5 Beautiful Cocktail Garnishes

Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a beginner in the world of cocktails, garnishes are a fantastic way to elevate your drink and make it truly Instagram-worthy. In this article, we’ll explore five simple yet stunning cocktail garnishes that you can easily create at home, regardless of your skill level. So, let’s dive in and discover how to make these beautiful garnishes, along with some pro tips and drink pairing suggestions.

Why Garnish Your Cocktails?

Cocktail garnishes are more than just decorative additions to your drink. They serve a purpose by adding aroma and subtle flavors that can completely transform the taste of your cocktail. Don’t underestimate the power of garnishes! They can make your drink more visually appealing and enhance the overall drinking experience. To learn more about the purpose and art of cocktail garnishes, check out my “Guide to the Cocktail Garnish.”

Berry & Herb Skewer

Let’s start with a delightful and versatile garnish that pairs well with botanical drinks and cocktails. The berry and herb skewer not only adds a pop of color to your drink but also infuses it with a refreshing aroma.

Berry & Herb Pairing Ideas

Berries and herbs create a natural harmony of flavors. Here are some popular combinations to explore:

  • Strawberry + basil
  • Raspberry + mint
  • Blueberry + thyme
  • Blackberry + sage
Further reading:  The Art of Making Perfect Loose Leaf Iced Tea

Supplies:

  • Berries of your choice
  • Fresh herb of your choice
  • Cocktail pick

How to Make the Garnish:

  1. Begin by selecting your berries. Look for ripe but firm fruit that is the right size to fit on your cocktail pick. If using strawberries, consider slicing them in half to showcase their vibrant colors.
  2. Choose your herb. Pluck a top section of the stem with appealing leaves to create a mini bouquet.
  3. Use the cocktail pick to create a hole in the berry for the herb stem. This will secure the herb to the berries.
  4. Insert the herb stem into the berry, then skewer the berry with the cocktail pick. Continue adding berries until the pick is filled or looks visually pleasing.
  5. Feel free to get creative! You can arrange the berries on the pick in any pattern you like, or even fill the entire pick with a single type of berry.

What Cocktails Pair Well with a Berry & Herb Garnish?

  • Gin & Tonic
  • Vodka Soda
  • Tom Collins
  • Daiquiri with muddled berries or berry syrup (match the berries in the garnish)
  • Basil Gin Smash (or mocktail version)

Fancy Pineapple Fronds

For a tropical touch in your cocktails, pineapple fronds are an excellent choice. This garnish is incredibly easy and adds an exotic flair to any drink, from tiki creations to classic Pina Coladas.

Supplies:

  • Fresh pineapple with intact leaves
  • Sharp knife
  • Pair of pinking shears (optional)

How to Make the Garnish:

  1. Select two to three pineapple leaves that are in good condition, avoiding any that are damaged or crushed.
  2. Pluck the leaves from the pineapple, trim their white ends, rinse them, and pat them dry.
  3. If desired, use pinking shears to create a decorative zigzag edge along the leaves.
  4. Place the garnish on your glass, and let the tropical vibes transport you to a beachside paradise.
Further reading:  The Truth About Growing Seeds in Ice Cream Cones

What Cocktails Go Well with a Fancy Pineapple Frond Garnish?

  • Pina Colada
  • Shark’s Tooth
  • Pineapple Absinthe Vodka Soda
  • Cobra’s Fang
  • Pineapple Chamomile Lemonade

Apple Fan

For a visually appealing and edible garnish, try creating an apple fan. This simple technique works with various fruits such as apples, pears, and peaches, instantly adding an elegant touch to your cocktails.

Supplies:

  • Apple
  • Sharp knife
  • Cocktail pick

How to Make the Garnish:

  1. Stand the apple upright on a cutting board and make a cut about ⅛” out from the stem, removing one half of the apple’s flesh without cutting into the core or seeds.
  2. Place the cut section face down on the cutting board and turn it so that the part that was previously at the top (near the stem) faces left or right.
  3. Trim the remaining apple piece to include only the thickest middle section.
  4. Thinly slice the section into three or more pieces.
  5. Using a cocktail pick, skewer the sections together, ensuring stability.
  6. Fan out the sections and place the pick on your cocktail glass.

What Cocktails Pair Well with an Apple Fan Garnish?

  • Jack Rose
  • Bitter Apple Negroni
  • Midnight Sunshine (frozen peach & aquavit cocktail)
  • Apple Martini
  • First Frost
  • Garden of Eden
  • Fall-themed Old Fashioned
  • Any cocktail involving apples or apple cider!

Cucumber Ribbon

For a touch of freshness and elegance, a cucumber ribbon is an ideal garnish. This versatile addition can be wrapped around the glass, rolled into a spiral, or folded like an accordion and skewered onto a cocktail pick.

Supplies:

  • Cucumber (English cucumbers work great)
  • Sharp knife or vegetable peeler (recommended)
  • Cocktail pick

How to Make the Garnish:

  1. Wash and dry the cucumber. Remove the ends.
  2. Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, carefully peel thin layers of cucumber, ensuring you include some white flesh for stability.
  3. Look for a wide ribbon that is mostly white with a thin green edge. Avoid peeling into the seeds.
  4. Gently fold the ribbon back and forth, then pierce it down the middle with a cocktail pick.
  5. If your cucumber is short, use multiple sections of folded ribbon on the pick.
  6. Now, place the cucumber ribbon garnish on your glass, and enjoy the refreshing twist it adds to your drink.
Further reading:  Common Issues That Affect String of Pearls Plants and How to Resolve Them

What Cocktails Pair Well with a Cucumber Ribbon Garnish?

  • Gin & Tonic
  • Cucumber Mint Vodka Soda
  • Dragon Fruit Cucumber Limeade
  • Aquavit & Tonic
  • Any cocktail involving cucumber!

Fancy Citrus Twist

To achieve a sophisticated and visually striking garnish, consider a fancy citrus twist. This specific twist technique adds a spiky or leafy appearance, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your cocktail.

Supplies:

  • Citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit)
  • Sharp knife or vegetable peeler (recommended)

How to Make the Garnish:

  1. Choose a piece of citrus fruit that is smooth and plump, giving slightly when gently squeezed.
  2. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove a wide swath of peel, making sure to leave some of the white pith intact.
  3. Trim the peel into a curved shape with pointed ends, resembling a leaf.
  4. Make a vertical slit in the center of the peel to allow it to sit on your glass.
  5. Cut several lines from the pointed ends toward the edge, creating spikes.
  6. Gently wrap the twist around a chopstick or pencil to set its curved shape.
  7. Finally, place the fancy citrus twist on the rim of your cocktail glass, adding a touch of elegance.

What Cocktails Pair Well with a Fancy Citrus Twist?

  • Negroni
  • Martini
  • Vieux Carré
  • Sazerac
  • Old Fashioneds (such as Saffron Honey Rum Old Fashioned)

I hope you enjoy experimenting with these beautiful garnishes! Don’t forget to share your creations on Instagram and tag me @moodymixologist. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Cheers!