As the week heads towards Friday or if I’m expecting guests and know I’ll be making a batch of drinks, I usually make sure I have garnish to satisfy whatever might come up. It’s pretty easy, really. The basic garnishes are:
- Citrus twists: lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit.
- Fruit wedges and wheels: lime, orange, strawberry, pineapple, cucumber, etc.
- Herb sprigs: mint, dill and rosemary are the most common in my drinks.
- Flowers: you can purchase boxes of edible flowers at high end grocers.
- Cherries: Luxardo maraschino, Amarena Fabbri and Hungarian sour cherries. The Luxardo cherries are what I use most, as Amarena cherries are very sweet. Make your own brandied cherries by replacing the sickly sweet syrup with brandy in the same jar.
- Olives: I use only green Bella di Cerignola olives for martinis.
- Spices: I always have nutmeg and a grater, as well as cinnamon and good quality chili powder.
- Atomized liquids or spritzes. Any liquid can be sprayed over the surface of a cocktail using an atomizer. Aftelier Essences makes incredible chef’s essences in spray bottles that can be used for cocktails. My favourite is their black pepper essence when used with the Gold Coast cocktail from the PDT. Essencia essences are also very nice. I own the Orange Blossom and Lavender.
- Cocktail onions. All that separates a Gibson from a Martini is a few cocktail onions, but for some reason they make all the difference. Once you have a Gibson, it’s tough to go back. Ice cold gin and pickled onions are a match made in heaven.
There are obviously other garnishes out there but you’ll be covered for the vast majority of drinks with the above.