The Best Mixology Trend of 2014 – Herb Infused Cocktails

The year is drawing to a close… which means you have three sleeps to continue relishing the joys of excess before that ghastly New Year conscience kicks in and it’s all, ‘I’ll have a mung bean and alfalfa sprout smoothie please’. What better time to reflect upon your favourite mixology trend of the year gone by?

For us at Bane + Antidote 2014 was all about herb infused cocktails, as they represent the epitome of intelligent imbibing. Not only do these delightful concoctions provide a long overdue alternative to the banality of ‘variations-on-sweet’, many contain a hearty dose of medicinal properties, and represent a world of creative hosting opportunities to boot.

While every great dinner party begins with a cocktail, only an exquisite dinner party begins with a cocktail designed with the health needs of the guests in mind, or interjects with half-time cocktails that reflect and enliven the dishes being served. Below are our favourite herb infused cocktail recipes, with information on the properties and flavours of each. Enjoy! You have three days. GO!

Chamomile


Properties: Chamomile is used as a sleep aid, to calm the nerves, speed digestion, and to treat anxiety, fevers, colds, and stomach ailments. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Taste: Flowery, mild.

Chamomile Hot Toddy by Honestly Yum

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Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz chamomile honey syrup
  • 4 oz hot water
  • 
lemon wedge and chamomile flowers for garnish

Chamomile Honey Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile

Ginger


Properties: Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal. Ginger is used to ease nausea, aid digestion, combat colds and flu, improve circulation and provide energy. A great all-round health booster.

Taste: Spicy, peppery, earthy.

The Jim Dandy by Mike Lewicki of The Boys Club

jim dandy

Recipe:

  • 2 oz (60 ml) spiced rum
  • 3 oz (90 ml) of ginger beer
  • 1 oz (30 ml) of pear nectar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp (5 ml) fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 oz (15 ml) chai tea, cooled
  • 
2 dashes of bitters
  • infused ice cubes
  • pear slices, to garnish
  • lime quarter, to garnish

Lavender

Properties: Calming, uplifting, analgesic and antiseptic. Helps ward against coughs, colds and flu.

Taste: Floral, spicy.

Vodka Lavender Lemonade by The Effortless Chic

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Recipe:

  • 6 white sugar cubes
  • 2 ounces cold water
  • 
4 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • ice
  • 
four stems of lavender

Lemongrass

Properties: Lemongrass is widely used to relieve headaches (making it a perfect hair-of-the-dog ingredient). It is also believed to speed detoxification and aid digestion.

Taste: Fragrant, pungent, sharp.

Grapefruit Lemongrass Cocktail by Lauren Kathryn of Swooned

lemongrass

Recipe:

  • 1 handful of fresh Thai basil
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1/5 ounce of rum
  • 1/2 grapefruit, juiced
  • 3 ounces of water
  • 
Dash of bitters
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar

Mint

Properties: mint is used to help digestion, speed weight loss, improve memory, and to combat fatigue, colds, flu and headaches.

Taste: Fresh, peppery, tangy.

The Ivy Gimlet by Cupcakes and Cashmere

ivy gimlet

Recipe:

  • 3 oz. of your favourite vodka, chilled
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • 
8 fresh mint leaves, muddled

Thyme

Properties: Antibacterial, a strong antiseptic and a powerful antioxidant. Thyme is an expectorant and is believed to help fight cancer.

Taste: Tangy, warm, lemony.

Blackberry Thyme Sparkler by The Effortless Chic

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Recipe:

  • 1 c. blackberries + 8 more for garnish
  • 1 c. Water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 bottle of champagne
  • 4 ounces or 1/2 c. gin
  • 4 long sprigs of thyme
  • 1 c. ice
  • gold baking sugar for the rim
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The History of Wedding Favours

WF piece marie antoinette

Marie Antoinette was famous for her bonbonnière aplomb.

The History of Wedding Favours by Bane + Antidote editor Alex Volkers, as featured on the Wasing Park Weddings Blog. Click the link to learn more about the symbolism, ritual, gratitude and care inherent in the practice.

How to Choose the Best Wedding Favours

Wedding favours have the potential to surprise and delight your guests. Get this important part of your wedding reception right and your guests will leave feeling loved up and tickled pink. Get it wrong and you’ll adding to the ever growing trash pile of worthless tack in the sky.

glowsticks Image courtesy of Bespoke Bride.

While there may be many definitive lists of wedding favour ideas around, such as the most creative wedding favour ideas or the best eco wedding favour ideas, when deciding what to put on the tables at your wedding the best starting point is to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. When you do, a few obvious rules emerge:

1. All wedding favours should reflect the couple getting married. What is important to you? Whether it is health, being environmentally friendly or breaking all the rules in the book, don’t abdicate your personality when it comes to choosing your favours. Guests want to feel as if they are in a world of your creation.

2. Wedding favours should be a treat for your guests. While many couples opt for personalised wedding favours commemorating the date of their marriage etc, by the time your guests reach dinner they will have spent an entire day thinking about you. Why not make this bit about them? Something delicious, a fun activity, a conversation starter – whatever you go with, think about your friends and family and what they would like to receive.

3. Ultimately, favours should be consumable, wearable or small enough to fit into a jacket pocket or a full purse.

4. Consumable favours should complement the meal being served. Will your guests have room left for an edible treat? Perhaps a liquid favour would have more takers. Example: Faust’s Potions ‘Drink Me’ herbal hangover cure vials.

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5. Wearable favours are a sure fire way to ensure nothing gets left behind, and a great way to help your guests look fabulous. Examples: bindis, glow-sticks, or little pots of glitter.

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6. While little pots of honey are lovely in principle, they are a clunky thing to have in your back pocket. Their lifespan is also limited. If you choose to give your guests a small memento, something they could use time and time again would be of more worth. Example: handmade handkerchiefs.

handkerchief

As nobody knows weddings like an experienced wedding provider we have asked Katherine Hudson, of the renowned Arabian Tent Company, for her views on choosing the best wedding favours.

Katherine

Hi Katherine! In your experience, what sort of items have you found to make the best wedding favours? 

The days of sugared almonds are long gone, and so are the days of potted jam from great aunty Mable. The best wedding favours are the ones that guests can use straight away when they sit down to dinner – ideally interactive ones to get the conversation flowing with the people they’re sitting with. Those favours that can be consumed, worn or used at that particular moment are always the best.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that tend to get left behind or ignored?

A lot of wedding favours get left behind if they’re not instantly engaging to a guest when they come across them.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that encourage guests to interact with one another?

I’m a fan of fancy dress items – silly sunglasses, moustaches, head-gear etc. They are great for creating interaction amongst the guests.

What is the cleverest wedding favour you have ever come across?

Whilst not hugely clever, probably the best (and most used) favour that I saw at a wedding was a little bottle of Tuaca (the bride and groom drank a lot of it when they first met!) – all the little bottles were empty at the end of the night as they got used for a special toast to the bride and groom.

Tuaca Bottles Tuaca Bottles by Infinity Photographic.

You can read more about Katherine’s work, as see examples of her unique wedding marquees, furniture and props on the Arabian Tent Company website.

If you’re still at a loss, consider some of the ‘definitive’ wedding favour ideas lists below but consider the above and PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Buzzfeed Life’s 42 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

Popsugar’s 45 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Use

Rock My Wedding’s Favour Me

No Impact Bride’s 10 Green Wedding Favor Ideas

Real Simple’s 10 Creative Wedding Favor Ideas

Bespoke Bride’s 50 Fab Favours for Your Wedding Day