Although going to a bar for a cocktail can be a bit more expensive, it’s often an enjoyable experience simply because of the presentation of the drink. Bartenders that put effort and care into a drink’s presentation with thoughtful garnishes can be hard to find. Fortunately, you can become that bartender by trying the following six garnish ideas the next time you make a cranberry vodka drink or other cocktail.
1. Flavored Ice Cubes
For an elegant and flavorful garnish, you can add citrus peel or fresh herbs to ice cube trays and fill them with water. After they are frozen, your garnish of choice will be suspended in the ice, completely altering the look and flavor of your cocktail.
Try freezing basil, mint, rosemary sprigs to ice cubes, or flavor spheres of ice with lemon, orange, or grapefruit peels.
2. Candied Fruit
Placing a candied orange wheel, a slice of ginger, or even a carrot shaving on the rim of the glass or at the bottom of the cup can infuse a sweet yet complex flavor to the drink. Plus, the best garnishes are edible ones, so you or your guests can enjoy a refreshing snack before, during, or after the cocktail.
3. Edible Flowers
If you want a super simple, yet completely elegant garnish that is sure to impress your guests, try adding an edible flower to the top of your drink. Not every flower you’ll find in the wild is edible, so be sure to do thorough research and get your edible flowers from a trustworthy source.
Despite the extra research on your part, adding edible flowers to drinks is a fun way to incorporate the beauty that flowers can bring to any occasion. Some common edible flowers include chamomile, evening primrose, and blossoms on many fruit trees.
4. Savory Food Garnishes
A garnish doesn’t always have to necessarily look pretty- sometimes the buzzworthy garnishes are the ones that simply taste the best! Add tiny cocktail wieners or slices of cheese to a Bloody Mary, or serve a small paper cup of buttered popcorn to accompany a sweet drink.
Of course, most people associate martinis with olives, but you can also mix it up a bit and get more creative. Try adding cheese-stuffed olives, or experiment with layering pickled vegetables between slices of beef jerky on a skewer.
5. Gummy Bears or Other Candies
To conjure up nostalgic memories, place gummy bears, sour gummy worms, or other gummy candies on a stick or cocktail sword in an attractive fashion. You can either submerge the candies to infuse with the cocktail, or you can place it over the top to be the first thing your guest sees when they receive the drink.
Some bars have even famously added a puff of cotton candy to the top of the drink, which adds a mystical appeal to the drink. Guests can then choose to eat the cotton candy on its own or stir it into their cocktail for added flavor.
6. Customized Salt
We have all seen glasses coated with salt at restaurants or get-togethers, but have you ever seen a salt-rimmed glass that contains more than just salt? Some bartenders like to add lemon or orange zest to a bit of salt and use a mortar and pestle (or food processor) to mix the two thoroughly, adding a complex and pleasing flavor.
You could also experiment with infusing interesting flavors into sugar the same way.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
It’s easy to fall into a routine of throwing together a drink anytime you’re craving a cocktail, but taking a few extra moments to create memorable garnishes for you or your guests can make any event feel extra special.