The Wedding Cocktail Collection - Working with Moodboards


I recently worked with Gordon’s, Baileys, Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker on an exciting project to inspire brides and grooms who are looking for delicious cocktails and food pairings as well as on-trend styling for their 2019 wedding.

My role on the project was creative director - devising four mood boards for some of this year's biggest wedding styling trends, these mood boards were then interpreted by stylist River Jade Gibbs who styled the actual photoshoot for the Wedding Cocktail Collection. Sadly, I can’t share the mood boards I created on my blog due to copyright, but you can find some of the images I used on my Pinterest account. I have added a direct link under each theme.

Chef and broadcaster Rachel Khoo and award-winning drinks specialists Sweet & Chilli released a bespoke portfolio of cocktails and food pairings that perfectly complemented each theme and have been specifically designed to work pre and post-wedding feast. They invented creative cocktails as brilliant alternatives to traditional welcome drinks, paired with tasty canapes and starters, and after-dinner cocktails that work perfectly with an array of desserts, and end-of-the-night cheese boards.

I don’t often share my work on the blog, but I thought you might be interested to see the delicious cocktail recipes.


Trend One - Personal Gestures

Couples are looking for ways to treat their guests to thoughtful favours and subtle gestures, along the lines of signature and personalised cocktails, DIY thank-yous, and an assortment of homemade treats and feasts.

I felt this should be a modern take on twee, using a soft colour palette with plenty of personal touches such as large, shareable kilner jars and fairy lights to add a touch of magic. Floral tableware and vintage touches felt right for the theme, along with old-fashioned sweet jars for guests to add their own toppings to drinks. I loved the idea of having glass cake trays to serve desserts, to hand out to guests later on in the evening, as well as having personalised letter boards to be placed around the venue. 

You can get a good idea of the sort of imagery I used in my mood board on my Pinterest board here.

Bespoke cocktails and food pairings created for this trend include:

Pre-dinner Gordon’s Tea Punch: Use Gordon’s London Dry Gin to give your guests the chance to make their own perfect gin cocktail with their favourite garnishes. Combine Gordon’s London Dry Gin with Jasmine tea, high-quality apple juice and all-spice to create the perfect punch, served over a large block of ice in a large punchbowl. For ultimate personalisation, or go one step further and create a DIY garnish station for guests to have some fun with, We’d recommend citrus fruits, a choice of herbs, and even edible flowers.

Paired with: Pork pies with pastry hearts on top.

Units per serve: 0.8

Pre-dinner Tanqueray Gin Strawberry Negroni: For this slightly sweeter pre-dinner version of a classic Negroni, combine Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Belsazar Red Vermouth and bitters with Strawberry syrup. Top tip - make enough for 2 serves and pour into mini bottles, label with the names of pairs of wedding guests, and serve in an ice bucket in the middle of each table & encourage your guests to share. 

Paired with: King Prawn cocktails

Units per serve: 2.3


Post-dinner Baileys Wedding Treat Bar: Present an array of your favourite sweet treat toppings such as pretzels, marshmallows and whipped cream to allow guests the opportunity to personalise their after-dinner hot drinks as part of a help yourself ‘Treat Bar’. Add Baileys Original Irish Cream to indulgent, quality hot chocolate or coffee to create a hot chocolate with a twist. 

Paired with: Indulgent toppings such as marshmallows, chocolate brownies, pretzels, popcorn and whipped cream.

Units per serve: 0.8 


Post-dinner Johnnie Walker Whisky, complete with personalised label: What better way to treat your guests than by giving them a personalised bottle of your favourite whisky? To commemorate the special day, the bride and groom can create their very own personalised label on their whisky to share with loved ones, or makes a thoughtful, unique wedding gift. Create your own personalised label at 

Paired with: Cheeseboard selection 

Units per serve: 2


This is how my moodboard was interpreted, it came to life with the props and styling by River Jade Gibbs (photography by Stephen Conroy):


Trend Two - A Celebration of Veganism and Vegetarianism

With the growing rise in popularity of vegetarianism and veganism, it’s no surprise that the wedding industry has followed suit.

My ideas for this trend evolved from greens to bright colours, paired with an exciting indulgent menu with a surprising twist and an added flair.

Think mismatched colourful candles and cutlery, and for decoration, a modern take on pompoms using multi-coloured lanterns. Floral arrangements were vibrant and full, popping with colour. 

This Pinterest board shows the mood board images I used. 


Bespoke cocktails and food pairings created for this trend include:

Pre-dinner Gordon’s Lemon & Grapefruit Cooler: Perfect for a self-serve welcome drinks station on arrival to get your guests talking, Gordon’s London Dry Gin is accompanied by lemon and grapefruit juice, with sugar and soda water stirred through to give a refreshing taste. Simply add some lemon and grapefruit wheels to serve an aesthetically beautiful cocktail

Paired with: Mini vegan mac and cheese 

Units per serve: 0.9

Pre-dinner Tanqueray Gin Floral martini: Tanqueray London Dry Gin and elderflower cordial are stirred together with Bergamot Liqueur and garnished with white flowers for an elegant welcome drink 

Paired with: Vegan fritters

Units per serve: 2        


Post-dinner Baileys Almond Flat White martini: For the perfect vegan flat white, all you need to do is pair Baileys Almande with Smirnoff Vodka and espresso to create this delicious post-dinner treat

Paired with: Vegan doughnuts and profiteroles, combined with vegan dark chocolate or caramel sauce for dipping. 

Units per serve: 1.3


Post-dinner Johnnie Walker Noisette Sour: Johnnie Walker Black Label is accompanied by hazelnut liqueur, lemon and aquafaba (the vegan alternative to egg white), giving you the perfect twist on a whisky sour, complete with its iconic foam. Garnish it with a sprinkling of ground nutmeg and serve alongside dessert for a post-dinner drink

Paired with:Dark chocolate vegan mud cakes with seasonal berries (from The Little Swedish Kitchen cookbook by Rachel Khoo)

Units per serve: 2


This is how my moodboard was interpreted. It came to life with the props and styling by River Jade Gibbs (photography by Stephen Conroy) :


Trend Three - Minimalist, Boho & Earthy Vibes

Minimalistic styling combined with warm and inviting tones and earthy neutrals, join local and seasonal food offerings, and classic drinks with added garnish or infusions for a twist. 

Currently, there’s such a demand for earthy and minimal styling. I felt the occasion warranted the use of delicate and dried flowers and foliage, caramel and neutral tones and a variety of textures.  Dried flowers are huge this year in all aspects of floral design, particularly for their versatility. My favourite decoration for this trend was an honesty hanging, you can see a couple here on my Pinterest board for this trend. Something like this would add a romantic touch to the wedding trend.

Bespoke cocktails and food pairings created for this trend include:

Pre-dinner Gordon’s Floral Rhubarb Fizz: Fizzy, pink and floral, Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin joins rhubarb syrup and tonic in a trend-hitting cocktail, ready to be batched into jugs with lots of ice and elegant, seasonal edible flowers. This cocktail will add a subtle pop of colour to the neutral tones of this minimalist trend. 

Paired with: Antipasti sharing platter with bread, olives, sundried tomatoes

Units per serve: 1.9


Pre-dinner Tanqueray Gin Marmalade Punch: For this juicy sharing drink, mix Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin with a good quality marmalade, lemon juice and soda. Add plenty of ice and garnish with wheels of dehydrated orange. A perfect alternative to a traditional welcome drink, that can be batched on mass and served in large jugs for guests to help themselves upon arrival. 

Paired with:Wholemeal spiced paprika iced gems with avocado cream (from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook cookbook by Rachel Khoo)

Units per serve: 1


Post-dinner Baileys Salted Caramel Martini: For this rich, stirred down drink, build and shake Baileys Original Irish Cream, cream and salted caramel sauce and serve in a martini glass, for an indulgent twist on a classic cocktail. For the ultimate upgrade and photo-worthy look, dip the rim of the martini class into dark chocolate and coat with chopped pistachios before it dries - treating up at the end of the night has never been so easy and delicious. 

Paired with: Selection of colourful truffles

Units per serve: 1


Post-dinner Johnnie Walker Long Violet: Lavender honey is added to Johnnie Walker Black Label for this gorgeous floral drink. Simply balance with some lemon and sugar, pour over ice and top with soda. As dried flowers feature throughout this trend, garnish your Johnnie Walker Long Violet with a sprig of lavender to help bring this trend to life further through the drinks. 

Paired with: Mini creme brulee infused with lavender (from The Little Paris Kitchen cookbook by Rachel Khoo)

Units per serve: 2


The interpretation of my natural led and minimal mood board was styled by River Jade Gibbs (photography by Stephen Conroy):


Trend Four - Fall, Forage & Foliage

Richly elegant, dramatic and intensely autumnal tones are big for 2019.

I felt this look should be decadent, abundant and full of rich colours. I chose to focus on deep plum tablescapes and autumnal fruit displays for this trend such as pears, red grapes and figs. For the floral decoration, again, I envisioned deep red roses, complemented with pink ranunculus, lots of trailing foliage and some fruit. For indoor weddings, I also loved the idea of symmetrical wall displays, incorporating the floral arrangements used as table decorations, creating a statement piece to fully capture the tone of the theme. Again, you can see my inspiration for this theme and some of the images I used in my mood board here on this Pinterest board.


Bespoke cocktails and food pairings created for this trend include:

Pre-dinner Gordon’s Fruit and Leaf: Gordon’s Sloe Gin is accompanied by freshly pressed apple juice and prosecco, and brought to life with a vibrant lime leaf garnish, delicately pinned to the glass to add an aromatic scent and added elegance to the appearance. Serve to guests on arrival, as a new, on-trend alternative to prosecco or champagne. 

Paired with: Mini goats cheese, fig and rosemary tarts

Units per serve: 1.4


Pre-dinner Tanqueray Gin Green Tea Highball: To bring out the deep colouring of this fall drink, the on-trend flavour of matcha green tea is added to Tanqueray London Dry Gin - vibrant in colour and earthy in taste. The sweetness comes through with the addition of pineapple juice, lemon, sugar and soda. Garnish with a pineapple leaf for a simple yet sophisticated garnish. 

Paired with: Blackberry and beetroot burrata bowl (from Rachel Khoo’s website

Units per serve: 2.2


Post-dinner Baileys Forest Chocolate: Create your own indulgent dessert station to really wow your guests, and pair with a decadent after-dinner drink. Try smooth and velvety Baileys Chocolat Luxe blended with creamy hot chocolate and cherry liqueur, for a sumptuous hot drink that perfectly pairs with rich desserts. Simply garnish with a melted chocolate rim and dried cherry pieces.

Paired with: Black Forest gateau with cherries

Units per serve: 0.9


Post-dinner Johnnie Walker Ginger Fig: For this long, spicy post-dinner cocktail, Johnnie Walker Black Label is combined with fig syrup, lemon and ginger ale, with half a fig placed on top to garnish. The flavours of fig and ginger pair perfectly with the post-dinner cheese board.

Paired with: Cheeseboard selection

Units per serve: 2


And final images, after interpreting my mood board, were full of fall textures and deep colours (photography by Stephen Conroy):


I loved doing this collaboration, it was such a fun brief to work on. As I mentioned, I often start with Pinterest for gathering ideas, and I collated images for each of these themes which I then used to curate a mood board on each theme for the client. If you would like to see more, you can also see a few additional final images from the shoot on my Pinterest, styled on the day by River Jade Gibbs, and photographed by Stephen Conroy.

 Emma x

Full Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with DIAGEO, and I received payment for this along with the additional work mentioned in this post. All words are my own. Thank you for supporting this post in order that I can continue to write this blog. #AD

Emma Harris