Tag: cocktails


There are many different ways to incorporate a bar and beverage service into an event. At Willowdale Estate our clients can opt for a full open bar, a beer and wine open bar, a cash bar or a bar that is complimentary for guests for a portion of the event and then moves into a cash bar later in the evening. Regardless of the level of service- the bar is always a popular feature at our events, and there are many ways to ramp up the experience for guests.

custom great room wooden bar event venue (800x533)

photo: zev fisher


Bars come in all shapes and sizes, and at Willowdale Estate we have two custom mahogany bars with black slate tops. Our bars were designed to bring all of the sophistication of our historic surroundings to an event but be flexible enough to be displayed in any room we choose, and to have all of the features and functionality of a restaurant bar. A complimentary back bar displays glassware and extra bottles, and the center of bar is the perfect place to display things like bar signs, pricing information, or bottles that are featured on the bar at the event.

bar sign for cocktails at willowdale estate (800x532)

photo: bharat parmar


One detail for bars that we have always loved is the custom bar sign that highlights important information like the featured drink, bar pricing, or bar hours. When your guests come to an event they generally don’t have printed menus to order from so signs are a great way to quickly convey the information they need. We love this mirrored sign that highlights the featured drinks for the night “Old Fashioned & Espresso Martini”.

Striped straws and cocktail shaker from the bar at Willowdale Estate, north shore massachusetts venue    cocktail with vodka st germain white cran lime juice at willowdale estate topsfield ma

photos: dan aguirre


Many events at Willowdale Estate include great bar services such as poured wine service with dinners, or a passed signature drink during the event. Adding passed or poured drinks during important transition times at your event is a great way to ensure that your guests don’t have to travel too far, or wait in lines to be offered a drink. Willowdale Estate often offers a passed drink to accompany the bar service if there is a large number of people entering a cocktail event all at once, and if your event has speeches or important programming poured wine is a great way to keep guests glued to their seats! Another way to give your bar some personality is to add some themed features to the bar. If your event has a logo consider printing it on the bar napkins, or if you have a prominent color at the event order striped or colored straws to match the event!

wooden bar balcony gold chandelier cocktail hour (800x532)photo: bharat parmar


The last and perhaps most important detail to consider is the location of your bar. Think about displaying your bar in a highly visible location with room for guest enter and exit the service area easily. Hiding the bar away can make it more difficult for guests to find the bar, and may make them feel like they are missing out if they can’t see the rest of the event area. We love display bars in the central area for cocktails hours, and for outdoor events, the garden courtyard is the perfect place for guests to gather under the bistro lights to enjoy a drink and conversation while still having a clear view of the tent area where there could be dancing or other event activity.

Guests enjoy cocktails from the bar in the courtyard at night under the bistro lights for a September wedding (800x532)

photo: bharat parmar

If you want to see more great photos of our events – follow our boards on pinterest or photos on instagram:




Date: January 29th, 2016

Perfect Fall Beverages

It’s time to get into the spirit of the season by serving colorful cocktails, punches and seasonal drinks at your parties! We have four drink ideas that not only have the perfect seasonal colors of red, gold, orange and amber but they are simple to create and taste great too!


Colorful apple sangria signature drink wedding at a Topsfield Massachusetts event venue - Willowdale Estate

photo: Joyelle West http://www.jwestwedding.com/


1 bottle  red wine

2 cups apple cider

½ cup orange juice

½ cup brandy

Fruit: apples and/or pear


Pour the wine, cider, juice, and brandy into a large pitcher or punch bowl. Ice this drink to chill, or prepare early and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you are ready to serve, spoon out some of your fruit garnish into a wine glass and then add in your sangria over the fruit. Garnish the wine glass with a cinnamon stick or orange slice!


THE GOLD RUSH – (close cousin to the HOT TODDY)

The Gold Rush a great yellow cocktail for a signature drink at a Topsfield Massachusetts event venue - Willowdale Estate

photo: Bonnie Estell Photography http://www.b-ephoto.com/


3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/2 lemons, juiced, about 4 tablespoons


Pour honey into a small jar or mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk vigorously until they form a thin simple syrup. Whisk in the bourbon and lemon juice. The beauty of this cocktail is you can serve it as a Hot Toddy or to make this drink into the Gold Rush, simply shake it with ice and pour it into a cocktail glass with or without rocks. (makes 2 drinks)



A Rum Swizzle perfect color for a fall signature drink at a Topsfield Massachusetts event venue - Willowdale Estate

photo: Brett Alison http://brettalison.com/


4oz Dark Rum

4oz Gold Rum

5oz Pineapple Juice

5oz Orange Juice

¾ oz Granadine

6 dashes of Angostura Bitters


Combine your Dark Rum, Gold Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, Grenadine and Angostura bitters into a pitcher ⅓ full of crushed ice . Churn vigorously until a frothing appears or mix in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a collins glass with or without rocks.



photo: Caroline Talbot Photography http://carolinetalbotphoto.com/


If you aren’t one for a cocktail, try a Beertail! Pour Southern Tier’s “Pumking” into Pilsner Glass and garnish with Cinnamon Stick or try a Cinnamon Sugar Rim on the glass.

We hope you liked our tips for some colorful cocktails for your next event! Find even more of our favorite drinks over on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/willowdale/signature-drinks-/

Date: October 9th, 2015

4 Cocktails for the 4th

The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate- and we believe that no party is complete without a great cocktail! Here are some red, white and blue cocktail ideas that will taste great for a summer party, AND get everyone in a patriotic mood.  One fun addition to some of these drinks would striped paper straws – we love this red white and blue assortment of straws for our 1st and 4th picks!

Four Cocktails for the fourth of july

1- Classic Mojito

2oz White Rum

1.5oz Lime Juice

2tspns Simple Syrup

Soda Water

6 Leaves Muddled Mint

Mint or Lime Garnish (optional)

muddle mint leaves with sugar and lime juice in a collins glass, add ice, pour over rum and top with soda water

2 – The Spark

1.5oz Citron Vodka

1.5oz Raspberry Lemonade

shake well with ice and pour into a cosmo or martini glass

3 – Martini On Rocks

1.5oz Gin (or Vodka)

.5oz Dry Vermouth

Garnish with Olive

stir gin, and vermouth with ice and strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice, garnish with olive

4 – Dancing Juice

2oz Vodka

1oz Cranberry Juice

1oz Blue Curacao

shake well with ice and pour into a Collins Glass filled with fresh ice

All of the images are from real Willowdale Estate events and were served as a “Signature Drink”.  Adding a featured or signature drink to your next event is a great way to suggest what your guests might enjoy drinking at your event, and it is also the perfect way to highlight a special party theme or holiday!

PHOTOS: 1- Molly Ann Photography 2 & 3- Megan Dandeles 4- Zac Wolf Photography



Date: June 30th, 2014
Categories: Events, Wedding Trend