Cocktail garnishes can make the difference between a good looking cocktail and a great looking cocktail. They can infuse flavour and character into the drinks you serve. They can be simple or elaborate, fruity or fun, edible or inedible, large or small, dropped into drinks or served on the side. The only limit is your imagination.
If you're looking for some inspiration to start you off, here are some ideas from us.
Flowers delight our senses in many ways, not only because they are beautiful. Edible flowers, as cocktail garnishes, add a lovely splash of colour to cocktails. Adding flowers to the cocktail will make the experience even more delightful.
Some good choices of edible flowers are lavender, violas, roses, nasturtiums and orchids. However, you must remember that not all flowers are appropriate for a cocktail garnish. For example, certain flowers are poisonous. So, please take caution. Make sure to do your research well before eating!
Fresh herbs, such as mint, rosemary and thyme, lend both flavour and visual interest to a cocktail. Smack your fresh-herb garnish against your hand before adding it to the cocktail—this will release essentials oils and add extra aroma to the drink.
Cut-Out Fruit Shapes
Use a small-ish cookie cutter to cut crisp fruits, such as apples, pears or pineapples, into various shapes. Skewer the fruit-shape on a cocktail stick, or use a sharp knife to cut a thin slice and hang it over the edge of the glass.
Save time and money. Dehydrated fruits are already sliced and ready for garnishing, unlike fresh ingredients. The preparation time can be significantly reduced when using dehydrated fruits to garnish your cocktails, especially when making multiple servings.
Don’t forget to garnish your winter drinks, too! For mulled wine, spiked apple cider and seasonal cocktails, the addition of a cinnamon stick will give the drink a finished look.
are elegant, delicate garnishes made by twisting a thin strip of citrus peel. An orange or lemon twist is usually used to finish off the cocktail, but a lime twist is also an excellent addition. Except for the peel, the fruit remains whole and can be juiced without losing nutrients.
There is no doubt that citrus twist garnish is one of the most difficult to make, and the best advice is to practice the technique until you have perfected it. The following step-by-step instructions will help you learn how to make a perfect citrus twist.
Super-Thin Citrus Slices
Use a sharp paring knife to make extremely thin citrus slices. Use the handle of a spoon to carefully slide the citrus slices into place around the inside of your cocktail glass. This garnish works best with cocktails that are served on the rocks, as the ice will help keep the slices in place.
Chocolate shavings add extra oomph to dessert drinks like a chocolate martini or brandy alexander. Just scrape the blade of a vegetable peeler lengthwise across a room-temperature block or bar of chocolate to make curls. You can also use a spice grater to dust a drink with fine chocolate shavings.
It’s a classic garnish for a margarita—but it’s easy enough to add sparkle to all sorts of drinks. First, moisten the top edge of the glass with the juice from a lime or lemon wedge. Add salt to a shallow dish, and dip the top of the glass into the salt to evenly coat the edge of the glass.
Pickles (or Pickled Vegetables)
Pickles are another great savoury cocktail garnish. The briny flavour is a perfect complement for tomato-based cocktails. Small pickle slices or mini gherkins work best; skewer ’em on a cocktail pick for best results.
For an indulgent dessert, top your drinks with whipped cream. This rich garnish works best with ice cream drinks, such as pink squirrels or grasshoppers, or with cocktails that are served hot, like Irish coffee or spiked cocoa.
A fruit wedge is a simple but classic garnish. Cut lemons, oranges or pineapple into 1/4″ or 1/2″ wedges. Then cut a slit up to the peel/rind and place the wedge on the rim of the glass. It adds tropical flair to pina coladas!