A Guide to Cocktail Garnishes

Garnishes can be used to elevate any cocktail, in both appearance and flavour. But they don’t need to be fancy or overly complicated, all you need is a little creativity! We’ll be giving you some tips and tricks on what garnishes you could use for any cocktail you make at home.

These are classic garnishes for a number of cocktails, like the slice of orange that’s served with an old fashioned, or a cocktail stick of olives that rests inside a martini glass, but there’s a few ways you can utilise fruits and vegetables for a number of cocktails. For example, using fresh fruit and berries can really add a whole array of colour and taste to your cocktail, and how you serve it adds versatility too. You could cut your fruit so it can be placed on the rim, or use cocktail skewers to lay the fruit on top of the glass like is commonly seen with Martinis. However you decide to display it, it’s bound to elevate your cocktail to the next level.

Fruit cocktail image

When working with citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, or oranges, you can always go a step further and make some candied citrus peel! For example, why not add a candied orange peel to that Cosmopolitan you’re making? It’ll be guaranteed to make a lasting impression on any guests you invite to your next dinner party.

herb cocktail

Herbs are known having a variety of aromas and flavours, a lot of which pair very well with cocktails, both sweet and savoury. For example, with a Strawberry Daquiri, you may choose to garnish this sweet cocktail with some refreshing mint leaves, or basil for a Bloody Mary. You can even use herbs to garnish cocktail stirrers, such as rosemary or thyme (or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could use these herbs as skewers for fruit).

Now these are a little more fancy, but they’re worth it for the reaction they’ll garner as you present them to your guests. Once you’ve made sure that they’re safe to eat, you can place these either on the rim, or delicately into the centre of your glass, so they float on the surface of your cocktail. Of course, they don’t have to be eaten, and can be removed or ignored once you begin to drink them, but they help make an elegant statement. Fruit leaves can also be used as a garnish, such as pineapple leaves, or mint leaves.

flower cocktail
espresso bean

Although you may not think of it as a garnish, using salt or sugar to line the rim of your glass enhances, and balances, the flavours of your cocktail. Another classic garnish is coffee beans for the espresso martini, placed on top of the cocktail. Of course, more edible garnishes are gaining popularity with mixologists, for example stuffed olives, or pickled ingredients, so don’t be afraid to think out of the box when it comes to what you can use to bulk up or add texture to your cocktail!

I know most may not consider ice as a garnish, but it has more uses in cocktails than just functionality. Shaved ice is the perfect accompaniment for more tropical cocktails, such as a lychee mojito, or a rum punch. You can also customise your ice to match your drinks! You feel as though a certain herb might lift your drink? Add those herbs to your ice, and either leave it as cubes, or crush it using a blender, and then add it to your finished cocktail.

crushed ice in cocktail glass
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