Looking for ways to stretch your budget when it comes to your wedding bar service? We’ve got you covered! With a little creativity, you can strike the balance between offering a great wedding bar/cocktail experience and saving some money. Plus, you can put the cash you saved towards your honeymoon – WINNING. Read on for some insider tips from Chesapeake Bartenders on how to save money on the alcohol and beverage service portion of your wedding budget.

Planning a wedding is stressful enough, especially when you realize you are over budget and have additional surprise expenses. Having a great bar is important to you, but you are not trying to break the bank offering top shelf liquor and expensive craft cocktails. But at the same time, you want something that will compliment your theme and impress your guests. Sound familiar? Read on, because we have 10 tips for creating a fantastic wedding bar that is budget-friendly.

Offer A Wine and Beer Only Wedding Bar

This is a trend we have been seeing a lot of in the last couple of years, and we don’t see it going away anytime soon. Offering beer and wine only can help cut your price per person alcohol budget in half! Why? You don’t need mixers, expensive liquor, extra serving ice, etc. Get creative with local craft beers that match your theme. Buy the wines by the case for a bigger discount. 

Create A Sangria Bar

Hot tip – everyone loves sangria. Men, women, boomers, millennials. Your great aunt Susie.  Sangria is always a crowd pleaser. And there are seasonal sangria recipes that can pair beautifully with your wedding any time of year. From fall sangrias that feature cinnamon, rosemary and burnt orange flavor profiles, to white summer sangrias that include fresh berries and mint, the possibilities are endless. Sangrias display beautifully as well. Batch them in a 2 gallon glass dispenser with sliced fruits to show off an array of colors and ingredients. Ready for the best part? Sangrias are inexpensive compared to many other types of alcoholic beverages. A 2 gallon batch of sangria can be made with a 1.5 liter bottle of wine, club soda, sprite, a small bottle of brandy and a small bottle of triple sec. Serve it over ice and you have 50+ servings. 

Implement A Mini Cocktail Menu During Cocktail Hour

Just like cocktail hour usually features grazing boards and small bites, cocktail hour can offer mini samplings of cocktail creations. You can feature a signature drink in mini mason jars (jars can be purchased on Amazon). In general, you don’t want people to get intoxicated quickly during cocktail hour, so featuring one or two mini cocktails is a great way to get a drink in their hand, but also slow down the speed at which people are consuming alcohol prior to the main reception. A really great idea we saw on Pinterest were pre-made mini margaritas poured into Mini Patron bottles. They looked beautiful and also served the purpose of a smaller portion size. 

Try Offering Beer and Wine Only At Cocktail Hour

If you are having a full bar at your main reception, a way to reduce the cost of necessary liquor is to serve only beer and wine during cocktail hour. 

Smaller Cups Means Smaller Pours

The bigger the glassware, the bigger the drink. The bigger the drink, the more alcohol and ice you will need. If you stick to 9 oz cups, you can help control the cost of all ingredients. 

Larger Bottles = More Cost Effective

1.5 Liter Bottles of Wine and Liquor will provide the most bang for your buck. Also try to buy by the case if you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for a bulk discount.

Shop Soda Sales To Save Money on Mixers

Sodas have gotten more expensive in the last year due to supply chain issues and inflation. One of the ways we have combatted rising costs, is by shopping sales when they happen. Sam’s Club has some of the best deals on soda flats. We also buy Pepsi products when they are on sale, and coke products when they are on sale. The most cost effective way to buy soda  is to buy 2 Liter bottles instead of cans. 

Avoid Top Shelf Brands  – Ask For Rail Liquor Instead

While you might prefer Tito’s and Don Julio, it doesn’t mean you need to serve all your wedding guests top shelf brands. Instead go for “rail” versions – these are not usually recognizable brands, but they are way cheaper. Plus, I don’t care how much expertise one has, NO ONE can tell which brand of vodka is in a vodka cranberry cocktail. If you live in a state that allows grocery stores like Walmart or Costco to sell alcohol – get thee to one of these big box grocers and purchase liquor there. The Kirkland brands offered at Costco are very high quality spirits, but much more cost-effective than top shelf brands. If you live in a state where Trader Joe’s sells booze, buy wine by the case there and check out their TJ branded liquor. You will save a lot of money AND the quality is fantastic too. Win Win!


We hope these ideas help save you some money on your wedding bar. If you are in the Mid-Atlantic and are looking for a professional bartending company to service your wedding, please complete the form below:


Thank you to Geeky Craze for having Chesapeake Bartenders contribute to this recipe roundup on how to make Sangarita

What is Sangarita? A mix between a frozen margarita and frozen sangria. It is a wonderful drink and there are many flavorful variations you can try when making one. Check out this Sangarita Recipe article from Geeky Craze which features a roundup of recommendations and recipe ideas.


Full link:


Brett and Courtney


July 24, 2021 – Annapolis, Maryland

Chesapeake Bartenders Unveils Halloween Cocktail Kit Menu For Pre-Orders in Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne’s County

Chesapeake Bartenders, a professional event bartending business based in Arnold, Maryland unveils Halloween Cocktail Kit Menu.

The newest cocktail kit menu consists of a variety of cocktail creations inspired by Halloween, and includes the following options:

  • Smoked S’mores Old Fashioned
  • Devil’s Sangria
  • Black Widow Smash
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte Martini
  • Bourbon Caramel Cider
  • Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

The Halloween Cocktail kits start at $75+, provide between 8-15 servings per kit, have free delivery in Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne’s County, include festive garnishes, directions, all necessary ingredients, a small container of dry ice pellets (to create smokey drinks), Halloween-themed cups and more.

The kits are delivered in gift bags, with all contents inside. There are two types of Halloween Cocktail Kits – Ready to Drink or DIY (more interactive). The only cocktail kit that is Do-It-Yourself, is the Smoked S’mores Old Fashioned kit, which features a bottle of bourbon, marshmallow simple syrup, chocolate bitters, a mini Sterno S’mores heat fuel can (for roasting marshmallows as a garnish), and additional ingredients for a more interactive mixology experience.

In an effort to stay ahead of potential supply chain issues, Chesapeake Bartenders unveiled this cocktail kit menu months ahead of time. Co-Owner Brett Workman says

“over the last year, we found it really difficult to keep necessary cocktail kit items in stock, especially some of the containers for the cocktails and the garnishes. We learned that during the holidays, we often get last minute orders, which we did our best to deliver. Sometimes however, we just could not get the necessary supplies to fill those orders. This time around, we decided to share the menu well in advance, in an effort to confirm pre-orders and proactively order the quantities needed in time for delivery.”

Pre-orders are now open, and simply require customers to fill out a form on the website. Delivery is free any day in October, with the exception of Halloween, which includes a $10 delivery charge – a standard rate the company charges to deliver on holidays.

For more information or to pre-order, please visit the Halloween Cocktail Kit page.




Chesapeake Bartenders is an event bartending company based in Arnold, MD and serving Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia and Delaware. Service offerings include staffing professional, TIPS-certified bartenders and servers, bartending packages, cocktail kits, mixology events, mobile bars and custom drink creation. For more information, please email

1517 Ritchie Hwy Ste L3, Arnold, MD 21012




Pumpkin Spice Latte Martini

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte Martini

Basic Witches! Your PSL game just got an upgrade. If you start your day with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, then you can end your day with a PSL Tini, AKA the Pumpkin Spice Latte Martini. Not only is this the perfect autumn night cap, but it is a great cocktail to whip up for Halloween parties and gatherings. You can whip it up as a batch to serve at a party, or make it as a single serving.

Tip: This is the Martha Stewart-esque version where you make this baby up from scratch. You even make the pumpkin simple syrup (which can actually be used in your coffee in the morning if you have some leftover). However, if you are pinched for time, we have a Quick PSL Martini Recipe that requires only a few ingredients and can be made in a couple minutes. 

Tip: This cocktail can be made dairy-free and vegan. Be sure to use a vegan vanilla vodka and dairy-free alternative to milk (we love Oatly oat milk for the vegan version of this recipe)

Don’t feel like making this recipe? You can order your very own PSL Martini cocktail kit, ready to drink, with delivery (if you live in Maryland). Free delivery on Pumpkin Spice Latte Martini cocktail kits in Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne’s County. Please place your order on our Halloween Cocktail Kit Order Form.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Martini Shaker
  • Martini Glass
  • Ice
  • Vanilla Vodka
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (we get it from Trader Joe’s)
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Pumpkin Puree (if you cannot find this, don’t worry you can substitute pumpkin flavored syrup)
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar (or white if you don’t have brown sugar)
  • Vanilla Vodka
  • Espresso OR dried/instant espresso (we love Cafe Bustelo instant espresso for this recipe)
  • Pumpkin Pie flavored syrup (the kind you would add to a latte) – Monin makes a wonderful syrup
  • Milk/cream or a dairy free alternative


Step 1: Making the Pumpkin Simple Syrup:

  • You will combine 1/2 a cup of pumpkin puree in a sauce pan on medium heat with 1/2 cup of water, and 1/2 a cup of sugar.
  • Stir until sugar and water have dissolved. Remove mixture from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover, and put in fridge.
  • Once pumpkin simple syrup is cooled, use a small funnel and transfer it into a bottle or jar

Step 2: Making the Espresso

You have a few options here. You can get espresso shots to go from your local coffee shop, you can use your own espresso machine if you have one. OR you can use instant espresso (my go to for this recipe is Cafe Bustelo instant espresso which can be found in most grocery stores)

  • 1 shot of espresso
  • If you are using instant espresso, refer to the directions to make one serving.
  • Tip: if using Cafe Bustelo, I use 1 teaspoon of instant espresso in 2 oz of hot water

Step 3: Prepare Your Martini Glass

You will need to separate small plates or saucers

  • Add 1 oz of water to a small plate or saucer
  • Mix one tablespoon of sugar with one tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon or a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg works too)
  • Add sugar/spice mixture to a small plate or sauce
  • Dip martini glass edge in water (basically you want to get the rim of the martini glass wet)
  • Immediately dip martini glass rim into saucer containing sugar/spice mixture. Spin the rim around in the mixture until the entire rim of the glass is dusted with the “rimming sugar”

Step 3: Making the PSL Martini:

  • Fill martini shaker 3/4 with ice
  • Add 2.5 – 3 ounces vanilla vodka to shaker (personally I do a slow 4 count when pouring vodka haha)
  • Add 1.5 oz of pumpkin simple syrup to shaker
  • Add 2.5 oz cream to shaker (or milk or milk substitute – oat milk works great)
  • Add 1 oz pumpkin pie syrup to shaker
  • Add one shot of espresso to shaker
  • Put lid on and shake the shaker!! Shake vigorously for 30 seconds – yes this counts as part of your workout
  • Strain into rimmed martini glass
  • Sip and enjoy!


Optional: Add whipped cream or large marshmallows to the top of your PSL martini and top with a sprinkle of sugar/spice mix. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you are feeling extra basic 😉 This recipe can also be enjoyed over ice instead of being shaken and strained.

What do you think of this recipe? If you make it, please leave a comment and let us know if you enjoyed it.