Step up your cocktail garnish game with edible flowers, brandied cherries and more
By: Tasting Table for Crate and Barrel
The crowning glory to a well-made cocktail, a garnish adds visual appeal, enticing aromatics and flavor to any drink. With just a little planning ahead, you can create show-stopping garnishes that will turn even the simplest dram into a mind-melting masterpiece.
Edible flowers, as decoration and as garnish. Snip edible blooms, such as pansies, orchids and snapdragons, and float them in water-filled bowls or shallow vases around your cocktail station. To finish floral or sparkling cocktails, simply pluck a flower from the display and float it on top.
Orange peels wrapped around brandied cherries. Gourmet shops will almost certainly sell brandied cocktail cherries by the jar, but if you’re making your own: Soak fresh pitted cherries in brandy overnight, then on the morning of the party, wrap each one with a strips of orange rind, using a bamboo skewer to hold your creation in place. Called a “flag” in bartender parlance, this dramatic two-tone garnish can be perched on the edge of a glass or dropped into the drink, and works especially well for old-fashioneds, Manhattans, Sazeracs and other drinks made with dark spirits.
Clove-studded citrus wheels. Give tiki-style and autumnal cocktails extra citrus-and-spice aromatics: Slice lemons or oranges into thick wheels, then wedge whole cloves in a circular pattern into the flesh of the fruit. Cut a single “spoke” of a notch into the side of the wheel and pop it onto the rim of the glass.
Twists. A channeling knife will help cut lemon, orange and lime peels into long, thin, unbroken strands. Cut the elegant twists into small pieces for martinis and gimlets, and arrange the remaining spirals in bowls for added color and texture on the cocktail bar.
Love the idea but lacking the tools? Learn about the tools of the cocktail trade.