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Cocktail
Jul 09, 2024

A Guide To The Fine Art Of Perfectly Presented Cocktails

Here’s how to take your garnishing skills to mixology degree level and really give your cocktails the wow factor this summer, enhancing appearance and flavour.
Written by THE ART OF SHAKING

Last update: Jul 09, 2024 -

2 min read

Index

No matter how great a cocktail tastes, it is not truly complete unless it is also well presented. An outstanding and memorable cocktail engages all the senses, and it should look as good as it tastes. However, garnishes are not just about appearances but can also enhance and complement the flavours and aromas of the drink. 

Here’s how to take your garnishing skills to mixology degree level and really give your cocktails the wow factor this summer. 

Tools you will need

In order to create perfectly crafted cocktails, you first need to gather the right tools. The basics include a peeler for creating citrus twists and peels; a zester for finely grating citrus zest; a muddler for crushing herbs and fruits; a sharp paring knife to precisely cut fruits and flowers; and a bar spoon for stirring layering ingredients. 

Classic garnishes

Fruit is the classic cocktail garnish, because it not only provides colour and texture, but it can also enhance the flavours and aromas of the drink. It’s also super versatile and fun to work with, from the classic cherry on a stick to citrus slices, twists, wedges, and wheels. 

To bring extra interest to summery cocktails, try creating a fruit skewer with chunks of pineapple, strawberry and melon. To create a citrus twist, cut a long thin slice of orange, lime or lemon peel with a zester or peeler, and twist it over the drink to release the essential oils and enhance the flavour of the drink. 

If you like, you can also rub the peel around the rim of the glass to enhance the flavour. You can then place it on the rim of the glass, or float it on top of the drink, depending on the intensity of the flavour you are looking for. 

Fresh herbs

Herbs are another classic cocktail garnish that can be used on their own or to complement other decorative details. Mint springs are the perfect accompaniment to refreshing summer cocktails such as mojitos and juleps. Gently bruise the leaves with a muddler to release the essential oils, and place on top of the drink. 

Rosemary, basil and thyme are excellent herbs if you want to introduce a savoury note to the drink. Add a whole sprig to the glass or float leaves on the surface. 

Creative garnishes

Use garnishes creatively to enhance the theme or the season of your cocktail. For example, edible flowers look stunning and are perfect for festive occasions such as weddings and summer socials. They can simply be floated on the surface of the drink, or even frozen into ice cubes, and will ensure that your cocktail becomes a social media star.

You can also add colourful accessories such as straws, paper umbrellas, and decorative stirrers to enhance the appeal of the drink.

Gleaming glassware

Finally, don’t forget to use sparkling clean glassware that is appropriate for the style of the drink, and use large clear ice cubes. You can also use silicone moulds to create specialty shapes such as flowers or spheres to create extra interest.

 

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