Everyone needs a good lesson or refresher on garnishes. Many classic drinks simply cannot exist without them. Ranging from simple citrus pinwheels to more complicated skewered candied flags, garnishes are an easy way to elevate any drink and add to your home bar (see our last article for tips on home bars!). Prepare for your next party with these easy to implement garnishes that will take your bartender game to the next level and will surely impress all your guests.
Citrus fruits like limes, lemons, and oranges are extremely important components of cocktails that add delicious sour notes, subtle bitterness, and acidity. These little but important slices of fruit are the very things that create flavor while bringing that pretty, bright color to drinks.
These vary from rustic to thin and neat.
Cut along the side of the fruit, getting some pith but not too much (pith provides the structure for the twist but note that more pith means more bitterness in your drink). You can use a channel knife if you have one otherwise a regular knife or a sharp peeler works just as well! For a neat thinner slice, trim the sides and angle the bottom and top. Twist yourself to your desired shape and enjoy
Super-thin twist (trick)
Slice a ring from your fruit of choice. Cut through one side of the peel and the pulp, all the way up to the rind on the other side, and then cut the pulp off of the peel so that you are left with one long thin strip of peel to twist
This is exactly as easy as it sounds. Cut a ring from your citrus of choice, followed by a slice to slide the wheel onto the rim of the drink. Simple but pretty!
HERBS (basil, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon…)
You may not immediately think to add herbs to your cocktails aside from the easy mint, but this is an extremely underrated choice for garnish. They look stunning in your drink, are sophisticated, and not to mention easy!
Rather than instructing you how to insert a stick of lavender or other herbs into a drink (it seems self-explanatory) here is a list of common herbs to use in cocktails and how they elevate a drink’s flavor pallet:
- Mint – extremely common, cool and refreshing, blend it with acid such as lime
- Rosemary – savory, works best with drinks containing a sweet or citrus taste, try adding to your vodka lemonade!
- Basil – extremely earthy and herbal but sweet, try pairing with lemon, lime, mint, or even cinnamon!
- Lavender – woody and floral, great for lemon or other light citrus drinks)
- Cinnamon – while this is a spice, it’s definitely worth including! Warm and flavorful, it’s a great treat to elevate drinks in the fall and wintertime.
Fruit is an especially fun add on to your drinks during summertime. While giving jazzy color to your glasses, they bring sweet flavor and are great at soaking up booze!
Either cut a slice into your fruit so it can sit on the rim nicely or if using a larger fruit like pineapple or watermelon, wedge it before doing the same.
Cut into shapes
You can also have fun and cut your fruit into shapes such as stars or our favorite, balls! Put those shapes straight on the rim or use a toothpick to highlight them even more.
These are fun and very simple to do. Take a variety of fruit and stick onto a toothpick. Have fun and even combine with a citrus peel to tie off either end or just leave your skewer be, and place it across the top of your glass to be the star of the show.
You can try and make candied fruit (this is done by soaking fresh fruit pieces in a sugar syrup, then heating the mixture until all the fruit’s original water content is replaced with sugar) or picking up some pretty looking candied fruits from the store and save yourself the work!
SALT / SUGAR RIM
Need we say more? Such a simple little trick to make any drink more fun. Tip: switch up the classic salt or sugar for sprinkles or pop rocks for a completely new take on drinks we all know and love!