Now you know what tools you need to start your home-bar let’s talk about the garnishes you’ll use the most. Garnishes are very important in order to make your cocktails stand out from the others! A cocktail without any garnish is like wearing a suit without a tie. It’s nice but hum… something is missing!
Here 5 garnishes you need to have.
Straws, little umbrellas or little cocktail decorations.
It might seem obvious but how many times I saw cocktails without straw in bars and nightclubs.
Straws are good to sip your cocktail and make it last longer but it’s also useful to mix it. Especially for rum coke or other cocktails with juice where the booze has the tendency to stay on the top or at the bottom of the glass.
Also, don’t forget that drinking a cocktail with a straw makes it have a weaker taste. Because when you’re tasting something you’re using two organs the first one is your mouth and the other one is your nose. And by drinking with a straw you are clipping your nose.
Also, a little trick I learned when I was working in a bar from a colleague bartender: when someone is keeping asking you for stronger drinks like rum coke and don’t wanna pay for a double just pour some booze inside the straw and fill it. Like that you don’t waste a lot of alcohol and the customer believes you really made it stronger since his first sip was only the alcohol from the straw. Be careful it only works with large straws, not the small sipping ones!
You can also decorate your cocktails with little umbrellas or other fancy colorful decorations. Most often they’re used with cocktails like mojitos or thicker cocktail made of ice-cream.
This one is used for all the mojitos recipes and trust me you’re gonna use a lot of mint leaves when summer is coming. With Margarita, Mojito is the cocktail people drinks the most in summer. So it will be very handy to have a good amount of fresh mint planted nearby. One thing to know is the more you muddle the leaves the more powerful mint taste will be. You can also freeze mint leaves for winter when it doesn’t grow in your garden. It will taste the same but the leaves might not look good.
Citrus slice or twist
Used in Martini or Cuba Libre and other famous cocktail, slices and twists make a fancy garnish. When doing cocktails requiring citrus fruits don’t throw away your lemon even if their is no more juice! You can still use its skin for twist or zest for another cocktail. You can also rub the colored side (not the white pith) around the rim of the glass it will bring a light citrus hint in each sip.
Very appreciate by young customers, cherries bring sweetness in your cocktails. Also used a lot in ice-cream cocktails and with berries cocktail. Their red vivid color makes your cocktail more festive. My tip is to put a straw through the cherry for some carbonated cocktail like that the cherry’s weight keeps the straw from jumping out of the glass and also it makes it easier to eat the cherry at the end.
Olives, baby onions, pickles, cucumber and celery sticks
The last garnishes are more for classic cocktails that need a hint of salty flavor. Such as Martini, Gin and Tonic and Bloody Marry. Personally, I don’t use them often because they are a bit expensive and I don’t drink a lot of cocktails that need those ingredients. But if you love to drink Martini, Gin and Tonic and Bloody Marry go for it!