails, the presentation is key. The signature copper mug takes the Moscow Mule to another level!

The Moscow Mule copper mug makes a great bridesmaid and groomsmen gift and you also might want to consider having this distinctive drink as your “signature wedding cocktail”. Exclusively Weddings added the traditional Moscow Mule mug (shown in photos here) to our product selection this year. There are two types of copper mugs: lined and unlined. Most of the best manufacturers line the interior of their mugs with a protective, food-safe nickel interior and that is the high-quality version that Exclusively Weddings sells. Moscow Mule at Exclusively Weddings.

Here is the recipe for you below. Some recipes call for a little more or little less of this or that but this recipe is my favorite. You can have fun experimenting.

moscow-mule-roundMoscow Mule Recipe:
Ingredients:
2 oz. vodka, 4 oz. ginger beer, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 lime wedge and 1 copper mug.

Preparation:
Add the lime juice and vodka to a Moscow Mule mug.  Fill the mug with ice cubes. Add the ginger beer. Stir. Garnish with the lime wedge. Tip: All ingredients should be cold. Chill the mug, also.

Below are images I created to make it easy for you to save the recipe to your Pinterest board or your computer. Enjoy!

Moscow-Mule-With-Recipe

Moscow_Mule_Recipe

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Photo of bride: Carrie Patterson Photography

Impress Your Wedding Reception Guests … Serve the Meal in Shooters

  • veg for inset at topTrying to figure out what sort of meal service you want at your wedding reception luncheon or dinner can be a challenge.  For example, do you want a sit-down dinner, a buffet, or hors d’oeuvres only? If want your guests to be impressed with your creativity, consider serving some or all of the food in shooters, especially if you are DIY-ing some or all of your reception meal. It really is easier than you might think!

Some key points to keep in mind …

Serving your guests in shooters can add a “wow factor” to your reception and it is likely to be less expensive than the other options. For example, if you want to serve shrimp, you would need to have quite a lot of it to amply fill a large bowl that your guests will likely hover around! They can end up eating a lot of shrimp! By putting one or two shrimp in a shooter, you will likely see that you can buy less shrimp and still keep your guests happy!

If you decide to serve your guests a meal using shooters, you will need a variety of foods choices and they will need to be substantial enough to be seen by your guests as a meal rather than as hors d’oeuvres.

If you and your friends/family are catering the meal yourselves, I think you will find it a lot easier to create a beautiful buffet if you use shooters. Unless you are experienced in setting up buffets and making food look attractive, it can be a challenge. However, when you use shooters, you are already on your way to “wow-ing” them because the shooters themselves create a lot of interest. Just place them on lovely trays such a mirror and bamboo, or cover a tray in fluffy lettuce and nestle your glasses in it. A fresh orchid adds a lot of pizazz, as well. Oh, and when setting up a buffet table be sure to put risers (can be a stack of books, boxes, etc.) under the tablecloth so your food will be on various levels.

You’ll need to decide if you want glass or plastic shot glasses and if you want to buy them or rent them. Plastic is much less expensive to buy than glass and party stores sell them for around inset photo soup$8.00 for 100. Bed Bath & Beyond is one of the stores that carries a variety of glass shot glasses. Do a search and compare prices. I found a lot of options using “shot glasses” and “plastic shot glasses” as the search terms. Of course, don’t forget to compare prices for buying vs. renting.

Shot glasses come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so choose what works best for the recipes you have planned. Having shooters in the right shape can make a big difference in the presentation. For example, in the first collage, first photo in last row, notice how the shrimp and shot glass fit perfectly together.  Raw vegetables do particularly well in a shape that is more narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. This way it is easy for them to stand up because they are crowded at the more narrow bottom, but at the top there is plenty of room for celery leaves, broccoli florets, etc.

In this post I’ll give you ideas on how to create …

  • Shrimp Shooters
  • Soup & Sandwich Shooters
  • Vegetable (Salad) Shooters

I’ll cover dessert and beverage shooters in a future post.

[Click each collage once for an enlarged version … twice for a humongous version!]

Shooters iimage for top of pageShrimp Shooters: In the collage below I’ve included several ideas of how you can serve shrimp in shooters. Some of the dishes show cocktail sauce in the glass but others show a combination of shrimp and another food such as in the fourth and fifth photos of Bloody Mary with Shrimp and Shrimp with Gazpacho.  The last two images show a unique way to serve the shrimp with a cracker on top of the glass … in this case it is a tortilla.

As you can see in the collage, you can serve shrimp in shooters as simply as putting some cocktail sauce in a shooter glass and adding one or two boiled shrimp. If you go this route be sure to add a little something extra, such as a piece of Romaine Lettuce or Italian Parsley to dress it up a bit.

Shrimp_Shooters

soup for insetSoup & Sandwich Shooters: I think everyone loves soup and a sandwich. It is comfort food and sends a good vibe and most of you can probably make this without even looking at a recipe. The key is the presentation and the collage below shows you several ways to cut the sandwiches and to create the soup/sandwich combination. And for a different twist on it, the last photo on the 2nd row features Tomato Basil Soup with a Brie sandwich, rather than plain tomato soup with a cheddar or American cheese sandwich.

Soup_and_Sandwich_Shooters

veg for insetVegetable Shooters: Putting vegetables in shooters will likely be a lot easier than creating a fancy vegetable display. I don’t know about you but I have noticed that most people don’t even eat the vegetables in a large display. I’m not sure why that is! But I do think that having a “cute” little cup with dressing at the bottom with a few fresh vegetables just makes it more inviting. Small tomatoes, shown on the top row, add visual interest. And make sure to include vegetables in a variety of colors and textures. Asparagus adds a nice touch as does a celery heart with its leaves. The first photo on the 2nd row shows a different approach to the vegetable shooters by including an exotic Baba Ghanouj as the dressing.

Vegetable_Shooters

And one final tip … I found an idea on the Host the Toast blog that I want to share with you. It’s a perfect garnish for your recipes served in shooters:
“Slice your green onions vertically in half, and then halve them again, and again until they are very thin. Then drop them in a bowl of ice water, stir them around a bit to separate them, and then place the bowl in the refrigerator. … Remove the bowl of green onions from the fridge. Garnish with the ones that have curled up to your liking, and serve immediately.”
Garnish_for_Meal_Served_in_Shooters

More shooter meals can be found on our dedicated Pinterest board.

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Photo Sources:
Shrimp: [1]Fine Cooking [2]Circle of Moms by Pop Sugar [3]ADCT Catering [4]Jersey Girl Cooks [5]A Food Centric Life/Photo by Kent Cameron [7]Dupree Catering [8]Host the Toast [9] & [10]Apron Strings Blog – Soup & Sandwich: [1]United With Love [3]Colin Cowie Weddings [4]Tori Spelling [5]A Spice of Life Catering [6]Red Shallot Kitchen [7]Windsor Ballroom [8]Bride’s/Top Knotch Catering – Vegetables: [1]Saint Germain Catering [2]Skinny Taste [3]My Baking Addiction [4]Kashi-Summerfresh [5]Ege Palas Catering [6]Marnie Craig James via Pinterest [7]Amy Ann Photography [8]The Culinary Artist –
and Host the Toast Blog.

Signature Wedding Cocktail

Signature Wedding Cocktail - Blue WaveOne of the biggest expenses for a wedding reception is an open bar. Costs can spiral out of control pretty fast, since most venues charge you for every bottle that is opened, even if it was used for just one drink. If you are handling the bar details yourself, it can be an overwhelming task and expensive to stock it, hire a bartender, and the like.

One way to save money on the alcoholic beverages is to offer just wine and beer. But if you want to crank it up a notch and “wow” your guests, you may want to serve one or two signature wedding cocktails, either with or without the beer and wine option. And with an open bar you may be tempted to buy premium brands of alcohol but if serving a pre-mixed signature cocktail, you can get way with more moderately priced brands.

Even if you are having an open bar, serving a signature cocktail can still be a fun addition.

Sometimes both the bride and groom choose a cocktail as their “signature”.  Couples even incorporate a sign to announce the choices, such as this one:

Signature Wedding Cocktail Sign

There is really no end to the possibilities available when choosing a wedding cocktail. In this post, I’ll show you some options. Recipes are included in the link underneath each photo.

If your wedding is in winter or autumn, you can serve a drink that coordinates with the season, such as the Candy Cane Martini and S’Mores Martini shown below:
Signature Wedding Cocktail - Candy Cane Martini
Recipe

Signature Wedding Cocktail - S'Mores Martini
Recipe

For a wedding that is on or near Memorial Day or Fourth of July a Fireworks Daiquiri is an impressive choice:
Fireworks Red, White and Blue Daiquiri
Recipe

For spring and summer weddings, a Blow-Pop Martini or Strawberry Lemonade Sparkler is a welcomed treat:Signature Wedding Cocktail - Blow Pop Martini
Recipe

Signature Wedding Cocktail - Strawberry Lemonade Sparkler
Recipe

You can also choose a cocktail in your wedding color(s) such as the Sparkling Shamrock below that will coordinate with your Lime Green wedding color:
Signature Wedding Cocktail - Sparkling Shamrock
Recipe

Lime Green Wedding Color

Or a Blue Wave to match your Teal and Fuchsia colors:
Signature Wedding Cocktail - Blue Wave
Recipe

Teal and Fuchsia Wedding Colors

And of course you can never go wrong with Champagne.  And there are some delicious sparkling wines available for a fraction of the cost of Champagne.

You may want to choose Pink Champagne (or sparkling pink wine)  Here’s an article to help with your choice:
The Best Sparkling Pink Wine for Under $20

Signatuare Wedding Cocktail - Pink Champagne

Whichever signature cocktail you choose, your guests will surely be impressed and will toast to your creativity!
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For more signature wedding cocktail ideas from EW, see our Pinterest board:
Wedding Cocktails on Pinterest

Photo Sources:
Signature Cocktails Sign: Cathy’s Concepts; Candy Cane Martini: Q’s Tasty Concoctions; The S’mores Martini: Cheeky Chic; Fireworks Red, White and Blue Daiquiris: Food Network; Blow Pop Martini Cocktails: tablespoon; Strawberry Lemonade Sparkler: Rippee Photography; Sparkling Shamrock Champagne Cocktail: Formal Fringe;  Lime Green Collage: Wirken Photography, The Culinary Chronicles, Jose Villa Wedding Photography, Formal Fringe, Sweet and Saucy Shop, Martha Stewart Weddings; Le Blue Wave: LILA Photo; Teal & Fuchsia Collage: Cindy & Saylor, Photography by Vanessa, Bradley James Photography, Abby Jiu Photography, Olofson Design, Ivy Studios Photo; Gold-Rimmed Glasses of Champagne: Kristyn Hogan Photography

A Cake For The Groom

Groom's CakeEveryone is familiar with the traditional wedding cake and almost all couples have a sumptuous creation. Another dessert that you might want to include is the groom’s cake. The groom’s cake is a great addition to the wedding dessert selection and one that will surely delight your groom.

A groom’s cake is typically a surprise for him from his bride. The flavor is most-often chocolate and the range of designs is endless.

Designs for the groom’s cake seem to fall in to three groups. One is to have a rich, chocolate cake in a traditional shape with accents of chocolate-dipped strawberries. Another is for the cake to be decorated suggestive of a tuxedo. If you don’t want to go with the complexity of a custom design, the chocolate cake or tuxedo cake is a good way to go.

If you have access to a creative baker, you can work with him/her to design a cake with a fun theme that reflects the groom’s hobby or special interest. Even though the wedding cake tends to follow tradition, anything goes when it comes to the groom’s cake!

Choosing a groom’s cake that reflects the groom’s favorite hobby is a perfect way to include his hobby without making it part of the overall wedding décor. For example, sometimes a groom will want to have a hunting theme or race car theme but in most cases these types of themes don’t work well for a wedding and reception. Having a special groom’s cake that goes all out to showcase his theme may be the answer.

Your groom will likely be thrilled to have a cake made with him in mind and will surely appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Chocolate and strawberries are a popular combination for the groom’s cake.Chocolate with Strawberries

A cake that is reminiscent of a tuxedo is also a popular design.Tuxedo Design Groom's Cakes

For a design that will surely “wow” your groom, choose to replicate his hobby, college team, sports team, or any other of his favorite things!Groom's Cakes

And if you want to incorporte the groom’s cake with the wedding cake, you can go with something entirely unique like this cake!Unique Dual-Purpose Cake

For more ideas for your groom’s cake, see our Pinterest board where we have over 150 cakes to inspire you. Follow our boards to make sure you are updated with our most recent pins: Groom’s Cake Board on Pinterest

Credits:
Collage 1: A Cake To Remember, Karamata, Wedding and Cakes, Simply Elegant Bridal, Provo Wedding Guide  – Collage 2: Liane McCombs, Sugar Delight, Cake Picture Gallery, Not2Crumby, Cake Picture Gallery – Collage 3: Vida Dolce Cakes, Kari Severson Machal, Brides.com, Catherine Ruehle, Delish, Carolina Cake Queen, fsumaria

Fourth of July Wedding

Red-white-and-blue-wedding-cakeFourth of July — a day of celebration — so why not celebrate your wedding on the 4th, too! If you are planning a wedding on the Fourth of July, you may want to think about incorporating a patriotic dessert in to your wedding reception menu. Since your guests may miss their usual July 4th festivities, this will acknowledge the holiday and give your guests the opportunity to celebrate!

You don’t have to have a red, white and blue wedding cake if that is not your style. It’s easy to add a more subtle patriotic treat to your reception menu. One way is to have red-white-blue-decorated cupcakes on your dessert table. Another is to have a patriotic themed festive dessert such as a pie, trifle, etc. Adding fresh strawberries and blueberries to something as simple as vanilla ice cream will give you a festive dessert with ease.

If you want a lot of oohs and ahhs, you can impress your guests with an American Flag Cake that when cut, reveals an American flag in every piece! There are instructions below on how to assemble the American Flag Cake. It can be served at the rehearsal dinner or perhaps used as the groom’s cake. It can also be a wedding cake for a more informal or smaller wedding or an additional wedding cake to your traditional one. Can you imagine your guests surprise when the cake is cut to reveal an American Flag!

A Fourth of July wedding can indeed be especially festive! And if you’re lucky, there will be nearby fireworks for a spectacular end to your big day!

Red-white-and-blue-wedding
Fourth of July Cupcakes
Starting at the top and then left to right:
Better Homes & Gardens (recipe), Taste of Home (recipe), Sprinkle Bakes (recipe), The Girl Who Ate Everything (recipe), Annie’s Eats, Tidy Mom (recipe)

Fourth of July Desserts
Starting the top and then left to right:
Martha Stewart (recipe), The Secret Life of a Chef’s Wife (recipe), Fancy Frugal Life (recipe), The High Heeled Hostess (recipe), Epicurious (recipe)

And now for the fabulous American Flag Cake!
American Flag Cake

What you need to bake: Red Velvet Cake- 1 (8 inch) and 1 (6 inch) tier White Cake- 1 (8 inch) tier Blue Velvet Cake- 1 (8 inch) tier.

1.  You will torte (basically cut in half lengthwise) all of these cakes EXCEPT THE VELVET BLUE CAKE, so 3 tiers total.  For detailed instructions on how to torte and level cakes, see Crumb Coat/Fondant Video Tutorial Part 1.

2.  You will need to cut out a 4 inch circle as a guide, place it on one of the 6 inch red velvet cake layers, and cut the cake down to a 4 inch circle. You will follow this step for 1 of the white cake layers.

3. You will follow step #2 for the velvet blue cake tier (remember that we did not torte this tier) except instead of pulling away the outer ring, you will pull out the middle circle so it is a hollow ring.

4.  At this point you should have: 2 (8 inch) and 1 (4 inch) red velvet cake layers, 1 (8 inch) and 1 (4 inch) white cake layer, and 1 hollow (8 inch) blue velvet cake layer that is twice the thickness of the other layers.

5.  Place an 8 inch red velvet layer on your plate.  Frost the top of the layer, place an 8 inch white cake layer on top, frost that, place a red velvet layer on top of that and frost the top.

6.  Place the Blue cake layer on top of the cake.  Then frost the 4 inch white cake layer and lower it into the middle of the blue velvet layer.

7.  Lower the 4 inch red velvet layer onto the top of the white layer in the blue velvet circle.

8.  Crumb coat the cake. Here’s a video on how to do that! Crumb Coat Video

Extra tips: chilling the layers will help prevent messy crumbs and hold the whole thing together better.  You might also want to coat the inside of the hollowed out blue velvet circle layer to better hold the inner stripe layers to the outer blue cake after its cut.

Cutting the Cake:

1.  CHILL THE CAKE!  As long as you put a good coating of buttercream/frosting on it the cake should not dry out.

2.  Use hot water and a hot clean knife. Between slices, clean the knife and slip it down into very hot water.

3.  Make sure the knife is completely dry after dipping it in the hot water.

Thanks so much to Kathryn of The Sugar Turntable blog for giving us permission to use her photos and instructions for this cake. All photos in the collage and instructions are from her blog.

Cake from Glorious Treats

For another set of instructions on how to make this spectacular cake:
Glorious Treats

Also, instructions from 17 and Baking.

Note: All three recipes vary slightly but end up with basically the same result.

Thumbnail at top of page: Style Me Pretty

Our Pinterest Boards have lots of wedding ideas. Our boards for Wedding Cupcakes, Food and Drink, and Wedding Cakes have additional July 4th photos.

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Collage Photo Sources: [1]09 Beach Productions,[2]NA, [3]TidyMom, [4]Nest by Tamara, [5]Intricate Icings Cake Design, [6]Martha Stewart

Ooh La La – French Fries For Your Wedding Reception

French Fries in Colorful ConesWho doesn’t love French Fries … crispy and delicious … and there is one more trait … versatile!

You may think of French Fries as strictly the domain of fast food restaurants. However, if you haven’t thought of French Fries for your wedding reception, it’s time to consider this growing trend. French Fries can fit in to just about any style of wedding reception … from elegant to casual; from traditional to rustic. They can be part of a main course sit-down-dinner or a casual buffet or even a trendy “midnight snack”.

The secret to successfully incorporating French Fries in to your wedding reception menu is two little words … PREPARATION and PRESENTATION. The key to elevating French Fries to wedding reception fare is to prepare them in a special way and to  serve them in a unique container that fits the style of your reception. Adding a selection of accompanying sauces can also make French Fries extra special.

The pictures below show many examples of how French Fries can be served. One way is in shooters.  Another great container for French Fries is one that is cone-shaped. There is no end to the many options in materials and style for the cone-shaped container. You can have a “wow” by simply folding great-looking paper in to a cone shape.

Recipes for many of the dishes shown below are included at the end of the post.

French Fries

French Fries Served in Cups and Cones

French Fries Can Be Elegant or Casual

More photos of ways to serve French Fries and more wedding reception food and drink ideas on our Food and Drink Wedding Ideas Pinterest Board. Follow us on Pinterest for updates on our daily pins.

Photo Credits and Recipes:
Collage 1:
French Fries with Three Dips – Recipe – Epicurious, Sliders and French Fries – Recipe – Pizzazzerie, French Fries in Chinese Take-Out Boxes – Creations Catering, French Fry Sign – Shop – Etsy – Collage 2: French Fries in Blue Polka Dot Cones – Weddingbee, Idaho® Potato French Fries W/Lime and Cilantro – Recipe –  Idaho Potato  Commission, Potatoes in Three Colorful Cones – Elizabeth Anne Designs, French Fries in Personalized Cone – Belle the Magazine, French Fries in Black Cone –  Lover.ly – Photo by Todd Rafalovich, Parmesan Fried, Idaho® Potatoes – Recipe – Idaho Potato Commission, Tofu Fries (using tofu instead of potatoes) Served in Porcelain Cups – Recipe – White on Rice Couple – Collage 3: Photo #2:  Gourmet Fries with Dipping Sauces – A Polished Plan, All other photos in Collage 3 are courtesy of Idaho Potato Commission, Recipes: Curried French Fry/Crabcake Charlotte , Greek Fries with Idaho Potatoes, Baked Fries with Dipping Sauces

Serve Your Guests in Shooters!

Lemon Meringue ShootersServing party food in shooters is becoming popular for social events and wedding receptions … from hors d’oeuvres to buffet dinners. Serving in shooters can give a special elegance to any food. For example in the first collage below, the French Fries look much more appetizing than if they were in one big container. In the shooters they are “elevated”! And tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are taken to new heights, as well.

Serving beverages in shooters is something you’ve probably seen before, but there are ideas that are new, as well. Strawberry milkshakes with a decorative straw look elegant and hot chocolate shooters with mini donuts make an original treat. The last photo in the second collage is a different twist on a shooter … using a salt-rimmed lime to serve a Margarita shot! That will be a treat that your guests will likely talk about long after the wedding day!

Desserts are perfect for being served in shooters. Sometimes a huge piece of cake is more than most people want, nowadays. But a small shooter-filled goodie can be just the right size!

Shooters work well for vegetables, soup and shrimp

Mini Burgers and Fries, Vegetable Beef Soup, Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Shrimp, and Variety of Vegetables.

A Variety of Beverages in Shooteres

Strawberry Milkshake, Chocolate Milkshake and S’Mores, Hot Chocolate and Mini Donuts and Margarita Shots in Lime Shooters.

Dessert shooters

Banana Pudding, Dark Chocolate, Lemon Meringue Pie, and S’Mores.

Update 2014: I have added a new post on this subject … more ideas!

For more ideas for wedding reception food and beverage, see our Wedding Food and Beverage Pinterest Board.

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Photo Credits: myrecipes.com, pizzazzerie.com, finefrostings.com, honestcooking.com, vowsandcake.tumblr.com, stylemepretty.com, robertandkathleen.com/blog, and hostessblog.com, Source for Last Photo in First Collage – Vegetable Shooters from Nieta Gates at NJ Gates Events, Chicago, IL